The Great Bacon Hunt

Photo: Art of Manliness
There have been a lot of great Bacons in history: Sir Francis Bacon, Kevin Bacon, the Baconator. Bacon is breakfast dessert. Bacon is magical. Bacon can cure a hangover. Bacon can help you find your keys. Bacon makes you fly. Bacon turns that frown upside down. Bacon is America. Is there anything bacon can't do?

So when I realized a week ago that my go-to bacon from Trader Joe's has added sugar in it and that doesn't jive with my current allergy detox, we had a problem. Throughout last week, I stopped by Trader Joe's and Whole Foods looking for a bacon that was nitrate/nitrite free, uncured and no sugar added. Not a single package in either store met the prerequisite. Thus began The Great Bacon Hunt.

I took to the internet and used my Google-Fu to search for sugar-free bacon. I came across a brand called Plumrose (sold in Walmart of all places) that was sugar free and lower sodium, which was a plus.
However, it contained nitrites, so it didn't make the cut.

Further internet searches yielded negative results so I took to the forums of Mark's Daily Apple and Robb Wolf to see if anyone else out there shared in my dilemma. There I found suggestions of regional farmer's markets, co-ops and natural food stores that didn't apply to me. Most argued that the added sugar is so inconsequential that you don't even need to worry about it. My wife said the same thing. But that's not the point. If the goal is to completely eliminate a list of certain foods and ingredients for three weeks to alleviate allergies, then I need to stick to the plan and see if it works.

I did some more searching for local farmer's markets in my area that are open in the winter. The one closest to my house has locally produced meats from a farm in Lancaster, PA, but when I went to inquire with them on Sunday, their stand in the farmer's market was not open. Damn Amish.

I decided to circumvent the situation and make my own bacon. I was now on the hunt for pork bellies.

I go back to Whole Foods and ask one of the meat department employees if they have any pork bellies. A few minutes later, another employee comes out from deep within the bowels of the meat department lair with a shrink wrapped package of what must have been five pounds of pork belly. Pay dirt!

I tell him I want to make it into bacon and he says he can do that for me. Damn, it just keeps getting better. For $5 a pound I got my own sugar free, nitrate/nitrite free, uncured, thick-cut bacon. Gosh it sure does look purdy, don't it?
It looks like bacon but it doesn't taste like bacon. The strips were cut really thick but even with a little seasoning it still tasted like a strip of pork chop and not my beloved bacon. Maybe that little bit of sugar (as inconsequential as it may be) really is the limiting factor in flavor. The final verdict: there is no substitute for bacon. I'll have to wait it out. Pray for me.


  1. Damn if everything comes back to Kevin Bacon. Solid post!

  2. Drop me an email. Would love to link your post.

    PR Friday at Crossfit Carmel!


  3. I'm late to the game, but I thought I should tell you: This post makes me happy. Bacon can help you find your keys? If I wasn't sold already (which I was), I am now.

    US Wellness meats has started selling sugar-free bacon. Haven't tried it, but I have tried their beef bacon. I know it sounds wrong, but it's additive-free and crisps up really well under the broiler.


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