This wonderfully delicious package of apple wood smoked bacon ends and pieces is exactly the same product as sliced bacon, but it is much cheaper and can be used in a wide variety of recipes.
Any recipe that calls for small pieces of bacon should use bacon ends and pieces. It is literally half the price of a package of sliced bacon.
First, allow me to say that I belong to the vast group of people who think bacon deserves its own food group. I wish I could eat bacon every single day of my life. The smell, the taste - its all absolutely divine. It belongs in breakfast, lunch and dinner. It pairs beautifully with both sweet and savory. What can I say? I adore bacon.
Second, I should tell you that I love Trader Joe's. This is not the first time you'll see me talk of the love I possess for that wonderful store. I should be their spokes person. As you know, I am completely pretentious when it comes to food. How can I call myself a self proclaimed foodie otherwise? I'm almost repulsed by the big name grocery stores I grew up with with their isles full of corn syrupy, genetically modified, preservative filled, big name brand garbage they call food. More than anything, I prefer to buy, cook and eat locally grown and made products (this is a huge part of the culture in this town). Our family buys a pasture raised and finished quarter cow and a half pig every year from an Eastern Oregon ranch. The bacon from that pig is the best I've ever had in my life. When I cook it (I always cook bacon strips in the oven), I use the utmost care and respect so that it turns out perfectly every time. I only share it with the convert-foodie husband and one of my foodie-in-training kids (The other one, who eats just about anything and everything, doesn't like bacon. Can you believe that? I have an appointment for him with a therapist to get that all sorted out.) because they know its there and I can't possibly hoard it from them. Guests? Sorry - we don't share our bacon from the ranch. We don't get nearly enough bacon with our pig, though, and when it runs out, I always buy my bacon from Trader Joes. Its wonderfully delicious and has no nitrates, nitrites, preservatives. I'd rather die from a heart attack because of my bacon clogged arteries than eat those chemicals.
Back to the post - bacon ends and pieces. If ever a recipe calls for little tidbits of bacon like collard greens, twice baked potatoes, or breakfast burritos, don't buy the good (expensive) stuff. Buy the ends and pieces. Its not nearly as pretty when you open the package, but who cares? Do yourself a favor and look at the meat through the plastic - if its mostly fat, skip it, but if you see a lot of meat and fat (much like you would a regular pack of bacon), buy it. In fact, TJ's is often out of stock of this product, so when I see it, I usually buy at least six packages to store in my freezer. Cut it up into little teeny pieces, toss it in your cast iron skillet, and cook it up over medium high heat. The trick to perfectly cooking your bacon is to reduce the heat to low when the oil starts to foam. Otherwise, you may end up with half burnt, half raw bacon. This is the tried and true method to get every single piece to cook perfectly. Drain on a paper towel and voila - wonderful little bacon pieces that are roughly 60% as expensive as the strips for the same exact product.
And yes, I have a cheap-o black range that shows every disgusting splatter. Don't judge. Just look at that wonderful bacon and the raspberry baked french toast I forgot to move out of the frame.
Who loves to watch bacon cook? I do! I do! I made the VIDEO below just for you.
Bacon Ends and Pieces
CLICK TO PLAY RECIPE VIDEO
- 16 ounces bacon ends & pieces
- Heat heavy bottom skillet or dutch oven on medium high heat.
- Dice bacon pieces to desired size and discard any pieces that don't look appetizing (i.e. too much rough outside).
- Cook bacon pieces on medium high heat, stirring every minute or so to cook evenly, 15-20 minutes.
- Once the bacon pieces really start to cook, the oil will being to foam. At this point you should turn your heat down to low and allow bacon to continue cooking until all the pieces are perfectly done, about 5 minutes. This is how you get evenly cooked bacon.
- Once bacon pieces are cooked to your desired level, remove pieces with slotted spoon and allow to drain on paper towels.
- Use pieces in breakfast burritos, on top of twice baked potatoes, or eat them with a spoon because they're just wonderful and delicious bacon!
I buy my bacon ends from a wholesaler. The real bonus is that you can render down the bacon for many recipes and you also get a fair bit of bacon fat which I strain and save for other things. Bacon fat spread on rye bread with some freshly sliced onions a dash of salt and Hungarian Paprika has been a staple in my home since childhood.
Is "seasoning bacon" the same as ordinary bacon-and-eggs bacon?
I have a recipe from the 60s and it calls for either "seasoning bacon" or "ham ends."
I'm struggling to figure out what either of those mean.
My guess is that it just means bacon that doesn't have to be cut into nice strips. Something you can add for that bacon flavor, which is why ham would work too. This is the exact kind of recipe bacon ends works great.
I just want to order some!
Based on positive reviews here I bought a package of ends and pieces. It is absolutely horrible! It's swimming in some dark liquid smoke and it burns/caramelizes into a sickeningly sweet and smokey goo. I tried rinsing the bacon before cooking to see if that would help and that did reduce the sticky goo but it exposed more of the annoying flavor. Really terrible stuff!
Gross!! Which brand did you buy? I've only ever bought them from Trader Joe's and from New Seasons (a small high end grocery chain here in Oregon).
I also only buy them from Trader Joes, and although it seems they used to be meatier and contain some nice slices, they are still the best tasting bacon I have ever bought. The problem is that now I can only find them occasionally.
They seem to come in and out of stock. If you want sliced bacon, be sure to try the black forest - SO GOOD!
As to finding these in theSan Francisco Bay Area, I get them in the North Bay (Santa Rosa area) at Oliver’s Market in Cotati. If that’s too far from you, you might be able to contact the supplier to find out where else they distribute. It’s the Sonoma County Meat Co. in Santa Rosa. Socomeatco.com
JOHN R STEVENS
Had never heard of bacon ends, got some at the local farmers market out of curiosity. Did a Google search and after four worthless clicks found your wonderful ode to pig belly.
Awesome! I still cook them every week! -Krissy
Oddly enough I tend to pull out my broiler pan (it's one of those things that look like a slotted cookie sheet over a shallow baking pan) and use that to drain my bacon. pour the bacon on to the to pof the broiler pan (fat and all) wait for the bacon to cool, then pat "dry" with a double layer of paper towel. Save the rendered fat in a wide mouthed jar for cooking fat.
I can't find bacon Ends and Pieces in the places I've checked in the San Francisco Bay Area. Any information? When I lived in Memphis I bought 5lb boxes at Kroger's. Thanks!
I actually just found some really high quality ones at Whole Foods in the prepackagd section and the price was even lower than Trader Joe's!
yum these sound awesome. Thanks for this little recipe. simon.
Great ideas. Ijust found a deal on 5 lb. bags of ends and pieces for 45 cents a pound. I'm going to try thsome of these.
I just used the ends and pieces to make some gricia. Best decision I ever made.
Good morning, Krissy,
I've also been a died-in-the-wool fan of bacon ends and pieces for years. Recently, I discovered what I consider the very best BE&P I've ever experienced. This variety includes fairly decent chunks of both meat and fat. The fat portions, however, will not cook as regular bacon and - because of the high grease content - can easily lead to stomach upset.
What good uses do you know of (if any) for these large pieces of fat? They make up a large portion of the entire package, so I'm not inclined to throw them away.
Hi Jason, Glad to meet a fellow BE&P fan! Well, I always try to find the packages that have the highest meat vs. fat content. If I happen to get a package that has a huge chunk of pure fat in it, I will usually cut it up small and cook it along with the bacon because the fat is what the meat tastes so good and I'll finish the cooking process at such a low temp so that all the fat gets rendered without burning the meat. As far as uses? I'll save the rendered fat to cook eggs... but that's about it. I know other people use it for other things though... -Krissy
I used the bacon fat for popcorn, fried potatoes, and also egges. And if i make sausage potatoes and onions, i fry it all up together in bacon fat. It us a wonderful dish. If you ever decide to keep the fat, just refrigerate it.
I actually feed the bacon fat to my chickens! It makes some pretty rich yolks!