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Turkey bacon is a healthier alternative to traditional pork bacon and is known for its health benefits such as having less fat than its counterpart. Turkey bacon is not only eaten by those who want slightly fewer calories in their diet but is also eaten by people who abstain from pork bacon due to religious reasons.
Table of Contents
- What is turkey bacon?
- Can you eat it raw?
- How to cook turkey bacon
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is turkey bacon?
Turkey bacon is chopped parts of turkey lunch meat and skin pressed into a shape to resemble traditional pork bacon. The processed meat all comes from a turkey and typically goes through a curing, and sometimes smoking on wood, process before being sold. Turkey bacon can be compared to other processed meat products such as hot dogs as there is a stigma around turkey bacon being artificial, and this is not the case.
As mentioned, turkey bacon is used as a healthy alternative to regular uncured bacon but what exactly makes turkey bacon healthier?
Well, turkey bacon has less fat than regular uncured bacon which means it is also less greasy. Fat and grease in foods have been proven to be bad for your arteries and increase the amount of harmful cholesterol in your bloodstream.
Can you eat it raw?
Some meat products are already cooked and are safe for consumption and only require you to heat them up so that you enjoy them more. If you are not wanting to cook turkey bacon, then maybe you are wondering if this is one of those same products.
Before being sold, uncured turkey bacon goes through two processes of curing and being smoked. These are known to cook food and make them edible without being cooked further. There is a high chance that your uncured turkey bacon has been through both of these processes and is safe for consumption without the risk of food poisoning while still being considered uncooked turkey bacon.
However, it is best to check the packaging of your turkey bacon as that will say for definite if you can eat it or not without cooking it first. If you are yet to defrost bacon, it is always best to cook frozen turkey bacon before consumption as it will not be enjoyable without being heated up. If your uncured turkey bacon is in the fridge beforehand, then uncooked bacon strips can be quite nice cold in a sandwich like deli meats as long as it is deemed edible.
Real turkey bacon is not the same and is unsafe for consumption without being cooked. Raw bacon cannot be eaten and can harbor bacteria and parasites which lead to food poisoning. If you eat raw turkey bacon you are likely to have a stomach ache as a lower serious illness, but you are also risking more serious things such as contracting tapeworms.
How to cook turkey bacon
Despite being edible when uncooked, cooking turkey bacon can really improve how much you enjoy it. There are many methods of doing this, and if you’re familiar with cooking traditional bacon then you will know exactly what to do.
The main methods of cooking are:
- Oven cooking
Each method provides somewhat similar results and is entirely dependent on how you want to cook it.
Frying turkey bacon
Easily the most common method of cooking bacon, all you need for frying is your preferred cooking oil or a mix of vegetable oils, a pan or skillet big enough to accommodate your turkey bacon, and of course, the bacon itself.
To start off you are going to want to add some of your preferred oil to the pan, just enough to cover the bottom in a very thin layer so that your turkey bacon does not stick.
After this, you are going to want to turn on the heat to a medium-high setting and wait until the oil begins bubbling. The pan needs to be hot enough that you can hear a sizzle when you lay your turkey bacon down.
Once the correct temperature has been reached, use a pair of tongs or something similar to lay your turkey bacon down in the pan. Arrange turkey bacon so that nothing overlaps and there is a little bit of space between each slice.
Once the turkey bacon strips are deeply browned and crispy, it is time to remove them and place them on a plate that has a paper towel covering it. This is going to absorb the excess fat and grease from your turkey bacon.
Oven cooking turkey bacon
Oven cooking is a relatively simple method of cooking turkey bacon. To do this you will need an oven tray lined in either parchment paper or a baking sheet. A plate and some paper towels are also recommended.
On the packaging for your turkey bacon, it will tell you what temperature to cook your bacon at and for how long, you will want to preheat your oven to this temperature. While waiting for the oven to heat up, arrange your bacon on your oven sheet so that no strips touch or overlap.
After this, you will want to place the tray in your oven and start periodically checking on your turkey bacon about 5 minutes before it is meant to be done. Once the bacon is properly cooked and at your desired level of crispy, safely remove the tray from the oven. Transfer the strips onto the paper towel-lined plate and let them cool before consuming.
Microwave turkey bacon
Microwaving your turkey bacon is the easiest way to cook it and works surprisingly well without sacrificing any taste or texture. For this, you will only need a plate and a fair few paper towels.
To bake turkey wings or bacon, you will want to place a couple of paper towels on your plate and then place a few slices of turkey bacon on top. If you want more bacon that you can fit, simply cover the layer of bacon in two more paper towels and repeat the process until you have your desired amount of bacon ready to cook.
Microwave times will differ depending on the wattage of your microwave, but on the highest setting, a minute and a half should do it. The paper towels will absorb any grease and fat once it starts to render leaving you with nothing but some crispy perfect turkey bacon with the only clean-up being the paper towels you throw in the trash.
In summary, eating turkey bacon or pork bacon is under no circumstance safe for you. However, if the packaging of your turkey bacon says so, then you can eat that without cooking it first. If you are yet to try turkey bacon and want to have a somewhat healthier diet then it is worth a try as it helps reduce those unhealthy fats and grease you find in real pork bacon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is turkey bacon already cooked?
Sometimes the turkey bacon will already be cured and smoked before being sold. This means it is cooked and ready to eat however it is best if you check on the packaging.
Can Turkey Bacon give you food poisoning?
If the turkey bacon has bacteria on it then it is likely to give you food poisoning unless you cook it first.
How cooked should turkey bacon be?
Oftentimes turkey bacon is already cooked and just needs to be heated up, if that is the case then you can cook it however you prefer. Some people like it crispy whereas other people prefer their turkey bacon to be chewier.