Mmmmm… bacon! Bacon is made by curing any of several different parts of a pig with salt; American bacon is almost always made with pork belly, while other parts of the world use side and back cuts of the pig. There are different varieties, cuts and further processing styles but however you work it, bacon is deeelicious.

 

Bacon is chock full of natural umami (one of the five basic flavors) and has the ability to grab our taste buds like no other food can. It's meaty, savory and seems to speak to the primitive part of our brain that remembers catching and roasting wild pigs by the cave fire.

 

The popularity of bacon has exploded in recent years with a proliferation of bacon recipes, stories about bacon-themed parties, and bacon-themed memes popping up all over the interwebs. People are making bacon vodka, dipping it in chocolate, wrapping it around everything from hot dogs to Twinkies, and even frying it up like chicken (um, yum!).

 

At this point I should mention that there is nothing healthy about bacon. It's fatty fat fat fat and, at least in the case of conventionally produced cuts, comes full of a barrage of preservatives and curing agents. Still, it’s stupidly tasty. Like anything that's really fun, bacon is best handled in moderation. Here are six bacon-infused things that are too yummy to ignore.

 

Bacon toothpaste

This might be the only toothpaste that would be OK to use before drinking orange juice. Bacon toothpaste is made by Archie McPhee and is available for the reasonable cost of $4.50 per tube. It promises to "keep your teeth and gums healthy while coating your mouth with the delicious flavor of smoky meat!"

 

My only worry when it comes to bacon toothpaste is that I'd get hungry for the real deal after brushing. Late-night bacon is a yummy treat best left infrequent.

 

Bacon salt

The first time I tried bacon salt I knew that I would never allow myself to own it; it's too delicious. It's bacon flavor — which, as we've established, rocks — and salt, which is equally worthy of praise in the realm of food garnishment. The folks at Bacon Salt do helpfully point out that their product is a "zero calorie, zero fat, vegetarian and kosher seasoning that makes everything taste like bacon."

 

That's a dangerous product right there- something that can make everything taste like bacon that everyone, regardless of their religious affiliations, can eat. The possibilities boggle the mind: bacon-flavored asparagus spears, bacon-flavored pickles, bacon-flavored tomato slices, or bacon-flavored oatmeal. Bacon-flavored pork chops. Or you can go really meta and eat some bacon-flavored bacon.

 

Bacon wrapped hot dog

Farmer John, a meat company based in Southern California that provides hot dogs to most of the stadiums in that part of the country, pushed to have the bacon wrapped hot dog recognized as the official hot dog of the city of Los Angeles and found 52,559 other people who agree. Its successful campaign resulted in L.A. City Councilman James LaBonge issuing the proclamation on Nov. 18, 2010, making the deadly (tasty) combination the official city dog.

 

Bacon wrapped hot dogs are great because they're easy to make at home and fairly cheap to throw together. Add some onions, mustard, ketchup and maybe a dash of hot sauce and you have yourself a sloppy handful of awesome. Eat up!

 

Bacon cupcakes

Unless you're lucky enough to live near a progressively minded bakery, you're probably going to have to put in a little bit of work if you want to sample the splendor that is the bacon cupcake. There are myriad recipes for bacon infused cupcakes to be found on the web, but I'm particular to the one for chocolate bacon cupcakes with caramel frosting found over at the Beantown Baker. The cupcakes are great (I spent an afternoon making them), with the bacon contrasting wonderfully with the chocolate cake and caramel buttercream frosting.

 

Maple-bacon lollipops

Now here is a real man’s man’s lollipop. Not to discount the legions of female bacon lovers out there, but there's something really macho about eating a sweet little dollop of bacon-flavored sugar on the end of a stick. Grrrr…

 

Maple-bacon lollipops from Lollyphile are actually made with bacon salt, which we talked about a few items up on our list. The sweetness of the maple is a wonderful compliment to the saltiness of the bacon. Bacon lollipops aren't exactly cheap — four pops will set you back $5, though you save more if you buy in bulk — but come on, does price really matter? These are bacon lollipops we're talking about here. Bacon lollipops.

 

Bacon beer

This is great for the guy who prefers not to waste calories on solids during a long day o' drinking. Bacon beer can be made a few ways. Brooklyn Brewery brew master Garrett Oliver used an advanced technique borrowed from the fragrance industry to transfer the aroma from the pork fat to a liquid that could be incorporated into his small batch of brew. Fat is a no-no when it comes to beer. Oren Combs, former brewer and general manager at San Juana Brewing Co. in Friday Harbor, Wash., baked his bacon in the oven to strain off the fat before dry hopping his beer in tanks along with the oven-dried bacon. If you're not the homebrewing type you can take an easier route and create bacon bourbon that you can then add to your beer of choice.

 

RELATED ON MNN: 5 outrageous bacon creations

 

Click for photo credits

Photo credits:

Salt: ex.libris/Flickr

Hot dog: Farmer John

Cupcake: Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake/Flickr

Lollipop: kellybelly/Flickr

Beer: Jupiterimages