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Bacon substitutes needed, please

f
Florida Hound Jul 14, 2009 06:57 AM

In the past year or so, I have dropped pork products from my diet for religious and health reasons, and most of the time, I don't mind the change at all. But as I read another thread about "favorite sandwiches," I was thinking about the genuine BLT, as opposed to the BLT we've been making with various brands of turkey bacon. Sometimes, I have come to enjoy a tomatoe-lettuce sandwich with a sprinkling of Bac-Os on top for a crunchy texture (Some bacon-flavor bits in the little jars have pork products, Bac-Os do not).

So, here are my questions: what are the best turkey bacons or soy bacons or other substitutes on the market that come close to real bacon? Are there spices or preparation tips that people have discovered for texture/ flavor? We have kind of settled for even pan fried bacon substitutes being a little rubbery, and it just occurred to me that the Chowhound community might be able to help us improve on all this. Thanks, guys!

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  1. Ditdah RE: Florida Hound Jul 14, 2009 07:08 AM

    My favorite turkey bacon is Oscar Mayer/Louis Rich (it has both logos on it.) I think it's the closest to texture and taste as real bacon. I actually prefer it cooked in the microwave, since I can get it crispier that way. (With regular bacon, I prefer pan-fried or oven baked.)

    I have HATED every non-meat bacon substitue I've tried. I don't mind the sasuage, chicken, or beef subs, but the bacon ones always taste like cardboard, and have an even stranger texture.

    1. Karl S RE: Florida Hound Jul 14, 2009 07:13 AM

      I am aware of bacon made from the plate cut (a belly cut) of beef, aka beef bacon, for example:

      http://bacontarian.com/?cat=13

      I've not had it so I cannot attest to its quality. Beef belly at least has marbled fat and muscle, like pork bacon. Poultry is not marbled, so it's hard to imitate bacon with poultry.

      1. r
        Reignking RE: Florida Hound Jul 14, 2009 07:49 AM

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/432798

        There's a peppered bacon that I like that I can find at Whole Foods, but I don't know the brand.

        For flavor -- not texture -- try Bacon Salt.

        1. g
          gourmetloveaffair RE: Florida Hound Jul 14, 2009 08:48 AM

          Try bacon salt : http://www.baconsalt.com/

          It is completely fat and salt free... vegetarian and kosher. Sprinkle it on your BLT with, say, some turkey bacon for a more authentic bacon flavor.

          My husband avoids bacon due to cholesterol levels and he loves it... it comes in four flavors, sorry to sound like such a commercial ;-p

          6 Replies
          1. re: gourmetloveaffair
            f
            Florida Hound RE: gourmetloveaffair Jul 14, 2009 07:19 PM

            That Bacon Salt sounds perfect! I checked out their website and found that it's available at a couple of places in my area, so it's on the list for the next shopping trip. Thanks!!!

            1. re: Florida Hound
              g
              gourmetloveaffair RE: Florida Hound Jul 15, 2009 07:25 AM

              Let us know how you like it!

              1. re: gourmetloveaffair
                f
                Florida Hound RE: gourmetloveaffair Sep 1, 2009 08:13 PM

                I like it pretty well. Still enjoy adding the crunchy phony pieces to my salads and sometimes to my sandwiches, too, though. I need to incorporate the bacon salt into more of my sandwich fixins. Thanks again for the tip!

              2. re: Florida Hound
                e
                easily amused RE: Florida Hound Jul 15, 2009 07:33 AM

                I also highly recommend the line Bacon Salt products. They also have a new product called "Baconaise" which also goes well on a BLT. Oprah had the developers of the product on her show and the panel sampled the products. Big hit.
                For added crunch in a sandwich, I will put a very thinly sliced radish...gives it a bit of kick too!

              3. re: gourmetloveaffair
                f
                Florida Hound RE: gourmetloveaffair Sep 4, 2009 09:09 PM

                One more note to gourmetloveaffair: the label for Bacon Salt lists the first ingredient as "Sea Salt." I am also intrigued by the suggestions that have just been posted on this thread in the past few days. Thanks to all.
                Florida Hound

                1. re: Florida Hound
                  c
                  CrazyOne RE: Florida Hound Sep 5, 2009 06:15 AM

                  Heh, funny, I was looking to see if anyone noticed. I would have been surprised if a product called Bacon Salt was salt free. ;-) Alas, it is not. 135mg sodium per serving, coming from the salt as first ingredient. The "Natural" variety is a nice touch, though. A lot less crap in that one. Obviously, the amounts of partially hydrogenated oil is fairly small in a serving, but it's still in there in the other varieties. A big part of the effect must be coming from the MSG (actually listed, or even in the Natural one, autolyzed yeast extract). Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, but some people like to know. :-)

                  BTW, we do eat Morningstar's soy "bacon" in this house. Although I still eat meat, I find the Morningstar edible, if not really a substitute for really good bacon. If you cook it a little longer than they suggest, it'll get a little more crispy. The texture is not the same as crispy bacon, but the flavor is bacon-y. They probably use some of the same ingredients as the Bacon Salt. ;-) (Yes, autolyzed yeast extract is in there, among other things.) I'll be cooking some in a few minutes, I think.

              4. s
                SiksElement RE: Florida Hound Jul 14, 2009 09:14 AM

                with all do respect, there just simply isn't a substitute for pig

                1. LeahBaila RE: Florida Hound Jul 15, 2009 08:30 AM

                  What about adding a teeny-tiny drop of liquid smoke to your facon? I think that would def kick it up a notch.

                  www.thelunchbelle.com

                  1. weinstein5 RE: Florida Hound Sep 3, 2009 08:17 AM

                    I keep kosher so I do not know how it compares to bacon but I have always used a kosher beef product called Beef Fry - it is prepare the same way as bacon and I always use it when I need to substitue bacon in a recipe. It would be in the kosher food section or if you are in town with a kosher butcher that cures its own meat they might make their own beef fry.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: weinstein5
                      JungMann RE: weinstein5 Sep 3, 2009 08:24 AM

                      There is also a halal beef bacon that Muslim grocers sometimes carry.

                    2. c
                      cyberroo RE: Florida Hound Sep 3, 2009 10:43 AM

                      I still maintain that smoked duck breast is the best bacon I ever had. Now that I think about it, I bet it would make an amazing BLT.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cyberroo
                        weinstein5 RE: cyberroo Sep 3, 2009 10:59 AM

                        In Mountain View I went to a kosher restaurant that had made in house a Lamb Bacon that was pretty amazing-

                      2. d
                        dmd_kc RE: Florida Hound Sep 4, 2009 01:18 PM

                        If you can find a good, very smoky smoked provolone, cook it in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat till it's crispy. Keep flipping it till it's gone further than in the Chow video I link to below.

                        That's a "bacon" substitute I discovered during my vegetarian days, and it's fantastic. Another big plus: It's not fake food in any way.

                        http://www.chow.com/stories/11773

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