If you’re asking yourself this question, then you’ve come to the right place. Slab bacon is just bacon in its natural state – whole, smoked pork belly before it’s sliced into familiar bacon strips. The best part about slab bacon is that you can slice it how you like: thick, ultra-thin, or cube it for lardons. It’s bespoke bacon.
Read on to learn how to use slab bacon in your kitchen, and discover a whole new world of bacon obsession.
How to Cook with Slab Bacon
Because you can control the thickness, you can slice slab bacon to meet any requirement. Thicker bacon is useful for recipes where thin slices would cook too quickly or burn. Slab bacon can impart smoky, salty flavor to dishes, and offers satisfying texture: crispy on the outside, chewy and meaty on the inside.
First, Make Lardons
Everything starts with lardons, which is a French word for bacon matchsticks, or cubes. The average size of lardons is about ¼ inch thick and an inch long. Cook them in a hot pan until crispy, and save the bacon fat that renders out (yum!). Lardons offer satisfying texture and richness on a salad, like frisée with a poached egg, on almost any soup, quiche, and more. Here are 5 ways to enjoy them.
1. Bacon is Pasta’s BFF
Slab bacon is a natural fit with pasta. Carbonara is especially delicious with lardons tossed throughout. Or cook the lardons and then toss in cold pasta salads with vinaigrette dressing.
2. Bacon Makes Soup Better
Slab bacon is perfect for soups of all kinds. In fact, you can begin soups and braises by rendering a thick slice of slab bacon (think coq au vin, beef bourguignon), which will impart smoky flavor and just enough bacon fat to get things going. Enliven creamy squash soups with a sprinkling of bacon lardons on top. Try tomato bacon bisque or clam chowder with lardons.
3. Any Kind of Bean
Beans of all kinds, from lentils and split peas to Tarbais beans and baked beans, will benefit from the salty pleasure of bacon. Chunk the slab bacon as needed. Try our baked beans recipe with woven bacon on top – it uses both slab bacon in chunks and thinner slices of bacon.
4. Obviously, Pizza
Make a savory tarte flambée, basically Alsatian pizza, with lardons, onions, and fromage blanc. But even American-style pizza, piled with toppings, will be even better with bacon.
5. Who Needs Peanut Butter? Make Bacon Jam
You need to try bacon jam. Chop up some slab bacon and cook it down with onions until it all melds together in a sweet & salty spread that’s excellent on burgers. We also like it on toast or served on a charcuterie board too.
About D’Artagnan Slab Bacon
Our slab bacon comes from heritage-breed hogs that are raised on pasture. These old breeds offer certain advantages when it comes to making bacon: rich flavor and lots of marbling. We smoke the pork bellies over real applewood, and never use nitrates or nitrites.
We offer two plates of slab bacon large enough to serve bacon at every meal for some time to come. The best part is that slab bacon freezes beautifully, so just portion it out in vacuum-sealed bags and keep your freezer stocked. If you can’t use this much bacon, you’re doing it wrong.
What are your favorite ways to eat bacon?
Since 1985, D’Artagnan has been at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, producing superior tasting products by partnering with small ranches and farms. We are committed to free-range, natural production, sustainable and humane farming practices and no use of antibiotics or hormones. That’s why D’Artagnan products have been revered by America’s most renowned chefs for over 30 years. We offer the same high-quality products to home cooks at dartagnan.com, along with recipes and guides to help you live the tasty life.