When it comes to meme-foods, we’re all too ready to get caught up in the excitement of seasonal flavors, limited time offerings, and new ways to enjoy our old favorites!
The original meme food was of course bacon, which rose in popularity online in the 2000s due to bacon being both delicious and objectively funny. But why exactly is that? Read on to learn why bacon is so darn delicious!
Made to Be Delicious
One of the most important parts of what makes bacon so delicious is the type of meat that’s used. Now, we’re not talking exotic bacons like turkey or alligator, we’re just talking about different cuts of the pig!
American bacon cuts are from the fatty sides of the belly while Canadian bacon is cut from the back of the hog. Typically, large black hogs and Tamworth hogs are preferred for making good bacon.
More Flavor: Cured and Smoked
After butchering, the meat is injected with a flavoring and curing solution containing water, salt, sugar, and a curing agent. This solution marinates the pork for a few hours to several days before the cut of meat is hung in a smokehouse or smoker while the bacon is heated.
The smoking process can take a matter of hours or days, depending on the type of bacon being prepared and the standards of the company making it. The ideal result is a balance of salty, sweet, meaty, and rich fatty aromatic. After that, the bacon is chilled, sliced and distributed to suppliers so it can be enjoyed.
Some producers don’t use smoke in their bacon processing process: instead, they dry the meat by leaving it in a cold place for a couple of months. (Does that mean bacon is the original dry-aged meat? No, probably not. Why would you ask that?)
Smells So Good
When bacon is heated, sugars react with amino acids in the meat and combine with the bacon fat to give bacon its signature scent. Smoky, meaty, salty, and rich, it’s the smell you automatically imagine when you hear the sound of bacon sizzling in a pan.
Cooked to Delicious Perfection
Similar to how heating bacon creates the smell of bacon, the flavor of bacon is also improved by cooking it the right way. For the best flavor, use a griddle or cast iron skillet heated evenly and to a medium-high heat. Strips of bacon should be cooked in one layer and flipped frequently to get the ideal crispness without overcooking.
Tip: Rather than using a spatula to cook your bacon, use tongs! You’ll be able to flip the bacon more efficiently and cook your bacon to deliciously bacon-y perfection.
Fat = Flavor
When you cook bacon and break down the bacon fat to combine with the sugars and amino acids in the meat, it creates a flavor profile that is sweet, buttery, and salty, with a serious punch of umami and smokiness. Generally speaking, the more fat on a strip of bacon, the better it will taste after it’s cooked because more fat improves the flavors of the bacon as it cooks.
Tip: Although you might think of bacon as being a fatty food, due to the amount of fat you can see on the bacon before cooking, the majority of the fat renders out of the bacon while cooking. Remember, anything that cooks off instead of being eaten won’t affect your calorie count!
You Can’t Fake It
The exact darn delicious flavor of bacon comes down to its unique ratio of salt, umami, sweet and fat. If any element is out of balance—or worse, missing—your knock-off bacon suddenly tastes nothing at all like bacon. There have been many recent advances in food science and technology, but a convincing bacon substitute is still currently just out of reach. One thing is certain: whoever cracks the code is a lock for the next Nobel Prize.
Some people will tell you that you can sort of replicate the flavor of bacon by pan-frying mushrooms with the right spices, and we’ll give credit where it’s due: that’s not a bad option if you want to add some umami flavor to a dish, and you don’t have bacon on hand. We’ll also point out that Dogtown Pizza has a Bacon Bacon pizza and we do not have a Mushroom Mushroom Pizza. (Draw your own conclusions.)
Spice It Up
Everyone knows you automatically get more points in deliciousness if you have more than one flavor variation—this is known as “the Oreo flavor model.” While we have yet to see bacon in pumpkin spice and eggnog flavorways (knock on wood), bacon is no slouch when it comes to variety. You can easily find peppered bacon, applewood, maple, chicory, or other woodsmoke options, along with different slice thicknesses, which will also affect the flavor of the final dish. Whatever variety of bacon you choose, you can know for certain it will be delicious!
Bacon Is a Spice?
The dictionary defines spice as “something you put onto something else to make it taste better, or to add another perceived benefit, that isn’t a sauce or garnish.”
By that definition, bacon obviously qualifies, but in the interest of full disclosure, we made up that dictionary definition to reinforce our main point: bacon is so darn delicious that you can exponentially increase the deliciousness of any food by simply adding bacon to it.
Fettuccine alfredo? Delicious! Fettuccine alfredo with bacon? Even more delicious! Waffles and maple syrup? Delicious! Waffles and maple syrup with bacon? Even more delicious, whether you serve the bacon on the side or inside the waffles!
Is bacon really the perfect food? Maybe! Is bacon definitely involved in whatever the perfect food finally turns out to be? We think you know the answer to that one! If you still have questions about why bacon is so darn delicious, you can learn more and gain valuable firsthand experience by picking up a Bacon Bacon Dogtown Pizza in the freezer aisle of your local grocery store—we’ll see you there!