Looking for a lower fat, lower calorie, slightly healthier substitute for bacon in recipes like broccoli salad. Has anyone tried using liquid smoke or something else that worked well?
How about turkey bacon?
To me liquid smoke always tastes fake. I do use a tiny drop in a bit of BBQ sauce I make....but...
Also you might try bits of crisped thinly deli smoked ham in some recipes.
Turkey bacon is quite acceptable. I'm with Linda, liquid smoke tastes fake (to me, nasty.) You aren't looking for the smoke taste in the recipe but rather a bacon-y umami quality, I think.
I use baco fake bacon bits. Use a small amount, they are salty!
You could use chopped smoked almonds (those kind that come in a can). Just be sure to add at the last minute so they keep their crunch (although they would be a bit chewier like bacon once they've softened).
Turkey bacon, besides being a misnomer (you don't get bacon from a bird!) is nowhere near as "healthy" as Jenny-O and companies want you to believe, especially if you get good quality bacon. They've done a good job selling people on this myth. It's generally 2-3 times the sodium, not much lower in fat in many instances and face it, a little fat isn't a killer to most people. It's interesting how the "low fat" products are so much higher in sodium (to make up for loss of taste) and also higher in carbs which is out of fashion these days too.
To have something healthier, get some of the real bacon bits. Anthony Caruso (Food Network Lite/Thindulge) is a proponent of the Hormel brand. Says it's much lower in fat, is real bacon and he uses it in a lot of recipes where he's trying to improve recipes. I've been using them in things like slaw. Better than the imitation bits IMO. I also use Bacon Salt for rubs and things and it's actually quite decent.
Liquid smoke is fine in BBQ sauces and things like that but I wouldn't use it in a salad. You're not going to use that much bacon anyway (though I would!) so I don't think I'd worry too much. You could also look for a smoked seasoning as another option too.
Many things I've read suggest that pig is better than bird in reality. Now the caveat is getting good quality, low sodium pig. Bird advocates usually compare bird to the worst quality (pig) bacon. Dark meat turkey has as much fat and cholesterol as beef so the turkey burger eaters often fool only themselves.
You can do some comparing but have to compare it intelligently too. Often the serving size on bird is 1 slice and pig is 2. So compare serving sizes and the other stats. One comparison found the turkey "bacon" had nearly twice the calories, equal fat calories and nearly equal saturated fat as pig. The whammy also comes from the cholesterol at nearly three times as much as the pork and the sodium was more than double. So is that "healthier"?
Now certainly some will pick out a package of SuperCheap bacon and compare it to HealthNutChoice bird+chemicals and find different stats or argue weight since chemicals are lighter than meat but the point is, the claims for the most part are exaggerated since who has a menu of two eggs an 60 grams of imitation bacon? :) And just because Whole Paycheck sells it does not mean it's healthy! But again, good sell job.
Here again is an example how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A narrow focus at a limited amount of info gives you most any result you want. One can easily talk about pink slime analogy with turkey. Turkey "bacon" is NOT a slice of meat from the bird. It's processed pieces formed into a lump with emulsifiers, not totally unlike boneless lean beef trimmings aka Lean Finely Textured Beef and we know about that hullabaloo!
Turkey "bacon" came around as a way to sell more birds and as a way for vegetarians (which I do not understand how not eating pork and beef makes you a veggie) and those with spiritual restriction on pork intake to have their (simulated) bacon and eat it too. It was not developed as a measure for healthy eating and I'd suggest it's a lot more "organic" (another fad term) than the formula for compacted, formed turkey trimmings.
This got a lot longer than intended but in closing, I'll stick with Porky and pass on Turkey Lurky! :)
Thanks for the replies everyone!
Cynic - Can you tell me more about the "bacon salt" that you use. I don't think I've ever seen that at the grocery store. Is there a brand name on it or is Bacon Salt the brand name?
Ok I looked on Google and this is probably what you were talking about Cynic. I'm going to give it a try. Thanks!
Did you get the original or one of the other flavors?
Here is a link that might be useful: Bacon Salt
A little OT... but about real bacon bits. One supermarket near me has a nice salad bar. They have real bacon bits... made in-store... think they use the ends from fresh sliced?!? It's nice and crispy and has good flavor. If I used bacon bits a lot, would consider buying a small salad container of just them. Would be much less money, MUCH fresher than those little bottles, and thinking would last fairly long iin the fridge.
Cynic - I had to double-check your claims and I was really surprised at what I saw. Below are the approximate per ounce values of Oscar Mayer turkey bacon and center cut pig bacon (in that order.)
total fat: 6g / 2.6g
sat fat: 2g / .9g
cholest: 30mg / 9mg
sodium: 360mg / 159mg
protein: 4g / 4g
I only bought turkey bacon once and it was many years ago, but now I don't feel so guilty about not buying it. Pass me the pig please!
Well....if turkey bacon in turkey slime with added fat and salt.....what are "bacos"....eww! Do I even want to know? They taste awful to me any way. And from how I feel if I accidentally eat any, full of MSG.
I used to find pouches of real bacon bits....needed to be refrigerated. I forget the brand but it was the brand of a bacon I could buy. I didn't check salt nor fat content....but it's amazing the "oomph" a tablespoon added to a big bowl of salad.....or a sprinkle added to a couple of scrambled eggs.
I haven seen them lately.....I'll have to look. Much less expensive and better than those bottles of dried bacon bits.
I always keep a jar or two of Hormel real bacon bits on hand. The only time I cook up real bacon is for(homegrown tomato)BLTs in the summer. I use the Hormel bits in scrambled eggs, egg salad, as salad toppings, in jalapeno popper filling, etc.
I find that the bits in the bag(don't remember if it's the same brand)have too much flavoring added, which I think is a fairly recent change. I always get the skinny jar.
Ingredients from Bacos: Defatted soy flour, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, water, salt, sugar, natural and artificial flavor (some type of glutamate no doubt, but not MSG because I'm allergic to that and it would give me a stomache ache), artificial color, and red 40, maltodextrin, dextrose, tocopherol, (preservative).
I am allergic to nitrates, they give me headaches, so I buy natural bacon and keep it in the freezer. I slice off some bits to fry for flavor, but not for the broccoli slaw style salad. I don't mind a dash of the soy product stuff to add some bacon flavor to something like soups and salads or braised greens, if it's just a dash for flavor. It absolutely is full of sugar and salt so that's why I said use judiciously. In a BLT where bacon is a key ingredient rather than a flavoring, I want real bacon, I tried the soy stuff for BLTs and it didn't cut it for me. Also, some of my friends are vegans and others are observant Jews and Muslims, so the Baco bits work for when I am cooking for a mixed crowd, which is what my gang tends to be.
I'm liking the idea of smoked almonds for salads though. I have been avoiding them due to the salt content, but a few might be interesting in salads.
When I get a hankerin' for bacon, I buy this, cook it crisp and it's yummy. Part of the appeal of organic turkey vs commercially raised pork bacon, is the feed/chemicals they give to pigs, plus the nitrates they use for curing...all missing in this product.
Here is a link that might be useful: Applegate Farms Organic Turkey Bacon
I would just use less real bacon instead of something substandard.
Real bacon doesn't have that much fat or calories if you cook it slow until crispy. Give the fatty ends to the dog or throw out!
I usually cook bacon for about 30 minutes or more in a skillet to render out as much fat as possible.
I am really enjoying hickory smoked salt right now, something I heard about from members of this forum. In fact, my toddler is eating broccoli this very moment thanks to it. It's good stuff!
I have some smoked salt too and really like it on grilled or roasted vegetables.