When one fantasizes about bacon...which we do a lot around here...what generally comes to mind is a massive caveman style thick cut bacon strip. A formidable strip is a deliciously wonderful thing, no doubt about it, but focusing all your bacon love on strips alone misses a technicolor rainbow of ways bacon can be used as an ingredient, boosting the YUM! factor in your vegetable dishes, salads, pastas, sauces, hors d’oeuvres, fried rice and more!
Lardons are a traditional french charcuterie cut, which to the uninitiated may appear simply as miniature pieces of bacon - but there is so much more than meets the eye! Lardons have been a part of the western culinary tradition for more than 650 years, first gracing the pages of Pegge Cook, a cookbook published in 1381. The History of lardons is a fascinating one, and traditionally in french cuisine lardons were used as a way to stuff and flavor gamey meats, though we haven’t tried them in Roasted Crane or Heron as suggested in Pegge Cook 😬. Another crafty historical use for lardons was using a needle to thread long strips of pork fat into leaner beef or veal cuts, preventing them from overcooking and drying out. In more modern times, one might find lardons is in the classically Parisian dish salade aux lardons which strikes a perfect balance between bitter endive and chicory combined with unctuous cuts of bacon and a decadent poached egg on top. But why should Parisians have all the fun?
Whether it’s our Sweet Maple Lardons fried with Brussel sprouts, or crisp Bacetta Lardons sprinkled on top of a salad like meaty croutons, they are sure to add a punch to any dish. We also love using our Jalapeno Lardons as a base for stewed black beans, or swapping them for pork belly in a pork belly taco (also saving you close to 3 1/2 hours!). So often, when it comes to bacon we go straight to the familiar recipes, and yes they are great, but picking up a package of lardons along with your strips opens up a whole new universe of culinary possibilities - and what was once a plate of bacon, eggs, and toast now might become egg-in-the-hole with our Smoky Paprika Lardons copiously sprinkled atop the eggs and bread!
Of course, The Baconer’s Lardons are an interpretation of this traditional tasty morsel of salted pork, and we’ve tweaked a few things to make them our own. To begin with, we dry cure them for seven days, infusing the pork belly with our distinctive flavors. We follow that by smoking our slabs on applewood, then finish them in our unique sous-vide process. One of the great things about lardons is they are undoubtedly the cut which most spectacularly demonstrates what makes our unconventional process so special. Finishing our slabs by gently cooking them in their own juices intensifies the flavor infusions, drives the smoke deep into the meat, and maintains the delicate texture throughout. Coming off your frying pan, each lardon is like a crispy, chewy flavor bomb, perfectly balancing a crisp outer shell with a soft chewy inside, bursting with sweet salty porky goodness.
Sous vide finishing also brightens our flavor infusions with shocking clarity, especially in the lardon cut. Be it Bourbon & Orange, Smoky Paprika or Bacetta, the flavors are distinct and unmistakable, miles beyond the generic flavors on your typical grocery shelf. Our unique process presents an opportunity to bring dynamic and complex flavors like Pork Belly Pastrami, transporting you in an instant to New York’s Lower East Side chomping into the fatty, peppery goodness of a Katz’s Deli pastrami sandwich.It’s been said that lardons are more like pork belly than bacon strips because their thickness offers that wonderful chew you only get from a lardon. Perhaps this is what makes them the absolute best way to use bacon as an ingredient. Kids also love their small but mighty size, and everyone loves the convenience of throwing them on a pan to fry them up for a quick snack or as part of a fabulous dish. Let the flavors inspire you to create something amazing in your kitchen!