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Is there such a thing as "beef bacon"?

Or, what's the equivalent of bacon for beef?

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  1. Yes. I know it is popular in some Muslim countries (Malaysia for one), for obvious reasons. Personally, all the beef bacon I've had isn't very good -- and it's a very poor substitute for the joy of pork...

    1. Growing up, we'd occasionally have something called "breakfast beef". I think the cut is from the plate. I remember it being quite delicious....never had bacon so I can't compare, but the same adjectives- smoky, crisply fatty- come to mind. I don't remember much about the packaging except that it was very minimal- white cardboard, red and blue lettering,and I think there was a picture of a cow on it. :)

      4 Replies
      1. re: 4Snisl

        A friend is a Muslim so I know you can buy it at Halal stores. IIRC, there are some regular supermarket brands too. It is usually from the flank, from my understanding.

        What I've tried is similar in taste to pork bacon. It usually is smokier and browner. Often it is leaner. It is more chewy that crisp I think the extra smoke is to give it a taste similar to the pork version.

        Here's some pictures.

        1. re: rworange

          Here are some pics, if you're in the GTA you can get it at "east meats west" meat shop, google it.

          1. re: BamiaWruz

            GTA? What does this stand for? I'm VERY Curious because I know of a GTA "organization". That's why I'm asking. :D

            1. re: EmmaBarbara

              I assume in this case it means Greater Toronto Area.

      2. There is a product in kosher food markets called breakfast beef or beef fry (frye). It is very close in both taste and texture to pork bacon.

        1. What part of the cow would it come from, if it were equivalent? The brisket?

          5 Replies
          1. re: kindofabigdeal

            Dunno. Beef belly ... is that brisket meat?

            Some people consider corned beef (or even pastrami) to be the beef equivalent of pork bacon.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              If you go along the bottom of the cow, front to back, the section near the foreleg is the brisket, followed by the plate (skirt steak), followed by the flank steak (and hanger steak).
              I mentioned upthread that I suspected the cut came from the plate, but it probably varies depending on the brand you buy.

              1. re: 4Snisl

                i was unfamiliar with the term plate

                1. re: kindofabigdeal

                  My fault for naming the primal cut instead of usual terminology in the supermarket.
                  I've been reading "The Complete Meat Cookbook" by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly. (Incredible resource!) And I was simply thinking of a diagram they had that used that the term "plate". It isn't a very common term, I agree.

                2. re: 4Snisl

                  It looks like they found a use for the skirt that allows them to command a premium price for it. In Europe the skirt is available separately but it's such a cheap cut that in the US they just throw into the grinder with the hamburger because they get more money for it than if they sold it as skirt steak.

            2. Beef Bacon can be made by getting Bresaola, which is a charcutery meat at your local deli or gourmet food store. It is dry aged beef tenderloin. Put it in the oven at 375 for about 25 minutes, and tada beef bacon is made.

              7 Replies
              1. re: chinkymonkey

                Hmmm... too little fat and too expensive.

                1. re: kindofabigdeal

                  Bresaola is actually almost completely lean. I would more call it "beef prosciutto" than bacon. In texture, think of the lean part of prosciutto, but a little drier and maybe a little saltier.

                  I absolutely love bresaola with a sprinkling of olive oil and some arugula. Expensive, yes, but a quarter pound that costs $5-6 is enough for two people. You can also find it pre-sliced in Citterio packages. About the same cost as decent nova. Also, I have never tried it but I believe bresaola would turn into shoe leather if you put it in your oven. Am I wrong? Does it turn toothsome instead?

                  1. re: plum

                    My husband was confused by my carbonara directions one night when I was tied up with the baby. He thought the bresaola was the pancetta (both were new to our household). So he pan-fried some bresaola, the result was really not to my liking. Shoe leathery-yes, and not a good flavour.

                2. re: chinkymonkey

                  it would be so lean i think. i mean, cows just do NOT have the clear layer of fat that pigs do. i think that the section of the cow (i.e. the hanging section round the stomach) that would be most equivalent to the bacon of a piggie would be what is popular nowadays - the hanger steak. no? i alway thought that it was called hanger because it was that hanging section.

                  1. re: ben61820

                    Hanger steak is quite lean. Navel cut would be fatty . . . that's why it's so good for pastrami.

                  2. re: chinkymonkey

                    Bresaola is not dry aged in the conventional meaning which is used for fresh meat. It is cured, sometimes smoked, and air dried. It is almost perfectly lean and I find it quite unpleasant when cooked.

                    1. re: chinkymonkey

                      Sorry but thats a terrible idea and a waste of good Bresaola. Also, if thinly sliced like bacon, at 375 for 25 minutes, it would be ruined. Bresaola has none of the phsical characteristics of the cut of meat used for bacon and is ill suited as a substitute.

                    2. Although it is more like "beef ham", dried beef is a tasty alternative. It is usually very lean but you can crisp it up in butter and get some of the salty, smokey, fatty satisfaction of bacon.

                      It is a staple and readily available here in PA and also very good when made with venison.

                      1. It seems to vary from place to place and brand to brand. You are dealing with both the cut and the cure.

                        The most bacon-like beef fry comes from the area around the navel plate on the cow. This is the cut used for traditional New York style pastrami (though not for the pastrami usually sold elsewhere). If you have access to a whole pastrami, you can visualize bacon slices when viewing a cross section (though pastramis may have significant fat trimmed off).

                        Beyond that, it's more about the cure. If you cure the beef as you would cure bacon, it will taste roughly like bacon. I have also seen packages labeled beef fry(e) or beef bacon made from brisket deckle (the fatty upper section).

                        Similarly, if you cure a ham as you would a pastrami, it will taste roughly like pastrami. With chemically injected meat, it doesn't much matter what is being used. turkey tastes like ham tastes like the chemical brine.

                        I agree with comparison between bresaola and the lean part of prosciutto, only drier. Bresaola cannot stand in for bacon.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: embee

                          embee, I bought some beef bacon at The Healthy Butcher last week; they said it was from the belly. I fried it up and was not thrilled - it had been cut very thickly, and was really chewy. The meat was very smoky-flavoured and a little on the sweet side.

                          1. re: FlavoursGal

                            I've never been fond of the typical North American bacon common during my childhood or of any beef product that tried to imitate it. As such, I'm not a fount of information on this topic. Bacon curing has never entered into my deli experiments.

                            What you describe sounds like a misguided product - essentially a North American bacon cure on meat cut in a manner more typical of European slab bacon. Except, perhaps, when grilled in chunks over an open fire, slab bacon seems to be used more as a flavouring than as something to "eat".

                            I also wonder whether it had enough fat. Do not bacon mavens seek out crispy, melting slices that are mainly fat? The lean in this area is a tough bit of meat. The "Healthy" Butcher isn't just about how the animals were treated. I've talked to him at some length, and it is equally about making a more healthful finished product. He interprets this as using minimal fat. I haven't been there in a while but, last time I looked, his best beef cuts were not very well marbled. I've found his ground beef too dry to make a tasty, juicy burger. His housemade pastrami smells heavenly, but has NO fat - and I find it too dry to eat.

                            Bacon isn't a healthy food, and trying to make it so ain't gonna work. It probably isn't available in Toronto, but I suspect the gold standard of "beef bacon" is good old Hebrew National.

                            1. re: embee

                              It definitely didn't have enough fat; in fact, when I was questioning the server about it, I asked whether it was made using brisket since the fat layer looked brisket-like.

                              My husband and I actually thought it tasted like my smoked brisket...gone very wrong. :-)

                              My only other exposure to beef fry was the stuff made by Levitt's in Montreal, that I ate when I was a kid. We ate bacon out of the house, but my mother's kitchen - aside from the treif dishes for take out! - was "kosher". There are all different levels of kashruth; ours was pretty interesting.

                              1. re: FlavoursGal

                                Our home was strictly kosher, though not glatt. We never had beef fry, though. My mother couldn't cook very well and never tried to make anything new. If her mother had never made it, she never tried. (My father and I were always thankful about this.)

                                We did go to non-kosher restaurants, but my mother was very careful about what she ate; my father only somewhat less so. They seldom interfered with what I ordered, but made it clear that ordering bacon was out of line.

                                I never tasted Levitt's beef fry. The first time I cooked a Levitt's hot dog, it lost half of it's weight in rendered fat. I never bought another Levitt's product but, given that "fatfurter", their beef fry probably crisped up just fine.

                                (Levitt's seems to have gone bankrupt recently after building a plant in LaSalle big enough to supply the earth. What WERE they thinking? I don't know whether they are still producing product.)

                                Your family's kashruth standards don't sound all that unusual. I knew many people who had strictly kosher homes, but ate Chinese on Sunday. That old joke was very true during my Brooklyn childhood - Spare Ribs, BBQ pork, and shrimp with lobster sauce were kosher, as long as they were consumed at a Chinese restaurant and on Sunday. Often just those three dishes and nothing else. I also knew many people who had three sets of dishes for meat, dairy, and treif. And I knew people who deemed bacon kosher and okay to eat at home, though ham or pork chops were not.

                                1. re: embee

                                  I'm not into anything four footed, beef, lamb, pork,etc.. but, I will eat turkey bacon. Oscar Mayer makes it and it's delish. Maybe not the same as fat flavor from pork bacon (which I've eaten) but, I love this turkey bacon. Give it a try if it is pork infact that you're not eating. :) KQ

                                  1. re: embee

                                    Levitts went bankrupt several years ago, shortly after they opened their brand new Lasalle plant. Unfortunately their expansion coincided, with the US ban on Canadian beef imports(they were planning a bigger presence in the US). However I noticed last November, in a Montreal newspaper ad whole smoked turkeys by Levitts being available for the public. Has the company been resurrected, or maybe a Canadian company have purchased the remaining assets, including the Levitts recipes?

                                    1. re: BLM

                                      The most recent info I have is that someone is trying to restructure the company and reopen after Passover. However, the MK people recently published an alert that Levitt's products are NOT kosher and they were denied a COR. Their future does not look bright.

                                      1. re: embee

                                        I believe that was a CJN article from 2004(the dates when doing a search on CJN archives is a little confusing). I remember that article when it originally came out.

                                  2. re: FlavoursGal

                                    Our mother kept a kosher kitchen too, so we had plenty of beef fry back in the day.

                                    When we ate out, all bets were off. Great-Aunt Pearl, who lived next door, would eat only fish at restaurants.

                            2. I bought a couple of pounds of beef bacon at Moo & Oink on the Southside of Chicago. I can tell you that the piece that i bought was about 50% fat and 50% lean, It was NOT tenderloin but it looked like it came from the underbelly of the cow.

                              As for the taste, the product was smoked and cured like bacon and tasted great and similar to bacon. IMO, the tallow rendered from the bacon was was excellent but imparted a different flavor than that of normal bacon,

                              1. As some of the posters mentioned below this is not uncommon in some Muslim circles. I've spent time in Saudi Arabia about 20 years ago and you could get it in most of the grocery stores or see it served routinely in restaurants. I never cared for it much and it never really satisfied my craving for the real thing.

                                1. Have you checked the bacon refrigerator at your favorite super market? All the places where I shop have it in the section with the rest of the bacon.

                                  1. Interesting concept...thanks for asking this question. I'm surprised I haven't seen this before since there are kosher alternatives to bacon bits. You'd think there would be mroe kosher alternatives to bacon in general.

                                    1. Ok. It's not an equivalent of bacon as it's a highly processed product. And it tasted horrible. But does anybody remember this?

                                      Move over bacon
                                      Now there's something leaner

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                        Exactly right. They had a sister product called "Firebrand Beef Strips". For some reason I loved that stuff as a kid. Now I buy turkey bacon on occasion to try to recreate the sensation.

                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                          How funny! what a blast from the past! My grandma switched to Sizzlean as a healthier alternative to sausage/bacon. I remember it being very tough...

                                        2. HI. yes there is. You may have two options. Go to a Halal meat store and ask if they have "Breakfast beef". Also if your local super market sells Gwaltney products.I know here in the south at Publix Markets they sell it. Gwaltney makes beef bacon. The breakfast beef tastes exactly like regular bacon. I searched these products due to my recent conversion to islam. And since i love bacon, i didnt want to give it up. So I found a yummy substitute. Hope this helps.

                                          1. I've found beef bacon from farmer's markets. The vendor was originally from Argentina and said it was common there.

                                            1. I realize this is an old post but thought I'd add a recent mail order link to some Beef Fry


                                              I know this brand name, but don't think that's what we had growing up in Philly. Most likely, we used Hebrew National.

                                              IMO, while beef fry may have looked similar and served the same purpose, it never quite achieved the crispiness that makes bacon..well bacon.

                                              For recreating, treif like breakfast meats, I always thought that fried thick cut kosher beef salami (from a chub) was closer to kielbasa than beef fry ever was to bacon.

                                              1. I like the sort of "Beef Bacon" seasoned with Black Pepper, Corriander, Juniper, Garlic, Garlic and more Garlic... the stuff that coats your mouth with garlic laden rendered fat. Some people call it Pastrami. The stuff I have cured at home was with Brisket.

                                                The Left hand side of the picture is Pastrami. Made from the Point. It has the same streaky appearance of bacon, and awesome Pastrami flavor. The Right hand side is Corned Beef.

                                                If the Pastrami were only smoked to about 140F then cooked full later, it could be used jsut like Bacon. I like making "S.O.B".. Strami' On Bisquit.. with it.

                                                1. There is a rancher at my farners market that sells beef bacon. The packaging says "beef navel". So, pretty much the belly, like pork bacon. His bacon is also salt cured and seriously delicious.

                                                  Posted a pic on my blog: http://copperpots.blogspot.com/2010/1...

                                                  1. I live on a compound in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and up until a couple of days ago I would have said that I HATE beef bacon! But, I bought a pound myself, cooked it up, and... it's really good. You just have to make sure it's crispy. I have to add butter to the pan because it is so lean.

                                                    I have found that most restaurants including our dining hall saute it which gives it the texture of liver. *gag*

                                                    I still look forward to real pork bacon when I get home, however!

                                                    1. We have beef bacon available at our local supermarket. Godshall's makes and excellent turkey bacon, and they have a beef bacon available as well for a few dollars more. I can't say that I've become curious enough to try it yet.

                                                      Godshall's --> http://www.godshalls.com/store/Beef-B...

                                                      1. I've seen lamb bacon in the freezer at my local H-Mart.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: sablemerle

                                                          Get the flock out of here !!! Seriously ??
                                                          I have to go check with my local H-mart. Have you tried it yet ?? Too fatty, right ?

                                                          1. re: sablemerle

                                                            Armandino Batali, Mario's dad, makes a lamb prosciutto at his Seattle store, Salumi. So it's not all that crazy.

                                                          2. Since this thread has been resurrected, thought I'd add the following:

                                                            A deli in Toronto called "Caplansky's" offers a "beef bacon", which is made on the premises. Zane makes all his own smoked meats, and while he doesn't keep strictly kosher, he doesn't have any pork products on the premises. I've never tried it personally, but if you visit the Toronto board, you can get some reviews of it.

                                                            1. At the "Landmark Resort" in Myrtle Beach, they served our kids at a party some pizza and one had "Beef Canadian Bacon" on it. I befriended The Catering Manager and she said that the chef claimed there is Beef style. She said; "I'm from Canada and I Never heard of it"!
                                                              My family and I keep the dietary laws in the bible and we are Very picky about what we eat. It wasn't bad.

                                                              1. I know this is very old but I just saw this and was intrigued by the question.

                                                                I don't eat pork and I am not a Muslim. I wasn't raised eating it. Anyway, I thought that beef bacon was very common or at least it is in Philly.

                                                                My mother is in her 50's and she has been eating it all her life and I am in my late 20's and the same for me. I didn't like it as a kid but I appreciated the taste when I got older. It is super greasy, with an nice saltiness. It will shrink up really small if you cook it long( so you need a few pieces). It's better before it gets too crispy.

                                                                Go to a butcher or meat market and they will slice it for you. The packaged versions are not as good (same for turkey bacon) but Whole Foods has a nice peppered version that's packaged.