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Great Gifts for a Bacon Lover

Updated on February 15, 2015
cookbookman17 on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
cookbookman17 on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic | Source

Did Somebody Say Bacon?

Ah, bacon! Who doesn't love it? (Well, besides vegetarians, that is.) These days bacon is "in" and hot in a big way, featured in every recipe imaginable from breakfast to dessert, even trendy cocktails! Sure it might not be the leanest meat out there on the market, but it's a flavor-packed indulgence that many are returning to in droves and reveling in its versatility.

Do you know someone who is absolutely hog-wild for bacon? If so, there are countless cool bacon-related gift items that would be wonderful to give for Christmas, a birthday, or any special occasion. From the silly to the seriously useful, the clever to the bizarre, there's something for every bacon-lover out there today.

Are you crazy for bacon?

Are you a bacon lover?

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Pig-Shaped Bacon Grill Press!

Norpro Cast Iron Pig Shaped Bacon Press with Wood Handle
Norpro Cast Iron Pig Shaped Bacon Press with Wood Handle

A grill press is a handy tool for keeping your bacon flat while cooking - and this one is just perfect for the bacon-lover with its whimsical pig shape!

Made from heavy cast iron, it's easy to clean as well as decorative and fun in design. The wooden handle makes it easy to use without worry of getting burned, and you can use this press for other cooking tasks such making a perfect grilled-cheese sandwich, panini, quesadilla, and so much more.

 

How to Use a Bacon Press

Bacon Cookbooks and Recipe Collections

For new and creative cooking ideas

Cookbooks always make a great gift for someone who is an avid home chef. With the bacon frenzy going on today, there are now quite a few books dedicated exclusively to the many ways to use it, from the basic to the bizarre.

Seduced by Bacon: Recipes & Lore About America's Favorite Indulgence
Seduced by Bacon: Recipes & Lore About America's Favorite Indulgence

Seduced is definitely the right word for this gorgeous book filled with tempting recipes and stories all about the popular porky treat.

 
101 Things to Do with Bacon
101 Things to Do with Bacon

There's no reason to think of bacon as just a breakfast food! Find a great collection of recipes here from the obvious (Bacon-Wrapped Scallops) to the more surprising (Peanut Butter Bacon Cupcakes).

 

Sing it! How can you resist the bacon song?

The Bacon Cookbook: More than 150 Recipes from Aroud the World for Everyone's Favorite Food
The Bacon Cookbook: More than 150 Recipes from Aroud the World for Everyone's Favorite Food

This cookbook features 168 recipes that traverse the globe and explore cuisines from around the world that celebrate cured pork.

 
Fifty Shades of Bacon
Fifty Shades of Bacon

No bacon cookbook list would be complete without this title, would it? The popular adult romance has inspired numerous parodies including this bacon-themed sensual title.

 
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A Few Facts about Bacon

How well do you know your cured meat?

Bacon is, most basically, cured meat from a pig. Preparing bacon begins by curing the fresh meat either in a "dry" style by packing with salt, or in a liquid salt solution known as a brine.

After this curing process, the meat can then be prepared for sale or consumption in a number of different ways. It may be smoked, it might be boiled, or it might be air-dried in a temperature-controlled environment. Typically it is cooked further to get a crispy finish, or such that the bacon fat renders down to flavor whatever it is being cooked with such as a roast, lean game meat, seafood or vegetables.

Bacon can come from different cuts of the pig: in the United States it is most generally from the belly, but in other countries it is popular to prepare from side or back strips which are less fatty (and where pork belly is a more popular cut of meat to enjoy in other ways, without curing and smoking. Asian cuisine especially features pork belly as an ingredient for stewing, braising or cooking on a BBQ grill.)

Meat from other animals is often these days prepared in the style of traditional pork bacon, either for those who do not eat pork for religious reasons or for those who feel pork is too fatty and unhealthy to eat. Indeed, for years we have been told that we should limit our consumption of bacon (if not stop consuming it entirely) because of health concerns - it has been linked to heart disease and other problems due to its high fat and sodium content as well as the chemicals used in curing and preservation.

However, there is quite the bacon "revival" underway today, and some are beginning to question whether all bacon is equally "evil". Pork fat from pastured, naturally raised hogs can actually be as healthy for you as olive oil - it is more an issue of avoiding pork products from factory farms where not only is the meat lower in nutrients, but the animals are raised under inhumane conditions (I recommend reading the great article The Benefits of Pastured Porkfor more information.) As we raise our own hogs in my family, we get our cured pork prepared by local butchers who we know and trust to do it naturally and without unnecessary chemicals. You might want to check out the Eat Wild website, especially their directory of local grassfed meat, poultry and dairy, if you are looking to find pork and other animal products raised more ethically and with better health properties for your diet.

Bacon Novelties and Gag Gifts

Perfect as stocking stuffers or even possibly party favors

These amusing little bacon-themed joke gifts and novelty items are really perfect for those totally obsessed with all things having to do with cured porky goodness.

Accoutrements Bacon Wallet
Accoutrements Bacon Wallet

Warning: this wallet may make your money and cards irresistible to others!

 
Guajolote Prints Funny Bacon Notepad 50 Sheets 4.25 X 5.5 Inches
Guajolote Prints Funny Bacon Notepad 50 Sheets 4.25 X 5.5 Inches

For that special someone who totally deserves it! Great for shopping lists, notes in the office, or even writing out bacon-centric recipes.

 

Need a break? Why not relax with a bacon cocktail!

BACON shaped themed Adhesive Bandages, 15 Die-Cut Sterile Strips
BACON shaped themed Adhesive Bandages, 15 Die-Cut Sterile Strips

Perfect for the chef who might be suffering from some splatter burns in the kitchen!

 
Accoutrements Bacon Platter
Accoutrements Bacon Platter

If you're cooking up some party snacks featuring bacon, why not serve them on an appropriately-themed dinner plate? This one is actually abstract enough to not HAVE to be bacon, but it's still got a cool, retro look to it.

 
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Membership in a Bacon of the Month Club

The perfect gift for the serious bacon eater

Every other food group and treat has a monthly club these days so why not bacon? There are actually several different companies offering them today, and any of these would make for a fabulous gift item to be enjoyed for days and weeks to come.

Zingerman's Bacon of the Month Club was actually featured on Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" series, is a great gift idea that offers both 3 and 6-month gifting plans! Each month the recipient will receive a different shipment of 12-16 ounces of artisan-produced bacon, along with stories, recipes, historical facts and more. From Applewood Smoked to Virginia Dry Cured, each shipment is unique and a chance to explore regional specialties and delights.

BaconFreak.com offers a variety of Monthly Clubs, including Gluten-Free, Nitrate-Free, and Pepper-Free that are available in various periods of time (3, 6, 12 month or ongoing.)

The Pig Next Door offers both traditional bacon and heirloom pig club, for those who wish to experience the difference in flavor that comes from using pork raised humanely and using sustainable farming methods.

Amazing Clubs also offers one for people who need a lot of bacon - 2 pounds every month of thick-cut, artisan produced bacon in flavors like Honey BBQ and Sun-dried Tomato.

Funny Bacon-Themed T-Shirts

Gifts to show off your bacon love wherever you go

Any of these shirts is sure to get a laugh - and hopefully a lot of wear - from the bacon lover who receives it.

Exercise Eggs Are Sides For Bacon T-Shirt
Exercise Eggs Are Sides For Bacon T-Shirt

This fun t-shirt (read it closely) is available in a large variety of colors, and sizes from small all the way up to 6x-large!

 

Do you think the bacon hype is still going strong or are people getting over it?

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cyclonebill on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
cyclonebill on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic | Source

Do you know your types of bacon?

A brief overview...

Back Bacon: this type is prepared from the center-cut boneless pork loin of the pig. It is leaner than bacon from other cuts, and may also be called "Canadian" or "Irish" bacon because of its high popularity in those countries.

Cottage Bacon: This cut comes from the pork shoulder and is typically meaty and oval-shaped.

Guanciale: This is an Italian bacon prepared without smoking, from the jowls and cheeks of the pig.

Middle bacon: As the name implies, this comes from the middle of the animal and is half-way between super-lean back bacon and fatty side/belly cuts.

Pancetta: Another kind of Italian bacon, it is cut from the pork side then salt-cured and seasoned with spices including fennel, peppercorns and nutmeg.

Side bacon: cut from the pork belly, this style is the most popular and familiar in the United States with its distinctive banding of meat and fat.

Slab bacon: typically a very fatty style from the middle or side, often used mostly for cooking purposes (adding fat to a very learn meat dish or roast, for instance.)

Speck: A type of ham prepared with a distinctive Juniper-berry seasoning. It's salt-curing and seasoning reflects the blending of Austrian and Northern-Italian cuisines and methods of food preservation.

To learn more about the different varieties, curing processes, history and culture of bacon, please check out the following references and resources:

The Bacon Wiki - yes, there's an entire wiki devoted to the subject!

Bacon Today - the latest news, recipes, reviews and more

Not Crafty Yourself?

Don't worry, you can still give someone a handmade bacon-themed gift thanks to Etsy! Just check the search results for bacon on the craft-oriented website and you'll find everything from candy to mugs, t-shirts, jewelry and much more.

More Funny Bacon Gift Ideas

Accoutrements Ornament - Bacon
Accoutrements Ornament - Bacon

Of course, nothing's better than a little bacon on your Christmas tree! This ornament is attractively boxed for gift-giving and would make a great stocking-stuffer, too.

 
Accoutrements Mr.Bacon Bendable Action Figure
Accoutrements Mr.Bacon Bendable Action Figure

Another fun novelty item that's great for a stocking-stuffer, or perhaps an office gift for that person who's always bringing in a BLT for lunch.

 

© 2015 Nicole Pellegrini

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