During a trip to the grocery store I came across an odd package in the frozen section of the HyVee Health Market. It was bacon ends.
Normally, I might not have thought twice about the product and just grabbed my normal package of Beeler’s uncured bacon. However, this was a product from Beeler’s and it was less than half the price for the same amount of bacon by weight. Huh?
Apparently, bacon ends are just that…the ends of a slab of bacon that are left over when so-called “center cut” bacon is prepared. On the downside, you end up with irregular pieces of bacon that may be a little fattier and a bit more seasoned compared with the nice slices from a package of center cut bacon. But, for less than half of the cost and considering I was going to use the bacon in crumbled form why would I care?
The answer is that I do not. In essence, I have cut the cost of my bacon in half because I rarely use anything other than bacon crumbles in my recipes. It is used more like a spice than a meat.
What this made me think about was learning to love the less appreciated cuts of meat. As a barbeque lover—not grilling mind you, but the low and slow smoking of meat over low heat—I am all too familiar with the magic that good technique can work on an otherwise less than desirable chunk of animal protein.
Leave the filets and tenderloins to people who want to spend more on their food. Flavor is generally inversely proportional to tenderness. If the muscle is tough from work it will probably be loaded with flavor. If the muscle is tough it will also generally be cheaper to buy at the grocery store.