Smoking, or curing some foods is known to make them suitable for healthy and safe consumption, even though the meat is essentially left uncooked in this process.
So, no, smoked bacon is not cooked.
In fact, it needs to be cooked thoroughly before being eaten, unlike foods like salmon.
We agree that there is a certain temptation to eat raw bacon right out of its package, but it’s neither safe nor recommended.
It’s true that a lot of people have tried and consumed raw bacon and have not instantly fallen sick after it, but that doesn’t mean that it’s healthy to continue to do so.
However, this also doesn’t mean that all packaged and smoked bacon is uncooked, some brands offer fully cooked bacon as well – all you need to do is read the instructions on the package to see how to go about eating it.
Does Smoked Bacon Need to be Cooked?
Most of the brands that offer packaged bacon have only smoked it at a relatively low temperature, causing it to be cured rather than cooked.
Although the process of curing does help preserve some foods to an extent that they can be consumed without any health risk, the same cannot be said about bacon.
Bacon is smoked only to help take out its natural, rich flavor, and give it a little longer shelf life. As for the danger of pathogens, it is the same as when the bacon is unsmoked.
So, yes! Smoked bacon needs to be cooked before it can be eaten, otherwise, it would be as if you’re consuming purely raw bacon – no one wants that, right?
Smoking bacon is done at such a low temperature for a small-time that it barely kills many bacteria in it. And to destroy them yourself, you’ll have to cook or fry the bacon.
Bacon can be cooked within just 3 to 6 minutes. So you don’t even have to go through a hard and long process to achieve what’s good for your health.
The only way to ensure that you’re not eating bacon that will cause you to fall sick sooner or later, is by cooking it yourself. Unless of course, the package states otherwise!
How Do I Know that I Have Fully Cooked my Bacon?
Undercooked bacon is not a common concern. This is because bacon cooks so fast that there is little to no risk of you accidentally not fully cooking your bacon.
Since bacon slices are rather thin, they can be fried within a few minutes. However, if you’re dealing with thicker slices, then we do recommend that they are fried a little longer than usual.
Even if you do somehow end up with a little raw center on a slice, this is where the smoked bacon’s curing saves you and doesn’t hold any health risks for you!
If you want your bacon strips to be soft, you should let them fry in their own fat for about 1 to 2 minutes, until you see their color changing into a golden-brown shade.
If you prefer crispy bacon strips, then just let them fry for a minute longer, making your frying period about 2 to 3 minutes. As soon as you see foamy bubbles being formed, you’ll know that your bacon is ready to eat.
What Happens if You Eat Raw Smoked Bacon?
Raw smoked bacon is the same as raw bacon that has not been smoked. Smoking simply ensures a rich flavor in the bacon, and does nothing to make it suitable for healthy consumption.
This is because the low temperature at which bacon is smoked for a small period is only enough to kill very little harmful pathogens that preserve it for a little longer. It doesn’t kill many bacteria that can then later cause serious illnesses in you.
For instance, it can cause food poisoning through many pathogens, worsen the health of people with a compromised immune system through toxoplasmosis, and even lead to stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and other concerns, through tapeworms and roundworms.
Bacon is never safe to consume without cooking thoroughly. The only time you can eat smoked bacon right out of its package is if the brand you are purchasing has pre cooked and fully prepared the bacon before delivering it to you.
Such fully cooked bacon only needs to be reheated for 15 seconds for soft strips and 60 seconds for crispy strips. However, many experts say that pre cooked bacon does not taste as good as the bacon that you freshly prepare yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do You Eat Smoked Bacon?
Remember that bacon is smoked to kill some bacteria in it in order to make its shelf life longer, not to cook it.
This means that smoked bacon still has a lot of bacteria that could make you seriously ill. Therefore, the only right way to eat smoked bacon is by cooking it yourself.
Is Smoked Meat Already Cooked?
Smoked meat is not cooked, rather cured to preserve it and make its shelf life longer.
However, some meats are safe to consume when only smoked, as the smoking temperature kills most of the dangerous pathogens in them.
The same cannot be said about smoked bacon, which further needs to be cooked to rightfully destroy all harmful bacteria.
But sometimes the packaged, smoked bacon is fully cooked and prepared, and can be eaten right out of the package, you just need to check what you’re purchasing!
Wrapping it Up
Smoked or not, raw bacon is not safe to consume and can lead to many serious illnesses.
Unless your bacon comes pre cooked, you need to cook it yourself to ensure that you don’t contract any harmful bacterial diseases.