I realize that I’ve now done three bacon tips in a row. I had really wanted to do a BLT post, and the pre-cooking bacon post came about spontaneously from that. But last week was Christmas, and every Christmas Eve, I make potato soup, which my mother traditionally makes with bacon ends.
So what are bacon ends? Ever notice how every slice of bacon is exactly the same length? Well, the pigs don’t exactly come that way. The butcher (okay, probably a machine) trims the belly to a uniform length before cutting into slices. They don’t look pretty, much when you are cooking bacon to be diced and put in something, bacon ends work just as well as bacon slices.
But they key advantage is that they are cheaper. Demand is a lot lower for bacon ends than for bacon slices. So a 3lb package of bacon ends (they always seem to come in 3lb packages) tends to cost about twice as much as 1 pound of the cheap brands of sliced bacon, or almost the same price as 1 pound of the premium brands! So you can get bacon that tastes absolutely the same for 1/3-2/3 the price simply by getting the end pieces.
So where do you buy bacon ends? Well, for most the the previous decade, they got a little hard to find, but seem to be coming back. You should be able to find them in any decently sized supermarket. I know for a fact that King Soopers and other Kroger-branded stores carry it. If not, you can find it in Sams Club if you know a member to that wholesale club. I would assume that Costco would do the same.