Chef Alex Guarnaschelli has made (and sampled!) all kinds of delicious food over her career. But one ingredient that’s always near and dear to this Alex vs America personality is bacon. She says you can’t go wrong when it comes to salty, smoky bacon, no matter which way you slice it.
If you’ve ever wondered what is the difference between classic sliced bacon, slab bacon and pancetta, Alex is here to break it all down. In the Bacon 101 video above, the chef goes over all types of bacon and their preferred uses, including turkey bacon, seitan bacon, and even Canadian bacon.
That classic strip bacon that you know and love is pork belly that is salted and sometimes smoked. But essentially it is a cured pork belly that is then thinly sliced.
Slab bacon is the same as classic bacon but is smoked whole instead. When sliced, it becomes classic regular bacon. Slab bacon is perfect when cooking some classic French recipes like beef bourguignon or a frisee salad with bacon lardons.
Canadian bacon also known as back bacon is usually found on the classic eggs benedict. While classic bacon, slab bacon and pancetta all come from the pork belly, Canadian bacon comes from the back (giving it the name back bacon). This makes it leaner than some other bacons.
Turkey bacon is smoked and cured turkey that is then processed into a bacon form.
Seitan is wheat protein that is then processed into a bacon form. It is meat free, dairy free and bacon free… but it is a good vegetarian or vegan substitute if you want that bacon feel and smoky flavour.
Alex Guarnaschelli’s Candied Bacon
From salads to pasta, bacon is the ingredient that keeps on giving. Alex’s favourite kind of bacon, though, is still the classic: sliced bacon. Sure, you could fry up your bacon and be totally satisfied with the salty results. But Alex has a go-to, three-ingredient recipe that makes it extra delicious: candied bacon.
To make it, coat slices of bacon in brown sugar and black pepper before laying them flat on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Give each slice extra breathing room and avoid overcrowding the pan. Then, place another same-sized sheet pan on top before popping your bacon into the oven. Let it cook while you get all of your other ingredients together.
Before you know it, you’ll have perfect slices of bacon with a balanced hit of sugar, spice, salt, and smoke. As Alex says, there’s really nowhere this bacon doesn’t belong: on a plate, over ice cream, or in a salad. It’s like the Little Black Dress of bacon.
Watch the video above to learn exactly how Alex makes this LBD of bacon. Then, scarf some down while watching new episodes of Alex vs America on Sundays at 9PM ET/PT after Fire Masters and before Ciao House on Food Network Canada. Also Available on STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, fuboTV, Rogers Ignite TV and Ignite SmartStream.