Uncured bacon is one of the most heavily searched terms on Google. We can guess why: Bacon is delicious. But as people become more aware of the negative health effects of industrial cured meats like bacon, they’re seeking natural, real-food alternatives. As a result, they search for uncured bacon.

The FDA defines uncured bacon as bacon without the addition of nitrates or nitrites. Nitrates and nitrites are additives that inhibit bacteria growth and allow manufacturers to keep the bacon on grocery store shelves longer. When bacon is made without nitrates, it must be labeled as uncured. This is misleading because most uncured bacon is still cured, just in a different way.

At Butcher’s Best, we make our own bacon in the store. We cure it using a natural, old-world method. Our curing process does not use nitrates or nitrites. Instead, we use a two-part curing process. First, we use natural sea salt as a curing agent and add light brown sugar to create the perfect balance of salty and sweet. The sea salt makes the bacon resistant to bacteria growth. We then smoke the meat. This is a secondary curing process that adds mouthwatering flavor and also acts as a bacteria inhibitor.

Our bacon is still cured, just not using the misleading FDA definition. We define uncured bacon differently. We understand that people are searching for two things: 1) bacon without harmful additives, like nitrates, and 2) bacon with the protection measures that nitrates provide. We see no reason why this process can’t occur using simple, real, natural ingredients.

The history of curing meats naturally can be traced all the way back to 3,000 B.C. to the Sumerians of Mesopotamia. Salted, dried meats were part of their staple diet. Around 900 B.C., the Greeks began creating salt gardens to supply the large demand for salted and smoked meats and fish. This process is traditionally known as curing.

In 1925, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved nitrites as a curing agent in foods in limited quantities. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about nitrates and nitrites . Studies have indicated that nitrates have the potential to be a cancer agent. It’s also thought that nitrate can damage your blood vessels, leading to the hardening and narrowing of arteries. This leads to heart disease. In addition, it may negatively affect the way your body uses sugar and potentially increase the chance for diabetes.

At Butcher’s Best, our entire philosophy revolves around going back to simpler methods of cooking, butchering meats, and preparing foods like bacon. We’re not looking to squeeze as many days as possible out of a product’s shelf life, and we’re not looking to do things the easy and fast way. By using clean, real, natural ingredients, we can serve our customers prepared foods, meats, and sandwiches that not only taste delicious but also are not harmful to your body. And you can get it all right here in Newtown, CT.