Turkey bacon is an imitation bacon usually prepared from smoked, chopped and reformed turkey, commonly marketed as a low-fat alternative to bacon. Turkey bacon can also be used as a substitute for bacon where religious restrictions forbid the consumption of pork.
Production and use
The meat for turkey bacon comes from the whole turkey and can be cured or uncured, smoked, chopped, and reformed into strips that resemble bacon. The turkey is often cured in a mix of seasonings and refined bacon grease for up to 48 hours. Turkey bacon is cooked by pan-frying. Cured turkey bacon made from dark meat can be 90% fat free. It can be used in the same manner as bacon (such as in a BLT sandwich), but the low fat content of turkey bacon means it does not shrink while being cooked and has a tendency to stick to the pan.
Alternative to bacon
Turkey bacon is lower in fat and calories than bacon, but can be used in a similar manner to bacon (such as in a BLT sandwich), but its lower fat content makes it unsuitable in some situations, such as grilling.
Turkey bacon is also an alternative for people who do not eat pork for religious or dietary reasons. When Beautiful Brands International, a company from Tulsa, Oklahoma, signed a deal with a Saudi Arabian firm to open 120 locations in eight countries in the Middle East, they had to substitute bacon with Halal turkey bacon in their recipes at Camille's Sidewalk Cafe locations as consumption of pork and non-halal meat is forbidden by Islamic customs.
Two strips of Butterball turkey bacon contain 3 grams of fat and 50 calories (32% of which from fat); turkey bacon from Louis Rich and Mr. Turkey contain 5 and 4 grams of fat, respectively, per two slices. By comparison, two strips of regular pork bacon contain, on average, some 7 grams of fat. Andrew Smith, in The Turkey: An American Story, notes that turkey products (including turkey bacon) contain, on average twice as much sodium as the pork products they replace.
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- Bellerson, Karen J. (2001). The Complete & Up-to-Date Fat Book: A Guide to the Fat, Calories, and Fat Percentage in Your Food. Avery. p. 55. ISBN 978-1-58333-099-9.
- Smith, Andrew F. (2006). The Turkey: An American Story. U of Illinois P. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-252-03163-2.