How to Make Homemade Imitation Bacon - Recipe
How to Make Imitation Bacon
Learn how to make Imitation Bacon with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.
What Is Imitation Bacon?
Imitation Bacon is any meat that has been ground and seasoned with Imitation Bacon Seasoning, then formed into a loaf and cooked or smoked. You can use Beef, Wild Game, Poultry or even just leaner cuts of pork. Today we are going to be showing you how to make three different types out of Turkey, Leaner Pork and Beef. Rather than a whole muscle product, our imitation bacon will be a ground and formed product. We are going to be making this out of three different types of meat.
2 lb of Ground Beef
2 lb of Ground Pork
4 lb of Ground Turkey
If you are using low fat wild game make sure you have at least 20% beef or pork fat
Our process is going to be very similar for all of these other than the amount of fat that we are going to be adding, or not adding. If you are making this out of whole muscle you need to grind your lean product twice through a 1/8" plate and your fat once through a 3/16" plate. We have some 80/20 ground beef here and some fatty ground pork as well so we are starting out with an already ground product on these. For the Turkey we just stopped by the store and picked up some 85/15 lean to fat ratio pre-ground turkey to make turkey bacon. We’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating, whether you are making Bratwursts or Snack Sticks or whatever, there is nothing wrong with picking up a previously ground product at the store and starting from there if you don’t have a grinder. You won’t have as much control over the entire process but you can still get a great tasty product by doing this.
We have measured all of this out for 2 lb batches, so we have .075 lb (1.2 oz) of the seasoning (which already includes our cure), 4.8 oz of water and .16 oz of smoked meat stabilizer. We are adding smoked meat stabilizer because we don’t want to wait overnight for the cure to work in the meat, basically we are hungry and we want to cook it immediately!
So we are going to mix all of this until we have protein extraction and the meat is nice and sticky. With a mixer, this would take about 5 minutes, but since we are doing such small batches we need to do this by hand, so it will just take as long as it takes.
Once you have it all mixed you can put it in 2 lb foil pans or form a loaf on a cooking sheet. We used the foil pans just because it was a little easier
Thermal Processing & Smoking
Stage 1 - 120° for 1 hour
Stage 2 - 140° for 1 hour
Stage 3 - 175° until internal temperature is 160°
Once it is done cooking you can either cut it with a knife and eat right away or you can allow it to cool down and then use a slicer to get a more traditional bacon look. Either way is fine, we’ve just been cooking this all day and don’t want to wait any longer. For the best results, slice the imitation bacon, and pan fry just like normal bacon. It will crisp up great and have a taste very similar to traditional bacon!
While all of these are ready to eat at this point the best way to get a true bacon taste is to cook them in a pan or oven to the point where they are crisp before serving or using them in a recipe.
- If you want to get real fancy with your imitation bacon, and start with whole muscle meat and grind it yourself, you can keep the lean meat separated from the fat to layer the lean and fat meat and truly create a more bacon looking product. We will be simply combining it all together, so we won’t get that separate and visible distinction between the lean and fat particles, so it won’t look as close to normal bacon.
Watch WaltonsTV: How to Make Imitation Bacon
I made a 2lb batch of both turkey and beef imitation bacon. I followed the online recipie exactly. It seems rubbery. The only thing I can see that may be different is I sliced it as thin as I could with a Sharp knife. I also used a kitchen aid mixer to mix in the seasoning and get to the protein extraction stage.I am wondering if I mixed it to long causing it to become rubbery?
@sierrapete Is it rubbery before you cook it in a pan or oven? If you followed our directions and then did not finish it up by cooking it like you would cook packaged bacon then yes, I can see how it might have a rubber texture. It’s possible that you mixed it too much but in my mind it’s more likely that pan frying or baking it in the oven would fix your issue.
Let me know if you already did finish the bacon off in the pan or oven and we can go from there to see what else might have happened.
SierraPete last edited by SierraPete
Kind of rubbery prior to frying up in my go to cast iron skillet. I fried some up and it wasn’t bad. Even though I sliced as thin as I could with a really sharp knife I think a slicer would give a uniform thickness to avoid this.
Pre-cook of imitation bacon and final product browning up. Turkey is the lighter loaf, beef is the darker one and in the skillet.
@sierrapete How was the taste on the turkey? When we did it I thought it was a great way to use some extra turkey but didn’t think it tasted as good as the pork. Now that is sort of obvious but I am curious about your thoughts on the taste of it?
@jonathon I got through my pack of beef bacon and opened the turkey. I think the flavor was better. Definitely leaner. It definitely has a different texture than the beef. I didn’t do pork, but now have something else to make.
@sierrapete Thanks for the information, maybe my taste buds were just off from eating too much of the bacon made from beef and pork first!
JSmokedfoods last edited by
Can I make Salmon Bacon with this recipe?
@JSmokedfoods In theory yes, you should be able to do this, however I have never tried it with fish and I don’t know if you are going to be able to get enough protein extraction during the mixing process. My thought is that you would be able to but the water content is probably high enough that you would have to do some experimenting and I am almost sure you would need to add a Binder like Sure Gel or Soy Protein Blend. If you try it please let us know if it worked out or not!
I will be using the Imitation Bacon #2 Seasoning. If I am NOT using the Smoke Meat Stabilizer, how long do I need to allow the mean to “cure” before I cook or smoke it?
@srtcanopy If you hold it overnight or about 12 hours, then it will be perfectly fine! I wouldn’t hold it too much longer than 18 or so.
Thank you @jonathon! Appreciate your prompt response.! I have 4 pounds of beef, 4 pounds of turkey, and two pounds of 50/50 beef and turkey on the smoker now! Perfect amount to use up 1 package of the bacon seasoning. I loafed them on a foil wrapped grate on the smoker (poked holes in the foil and seemed to work fine). I was a little worried that the turkey only would not hold up to a block but it seemed to do fine.
Imitation Bacon??? Austin and Jonathan, you guys have too much time on your hands. Why not buy that good 'ol pork belly and make real bacon! Bacon is easy and tastes fantastic with your pre-packaged seasoning and cure. Plus, it’s REAL BACON. REAL. The only reason to make “imitation bacon” from beef or turkey is, IMHO, for a dietary or religious prohibition against pork; otherwise, go REAL!
@gadahl SHHH dont tell anyone I have too much time on my hands, ESPECIALLY Austin, as far as he is concerned I am 100% busy at ALL TIMES!
I actually just made some dry rubbed bacon for our Cured Whole Muscle Section of the new Meatgistics University! Videos for all the Meatgistics University classes are going live this Monday around 4 pm CST. If you are free join us at waltonsinc.com/live for a live stream where we will being giving away a stuffer, some Waltons hats, some discount codes and we will also be giving out a coupon code so everyone gets something!
@srtcanopy Out of all the imitation we made I think Turkey was my favorite in that it was unique, the ham and beef tasted VERY close to normal bacon, the turkey tasted like something else. I really liked it…speaking of that I have some in my freezer!
@jonathon the turkey definitely saves on a few calories and the fat content. I think that my favorite is the 50/50 beef/turkey. Less saturated fat than the “real” bacon out of pork belly. I use a wet cure for my pork belly and it takes a few days. The ease of using the imitation seasoning puts a good tasting product in the freezer very quickly. I’m not sure much more smoke flavor I actually got out of using hickory chips in the smoker. It may be just as easy and just as tasty to put the meat loaves in the oven. I may try that as the weather gets colder.
Thanks for site and the tips.
@newbe … Afternoon… Keep the meat BELOW 40 degrees F… Bacteria is growing while the meat is warming up… then again when cooling down… The LAST thing you want or need is a batch of meat that has been warm for an hour or longer… One good way to do that is double bowl the meat… Ice in the larger bowl and the smaller bowl, with the meat in it, on ice… You don’t want your family to get food poisoning… Dave
I do it all the time. Still remember my mom saying it’s not a good idea. I’m sure if you are buying a nice steak and intend it eat it as a grilled T-bone you might notice some flesh cell break down (texture change). If you are going to use it in sausage you will not notice any difference. Made brats last night. Once frozen pork and elk. Refroze the brats. I do it time and time again.
Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.
Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??
Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your input. Pulling the meat at 152 will make a big difference I bet! Thanks again.