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Feb 21, 2013 06:24 AM

Blanching Bacon

Doing beef bourguignon tonight. I realize that lardons aren't really necessary anymore because modern beef is a lot fattier but I want to stick with the classic recipe and get that hint of pork flavor into the stew. I have some particularly smokey bacon (Nueske's) and many recipes (inculding Julias) call for blanching the bacon to remove some of the smoke/salt. I tested the process this morning and then subsequently ate the bacon with my breakfast. It is definitely less smoky/salty but still has some discernible smoke flavor.

My questions are:
1. Will blanching longer continue to reduce the smoke flavor?
2. Is there a good substitute for the bacon? I don't think pancetta makes sense because it's seasoned and I don't want that.
3. Do you omit the bacon entirely? Is it purely sentimental at this point?


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  1. Have not had the bacon you mentioned but I'd Just use the bacon as is. The wine is going to be the dominant flavor in the dish anyway.

    1. If I recall, when I did Julia's recipe, I used salt pork and blanched to remove the salt. Since salt pork is not smoked, this gets around the smoke issue, nicely.

      I found it, tucked up in a corner of the pork section...not the bacon/sausage section...of a largish mainstream grocery store.

      Best of luck,

      1. Nueske's bacon has a lot of smoke on it. I can understand why you might want to lessen it for your dish. I can't advise about blanching, but when I need lardons, these days I use either pork jowl or salt pork. Both of these products are available at our local Publix store packaged in short, bacon-like strips. I prefer them to bacon in a number of recipes.

        1. At my house smoky flavor is a good thing, so I don't try and remove it.

          1 Reply
          1. I need to treat it or omit it entirely. I've done the dish before (with poor quality wine and the same bacon) and the smoke flavor is overwhelming. I have a really good, sweet pinot noir to use this time and I want it to show through. I'll look for salt pork I guess. Maybe I'll blanch a bunch of bacon (i have plenty) and see what 5-10-15 minutes etc does.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Wapptor

              is it possible to simply purchase a different brand of bacon for this?

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Probably. You guys are so helpful I love these instant replies! :P