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Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
Bacon on 08/01/2012 09:02:36 MDT Print View

Anybody take home-cooked and dehydrated bacon on the trail (Sierras) for a couple of weeks? Or maybe home-cooked and packed in some of the bacon fat (confit)? I've seen the threads about manufactured "shelf-stable" bacon but we are out of time for mail-ordering things.


Duane Hall
(PKH) - M

Locale: Nova Scotia
Bacon on 08/01/2012 09:15:20 MDT Print View

You may not have to order the stuff. Pre-cooked bacon (at least in Canada) is available in most supermarkets. I find it hard to believe this would not be so in the USA. The stuff is remarkably good, and it takes just a few seconds to cook.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Bacon on 08/01/2012 09:20:54 MDT Print View

I use the pre-cooked, unrefrigerated bacon all the time. Usually make sure we eat the whole package the day it is opened. Cheapest at Sam's Club.


Edited by skinewmexico on 08/01/2012 09:22:51 MDT.

j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Bacon on 08/01/2012 09:23:54 MDT Print View

We use a huge bag of the costco brand. Remarkably good and stable for at least a week.

Onion bacon bread, bacon pancakes, bacon everything, handful of bacon. mmmmm

Here it is*&lang=en-US

Edited by justaddfuel on 08/01/2012 09:25:18 MDT.

Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
Bacon on 08/01/2012 09:44:11 MDT Print View

Thanks, I'll see if I can find the shelf-stable locally. (I am not a Costco member but there may be other places.) Sounds like the most practical option.

Otherwise I may just try cooking up the bacon, running it through the dehydrator, and packing it in some of its fat to exclude air. (Picked up this recommendation on the John Muir Trail yahoo list.) If I have to do this I'll report back in a few weeks, how it went.


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Bacon on 08/01/2012 09:52:21 MDT Print View

Go to the salad dressing aisle - the small bags of pre-cooked bacon are hidden there, with the salad toppings. Also, look in the meat section (the fresh meat). Often there will be a small display of bacon and pepperoni. Same with looking next to the packaged deli meat and raw bacon - stores stick the pre-cooked in odd spots.

Heather Hohnholz
(Hawke) - M
Bacon on 08/01/2012 10:12:02 MDT Print View

You don't have to cook the bacon before dehydrating it. See bacon jerky here:

Works great, and is reasonably stable for a short period of time (I'd give it a week). Dehydrating the bacon cooks it, so no point in doing double duty. I would also guess that if you cooked your bacon to well done, it would be relatively shelf stable for a week or so. If you're going to make bacon jerky, I recommend thick-cut bacon.

I've used the shelf stable stuff, and I can find it in any of the supermarkets here (Safeway, King Soopers, Albertsons, WalMart).

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Bacon on 08/01/2012 11:04:35 MDT Print View

The guy in the link said he dehydrated the bacon for 12 hrs at 70 degrees. Was that 70 degC (158 degF)? I find it hard to believe 70 degF is adequate.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
temps for drying bacon on 08/01/2012 11:11:14 MDT Print View

Elliot... I would imagine it was Celsius as my dehydrator doesn't even go that low (I don't think it does anyway). 70°F is basically room temperature.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
bacon, trichinosis, and dehyrating on 08/01/2012 20:02:47 MDT Print View

Just be aware that the CDC statement on safe preparation of pork states: "Curing (salting), drying, smoking, or microwaving meat does not consistently kill infective worms."
Trichinosis is no fun.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Bacon - yum on 08/01/2012 20:23:28 MDT Print View

Pre cooked bacon is excellent. I have taken it on many trips. I also will take th real pre cooked bacon bits to mix in with Mac and cheese or mashed potatoes. Bacon.....yum.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Off the shelf. on 08/02/2012 00:26:13 MDT Print View

Not only is the store bought stuff shelf-stable but I strongly suspect it is a fair bit cheaper than preparing your own. Con-Agra and Hormel buy pork for much less than we can. Here at 60N, the same is true of applesauce and canned tomatoes - they are cheaper than fresh. I'm not saying better, just that I don't fret about the price on some prepared foods versus homemade.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Trichinosis on 08/02/2012 05:13:54 MDT Print View

Yeah, as others have said, there can be problems for drying pork. Bacon was traditionally salt cured to prevent/slow down spoilage. Like beef jerkey, and other preserved foods (generally now refered to as lunch meats) it should be safe against spoilage IFF properly inspected and cured. However, trichinosis is resistant to most of that. And, it can be transmitted through beef, venison, bear, etc. After curing to prevent spoilage, it still needs to be cooked. These are two separate and distinct processes, though usually combined.

Here is a chart on killing trichinosis I got from wikopedia:
Trichinosis kill temps

Note that this is INTERNAL temp of the meat, not cooking temp. Another rule of thumb is to just remember 165F as a safe number rather than the typical curve. Freezing does NOT reliably kill trichinosis (one type only, not the worst.) Generally, well done is the easiest to be safe.

The term measly is used to describe meats infected with trichinosis worms/cycts, though it can also be used for maggots on meat.

I prefer to carry bacon uncooked on the trail. So, caloric density is not that high, due to water weight, about 100-140 C/oz. Drying bacon is difficult due to the high fat content. The fats after frying (or trying)are very tasty for cooking fish(a source of tape worms,) eggs, in soups & stews and wrapped around hot dogs(pan broiled,) in beans, et al. Cholesterol is high, but I believe that this is only a symptom of somthing else going on in your body and only a secondary cause of heart disease and plaques. . .debatable. Anyhow, I believe working it off while hiking causes no real problems.

Edited by jamesdmarco on 08/02/2012 05:44:44 MDT.

Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
uncooked on 08/02/2012 07:11:01 MDT Print View

>I prefer to carry bacon uncooked on the trail.

James, How long does bacon keep uncooked on the trail? We are looking at 2 weeks in the Sierras.



James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: uncooked on 08/02/2012 08:28:35 MDT Print View

"James, How long does bacon keep uncooked on the trail? We are looking at 2 weeks in the Sierras."

Well, this depends. Modern bacon does not contain quite as much salt as it used to traditionally. So, there are several methodes that will work. Usually my trips are somehat less than two weeks out, though.

Open a package and liberaly salt each slice before placing it in another baggie. Generally I have no problems with this up to a week or ten days so, I am guessing it would last about two weeks or longer. Cooking still needs to be done, of course.

Salt solutions (in bacon, ham, corned beef, etc,) do the preserving. The goal is about 15-20% salt to meat. Bacon has already been preserved, as is ham, and corned beef. Adding more is just insuring the manufacturors did the job corectly. Try to find bacon, salt pork or ham that has no BHA or nitrates in them. In every case the fats are valuable energy sources on the trail and largly ofset the weight of water they contain. Fats do not dry well...salt prevents them from becoming rancid so you can use this methode, too.

Sausages, pepperoni, salami, etc are pre-cooked. Again, cooking and preserving are two distinct processes.

Paraified butter, olive oil, even bacon grease can also be bottled and carried to add to cooking. I usually look for salt while hiking, since I sweat it out. So, adding lots to foods is normal. Dried beef is often too salty, but small amounts of this taste real good. Protiens are a bit more difficult, but preserving meats seems to pull the protiens (at least some of them) out making them a bit easier to digest.

Suggest you look up preserving meats, pickling, and canning methodes. (You can do canning with boiled vacuume bags for the trail.) All these methodes will last for at least two weeks. Drying (dehydrating) is also good, but another sibject. Pickling, in particular, is salt based preservation. Often vinegar (spoiled wine) is added.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Bacon on 08/02/2012 10:57:16 MDT Print View

I went through the web site and he indeed did dry the bacon at 70 degF for about 24 hours. Another person got good results at 95 degF for 20 hours. They believe that the initial curing/preservation plus long, slow drying is adequate health-wise. I'm a bit dubious...

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: RE: Bacon on 08/02/2012 13:51:59 MDT Print View

Sounds like he is living dangerously. Most western countries you can get away with it, but... Neither temp is fatal to trichonosis worms.

j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Bacon on 08/03/2012 15:06:55 MDT Print View

Less than 5 cases of trichinellosis reported in the US every year, are you really worried about this? I would worry about hypothermia and dehydration. Keyboard warriors are the biggest health threat in history.

j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Re: Bacon on 08/03/2012 15:09:42 MDT Print View

Even if you are diagnosed it is a simple surgical cure, much unlike lymes, dengue, malaria, carpal tunnel....

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Bacon on 08/03/2012 17:33:53 MDT Print View

"Less than 5 cases of trichinellosis reported in the US every year, are you really worried about this? I would worry about hypothermia and dehydration. Keyboard warriors are the biggest health threat in history."

I don't worry about it at all. I cook my pork. If we all decided to do pork at 70F for 24 hours I wonder how that number would change? The point is, I do not need to get the disease if I know how to prevent it. I don't need to become hypothermic because I know how to dress myself. I do not need to become dehydrated, because I know enough to drink water.

Ben H.
(bzhayes) - F

Locale: So. California
Re: RE: Bacon on 08/06/2012 12:09:39 MDT Print View

95°F sounds like a pretty optimal temperature to grow bugs harmful to humans. Maybe they should try 98.7°F for 19.5 hours next time, just to really get the bacteria count up.

Heather Toyne
(heathert) - F
Re: Re: Re: Bacon on 08/23/2012 22:16:38 MDT Print View

"simple surgical cure"

Yes, trichinosis is quite rare, but get your facts straight before you tell people that they are being ridiculous for following CDC recommendations. In heavy infestations it can cause encephalitis, myocarditis and even death. Surgery does not cure inflammation of the heart or brain. Trichinosis is not just a gastrointestinal illness, it is a serious disorder.

I would become a vegetarian if undercooked pork was my only choice in meat.

See and

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Bacon on 08/23/2012 22:34:49 MDT Print View

70F is room temperature.
Bacterial, mold, worms, pretty much everything grows well at this temperature.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
lustful on 08/24/2012 08:34:39 MDT Print View

Man, all this bacon talk has me fantasizing about busting out some of that Costco pre-cooked, 3 days into a Sierra trip. Would a mini-riot ensue? Does this now mean I *do* need that Rambo knife in my kit?

Then, there's the thick cut bacon jerky idea. OMG, as they say. Hmmm.

One thing though with the Trichinosis and CDC references: "Successful trichinae control programs by the U.S. pork industry have nearly eliminated the disease in domestic swine raised in confinement" (CDC) and all the reported cases in the last 5 years have been from meats outside the commercial pork industry, ie wild pigs, fish and such. In the USA, big corporate has taken care of the trichina worm. Ergo, you might go to New York City and order "Bacon Tartare" from Bobby Flay. Things do change.

j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Bacon on 08/24/2012 10:44:06 MDT Print View

I have eaten rare pork a number of times at fine dining establishments. I am not saying trichinosis is a laughing matter, I know I am putting myself at risk eating it. I am also putting myself at risk eating taco bell, fresh mayo, cookie dough, lettuce and scores of other food products. It is just not high on my radar due to the quality of pork I am eating.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Bacon on 08/24/2012 19:53:00 MDT Print View

Can't have a bacon thread without a link to Jim Gaffigan's bacon routine:

Edited by rlnunix on 08/24/2012 20:16:31 MDT.

Heather Hohnholz
(Hawke) - M
Dehydrating temp on 08/25/2012 19:16:27 MDT Print View

When I did mine, I did it at "meat" temp on my Excalibur, which is listed as 155. As I recall, it took somewhere around 12 hours. I could be misremembering. I remember that it took way longer than I wanted it to & I had to smell delicious bacon the whole time. I also remember that the rendered fat made a huge mess in the bottom of the dehydrator. I recommend putting some kind of drip tray in the bottom.

Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
bacon report on 08/29/2012 13:08:27 MDT Print View

Well! We are back from our trip. I'll post a trip report later, no time now. On the bacon. I ended up using what I had already, the fresh bacon. Dredged each strip in salt, packed meal portions (3 people at the beginning of the trip, a planned 5 people for the latter part) along with bags of dried eggs, for some of the breakfasts. Heavy because the bacon wasn't dehydrated. In camp, a hassle because I had to rinse the extra salt off the bacon before cooking, and then there was bacon-fatty-salty rinse water to dispose of in bear country. Not ideal. But the bacon, after cooking, was perfectly fresh tasting, if a little saltier than usual, delicious, and a welcome treat after a few days on the trail. By the time we ate the last batch, it had been out of refrigeration for about 3 weeks.


Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Bacon on 12/06/2012 12:58:11 MST Print View

The United States of Bacon is a new TV show highlighting ..... bacon!

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
TURKEY BACON on 12/21/2012 18:28:15 MST Print View

I microwave turkey bacon (Oscar Meyer) and pat grease off it with a paper towel.

Then I put it in a freezer bag to keep critters from getting a stron whiff of it at night. Bacon like this keeps for a week W/O a 'fridge and is great mixed with freeze dried omlettes.