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Dec 10, 2009 11:40 AM

Where to buy lardons in San Francisco?

I'm having a really hard time finding lardons. I've tried:

Whole Foods
the meat markets in the Mission
Drewes Brothers

and I've come up empty.

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  1. why not buy a piece of bacon (i mean whole bacon, not the pre-sliced for breakfast stuff) and cut it into lardons yourself?

    here in france, lardons are just little sticks of cured pork belly... they come in "nature" (unsmoked) and "fumé" (smoked).

    1. Are you looking for slab bacon (smoked) or unsmoked ventrèche (salt cured)?

      16 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        You know, I'm not sure. Which would be best in bœuf bourguignon?

        1. re: Kosmonaut

          For boeuf bourguignon I just use slab bacon and cut it myself into the proper shape of lardons. Most precut bacon is a bit too thin.

          1. re: farmersdaughter

            Where can I find slab bacon? I've only found sliced bacon.

            1. re: Kosmonaut

              Just ask for it at any butcher (or butcher's counter). They'll have it in the back, not yet sliced.

              1. re: JasmineG

                I did, at the butchers mentioned above. They didn't have it.

                1. re: Kosmonaut

                  I saw some at Lehr's Specialties last night.

                  Lucca Ravioli could probably cut you a big chunk of pancetta. Unroll it and that's unsmoked bacon you can dice into lardons.

                  What are you doing with the lardons?

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I don't remember Lehr's selling meats, but maybe I just didn't notice. I'm guessing the meat would be next to the fridge of imported dairy products and ryes?

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Great to know. The pork product has been the missing link on our home-made flammenkü I bet we'll have almost a perfect imitation of the Alsatian original if we can find some Germanic cured pig.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Making bœuf bourguignon ... I'll check Lehr's and Lucca tomorrow - thanks!

                    2. re: Kosmonaut

                      You might try again. I'm sure Bryan's BiRite, Avedanos, etc. would sell you bacon in thicker slices. It's something I buy pretty regularly and since it's so easy to get, I no longer think of who has it and who doesn't. Golden Gate Meats and Falletti are two good choices.

                      Or, as Robert said, a thick slice off the rolled pancetta would yield great cured but unsmoked lardons, which is something I've had to do when shopping at Mollie Stones or other local markets.

                      The taste variation from brand to brand is far more important than the French name.

                      1. re: SteveG

                        Yes, pancetta is much easier to come by than ventreche. Just be sure to wash off the black pepper coating.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Pancetta has a black pepper coating?

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              As always, I learn something from your posts, Melanie :-). Much as I adore black pepper, I don't think I want it in my pancetta, which doesn't seem to be a danger in the places where I buy it. I will look out for it though as it would be fun to try.

                  2. re: Kosmonaut

                    As I said, I get slab bacon at Golden Gate Meats in the Ferry Building. They sell Neuske's and I believe one other brand, but I like the Neuske's. They cut it into a big piece for me to buy and then I cut it into smaller chunks and freeze them to make lardons when I need them.

            2. I just buy Neuske's bacon (which is smoked and cured) from Golden Gate meats and cut it into lardons. Were you looking for unsmoked as Melanie asks?

              Julia Child suggested that you could blanch bacon to remove some of the smokiness if you're looking for unsmoked pork belly, but I've never tried it.

              1. I don't think I've ever seen those here. Buy a chunk of salt pork, bacon, or pancetta and dice it.

                1. I have no idea where to buy lardons. Even in French supermarkets they usually sell precut sticks of bacon, ready to fry, but not the-already-fried variety. For bœuf bourguignon I would use bacon rather than salt pork. Either cut whole slab into slices then sticks or buy thickly sliced bacon and save yourself half the work of slicing. In any case, look for bacon with more or less equall amountsof fat and meat in it - that way you will get some delicious fat from...well...fat and fantastic flavor from the meaty part.

                  You could, however, kill two birds with one stone (not too gruesome for the gentle chowhoundy folks, I hope). If you decide on salt pork, you will miss some of the flavor coming from the meaty part, as there is little of it in salt pork, but you will end up with some awesome schmaltz. Just cut it into cubes or sticks and cook on a small heat until it turnes into liquified fat and browned, crunchy pieces swimming in it. Pour the whole thing into a dish and, when cooled down, stick it in the fridge to solidify. Smeared on a slice of good bread the next day (don't forget to dig to the bottom to include some lardons), salted and eaten with some nice wine and you will feel like a happy French peasant from long time ago :)