Bacon, as we traditionally know it, is sourced from the pork belly of a pig. The pork belly is a part of fatty meat on a pig that contains no bones. We are not here to discuss pork belly, though, we are here to talk buckboard bacon.
Buckboard bacon differs from traditional American style bacon in that its meat source is typically pork butt, also sometimes referred to as Boston Butt, despite its name does not come from the pig’s butt. Polk butt is a section of the pig that comes from the top part of the shoulder from the front legs.
Additionally, buckboard bacon can be sourced from pork loin as well, which is located just behind the shoulder along the back of the pig. Other areas of the pig can be used to make buckboard bacon, but basically it means any area that is not pork belly, where it is cured and then smoked.
When the pork belly is not used, the buckboard bacon takes on several different characteristics:
• There is less fat on buckboard bacon
• Less fat, means more meat and more texture
• With more meat, the shape of the bacon is typically not in a strip shape, but defined by the location of the mean, for example the pork loin sources buckboard bacon is shaped in thin round/oval shapes like the loin
• Depending on the cut of meat and feed for the pig, there is less fat marbling and a “meatier”
bite/consistency of buckboard bacon over regular bacon
• Leaner meat means more attractive to dieters who still enjoy lots of flavor without the high
• Being sourced from thicker and meatier cuts of meat, one has the option to be very versatile with
shapes and cut nice, thick, juicy rounds as a main entrée highlight
• Also being a leaner meat, buckboard bacon is like ham and needs a little help in the fat department
in terms of frying- use butter or oil if you want to make it crispy!
Buckboard bacon in the US has been around since the earliest settlers in the country, when simply because the ideal cut of meat was not available or too expensive did not mean that the settlers would waste any part of the pig. Also, curing the buckboard bacon would allow the meat to stay fresh longer and made it more portable during new settlements.
Currently, buckboard bacon is picking up much more interest in modern restaurants and cuisine as Americans’ taste for bacon becomes more and more insatiable and as chefs are looking to discover the next big trends off shooting the current bacon trends.
For bacon aficionados, buckboard bacon is their new BFF. It is the next new trend that we will soon be seeing much more of on our restaurant menus. May do-it-yourselfers are not waiting for their favorite restaurants to start serving new and exciting variations of buckboard bacon, and are choosing to cure and smoke it themselves.
If you are interested in making it yourself, you will need only a few basic supplies outside of the meat itself:
• Curing salts (preferably nitrate free where possible)
• Ziplock large gallon bacons, or food safe large lidded containers
• Kitchen twine
• A Meat Smoker (there are dozens of varieties, include electric)
Regardless of how one obtains it, enjoy buckboard bacon as a leaner, high protein option with a great texture and no-waste attitude toward food.