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What Are Burnt Bacon Ends?

Sure, we all love strips of bacon—there's a reason why that delicious pork belly usually comes in long strips. But bacon is a force of nature, so versatile and delicious that it can’t be contained just to a strip that lays across sandwiches or wraps around vegetables. Au contraire, there are many layers—cuts and flavors—to this greatest of all meats.  Say hello to BBQ Bacon Ends, and if you’ve never heard of them before, well, congratulations—your world is going to change for the better.

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WHAT ARE BACON ENDS?

That sounds like a funny term, doesn't it? “Bacon Ends”—it's not an apocalyptic prophecy (though seriously, if bacon ended, we'd probably throw in the towel). Instead, think more literally.

You know those strips of bacon that wind up neatly packaged on your grocery store shelf? They're all precisely cut from a big piece of cured pork belly, AKA a Bacon Slab. Slabs tend to have irregular shapes and edges, and once all the strips have been cut from it, Bacon Ends are the pieces that remain. They range in size and thickness, from one-bite morsels to something the size of a caveman club, but at any scale, they’re made of pure glorious bacon and pack extra flavor because they have more of the slab surface that was in direct contact with the spices and smoke when the slab was made.

As a product, though, Bacon Ends are usually cut up into chunks rather than left in one big piece. You're generally working with 1 - 1 ½ inch cubes that can be used in different ways from traditional sliced bacon. Any type of recipe that calls for pork belly or rich thick-cut meats can be elevated times a thousand with the use of bacon ends—especially when they’re our BBQ Bacon Ends.

We knew that our BBQ Bacon Ends had to be about more than just a cut of bacon. They had to deliver a memorable eating experience—one that encapsulates everything great about both bacon and barbecue in a few chewy bites—whether you’re using these to top a salad or put them in a taco. Yes, seriously, use them as the most amazing taco ingredient.

Because of this, we partnered with our friends at Oakland Dust, a Bay Area artisanal spice company, to source the ideal accompanying BBQ sauce to go with these high-quality cuts of meat. So without further ado, let’s talk about our genius friend Lloyd from Oakland Dust.

 

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MEET OAKLAND DUST

At The Baconer, we are unabashedly and unequivocally proud of being from, and living in, The East Bay of California (shouts out to Berkeley and Oakland). We think it’s the best area around, and in our neighborhood, we absolutely adore our local grocery store Berkeley Bowl. This is where we first encountered Oakland Dust. No, it wasn’t quite the glamorous “bacon runs into the arms of a sauce after longing glances” type of thing straight out of a soap opera or teenage romance flick; instead, it was more like we saw their products at a place that we know sources incredibly good stuff. In fact, Berkeley Bowl carries the entire line of Oakland Dust rubs and sauces.

Then one day, we started dreaming of BBQ Bacon Ends as a product and in doing so, realized that there needed to be some sort of sauce or spice for it to truly be perfect as a product.

We went through the proper channels of modern businesses, and by that, we mean we pinged them on Instagram. Fortunately, Lloyd and the Oakland Dust team recognized a good match when they saw it, and within a mere two weeks, BBQ Bacon Ends went from a mere spark of an idea to full production mode.

Suddenly, it all came together—and, this time, it was that sort of dramatic embrace of a soap opera: Oakland Dust’s signature flavor The One was the freakin’ perfect match for this dream of ours.

Why was that? Simple really—any good barbecue sauce is a good blend of sweet, tang, and smokey. But for it to work with a specific cut of meat—like our Bacon Ends—that flavor profile had to complement the natural tastes. In the case of bacon, that means using the sweet and tangy sauce flavors to balance out the savory and fatty flavors in the meat, allowing everything to work in tandem rather than overpower.

Our BBQ Bacon Ends don’t just marinate in one Oakland Dust sauce, but two!

We used a blend of The One and its spicy cousin The Hot One to create a medium heat sauce that fits right in with our product, like that perfect four-block Tetris piece dropping right into that neat stack of blocks.

But enough technicalities, just know that it tastes great. Seriously, it’s incredible, and we say that as foodies rather than pride-filled owners of The Baconer.

BBQ Bacon Ends

GETTING CREATIVE WITH BACON BURNT ENDS

Now, you’re probably thinking and salivating about all of the amazing possibilities when it comes to BBQ Bacon Ends. And, of course, we’ve got you covered with this. First, let’s take a note from our friend Lloyd at Oakland Dust. Lloyd pinged us when he had a video on his Instagram Stories up—he stacked our BBQ Ends with veggies on a skewer and grilled them.

Such an easy and logical use, and yet we didn’t think of it before; trust us, we did some forehead smacking when we saw that (and then we fired up the grill, because that was a pretty amazing idea).

Inspired by his creativity (and calling upon our own innovative culinary skills), we came up with more than a few ideas when it comes to using BBQ Bacon Ends. They’re excellent when used as creative replacements for pulled pork—a particular favorite of ours is in a Bacon & Kimchi Taco. Want something simpler? Don’t settle for hot dogs in your mac n' cheese; instead, turn even the most basic boxed mac & cheese into something spectacular by using our BBQ Bacon Ends. Go even more basic by putting it on top of white or brown rice, or try putting it in a fried rice recipe. And then there’s the easiest way to eat BBQ Bacon Ends: as finger food!. To satisfy your bacon craving, we’ve included cooking recommendations and a line up of recipes sure to send you on an "out of body" adventure. 

HOW TO COOK BBQ BACON ENDS

For cooking up BBQ Bacon Ends, we recommend using an oven because: 1. It's simple and 2. It's effective. While preheating your oven to 420°F degrees, prepare a baking sheet with a lip and line it with foil to trap (and help you save) the bacon fat. Spread your BBQ Bacon Ends around the sheet. While you wait for the oven to say “Hurry up, put that bacon in me!”, imagine how delicious your BBQ Bacon Ends are going to taste when they are done. When the oven is ready, cook the BBQ Bacon Ends for 20-25 minutes until your preferred crispiness is achieved and you’re good to go.

But what if you want even more bacon beyond BBQ Bacon Ends? You, dear #baconfam, are in luck. The Baconer invites you to join The Strip Club. Yes, we know what you’re thinking, and it’s actually even better than that. The Strip Club is The Baconer’s Quarterly subscription box; it features our most popular bacon picks and exclusive new flavors even before they hit the public. Can’t decide if you want BBQ Bacon Ends or Bacon Strips from The Strip Club? We have one simple solution: why not both?

WAYS TO ENJOY BBQ BACON ENDS

Don't forget to grab your Bacon Ends and make your own.

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