Steven Busch Ranch (Oakland, OR, near Roseburg) produces this Smoked Bacon from the Pork Belly portion of their hogs, and in conjunction with Taylor Sausage (Cave Junction, OR).
Why are we calling it “Pork Belly”? Is there a difference between “pork belly bacon” and other kinds of bacon? According to rancher Steve, there is.
The bacon cut from the pork belly, or fleshy underside of the pig, is also known as “streaky pork bacon”. It is technically pork belly, but pork belly isn’t necessarily bacon. Often when encountering “pork belly” what you’re getting is the whole slab cut from the fleshy underside of a pig. Streaky pork bacon is cut from this slab. Bacon can also be sourced from the back, collar, shoulder, and jowls.
In the U.S., pork bacon is commonly salt-cured, brined or smoked. Oftentimes, the bacon featured most prominently at the grocery store contains unhealthy compounds like nitrates and nitrites for color and extended shelf-life. Locally-sourced bacon, on the other hand, rarely contains these compounds.
The Steven Busch Ranch raises a heritage breed known as “American Guinea Hog”, from which this bacon is produced. The American Guinea is a small, black breed of swine that is unique to the United States. Also known as the Pineywoods Guinea, Guinea Forest Hog, Acorn Eater, and Yard Pig, the breed was once the most numerous pig breed found on homesteads in the Southeast.
According to the American Guinea Hog Association, this breed produces superior pork:
- Unparalleled Flavor, Texture, and Quality
- The Fat is a Creamy, Melt-in-Your-Mouth Delight
- Mature Hogs (15+ months of age) Provide a Nice, Well-Marbled Carcass
- The Muscle-to-Fat Ratio Is Ideal for Charcuterie
Want to know more? Visit this site for the story behind the breed: Why Raise American Guinea Hogs?
Ingredients: pork, water, sea salt, contains 2% or less of the following: sugar, brown sugar, honey powder (cane sugar, honey), cultured celery powder, cherry powder. Contains NO MSG, Nitrates or Nitrites.