Ever had a taste of bacon? That smoky, salty, deliciousness that melts in your mouth? It’s hard to resist, so bacon is often called "the candy of the meat world." But why is bacon so addicting? Why is bacon so good?
It all has to do with the science of umami. Umami is one of the five basic taste receptors humans have, along with sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. And of all the foods that contain umami, bacon is one of the most concentrated sources.
So what exactly is umami? It’s a savory taste that is often described as "meaty" or "brothy." Umami is caused by glutamate, a type of amino acid. Glutamate is found in many foods, but it’s especially abundant in bacon. The high concentration of glutamate is why bacon tastes so savory and delicious. It’s also why some people find bacon addictive. The human body craves foods high in umami because they are a source of important nutrients.
The type of pork you use for bacon matters. For the best flavor, look for pork from the belly or the shoulder. This part of the pig is where you get the fattest, and fat equals flavor. Soak the thin strips of meat in a brine solution (saltwater) for several hours or overnight. This will help tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor.
Fatty acids and amino acids are responsible for bacon’s flavor. When you cook bacon, these molecules are released into the air. You then smell and taste them, which is why bacon smells so good when cooking. The Maillard reaction also contributes to bacon’s delicious flavor. This chemical reaction occurs between amino acids and sugars when meat is cooked. It gives bacon its characteristic brown color and crispy texture.
If you don’t eat pork or you want a healthier alternative to bacon, several plant-based options are available. These "bacon" products are usually made from soy, wheat, or coconut. They often have added flavors and coloring to make them taste more like the real thing.
From lactone to furans, many different compounds contribute to why bacon tastes so good. So the next time you’re indulging in a delicious bacon-wrapped treat, take a moment to appreciate all the complex flavors that make this food so addicting.
Mushrooms are a great source of umami, so it’s no surprise that shiitake mushrooms make a delicious vegan bacon alternative. Shiitake "bacon" is easy to make at home with just a few ingredients.
- 1 pound of shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
There are a few things to look for when shopping for the best supermarket bacon. First, make sure you’re buying pork from the shoulder or belly. These pig parts have more fat, which means they’ll be more flavorful. You should also look for bacon that has been cured with salt and sugar. This will give it a delicious salty-sweet flavor.
Tony’s Delicatessen & Fresh Meats is a great place to find high-quality, delicious bacon. We offer several different types of pork bacon, including slab bacon, thick-cut bacon, and center-cut bacon. Their bacon is cured with salt and sugar for a sweet and salty flavor that everyone will love.
Categorised in: Butcher
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