We’ve pulled together some of the best ways to enjoy everyone’s favorite
meat right here in Las Cruces
Written by Jessica Muncrief and Carolyn Schmitz
E A T I N
FIVE BACONS TO TRY AT HOME
If you typically buy your bacon pre-packaged from the refrigerated foods aisle, you may be missing out on the best flavor and strips. At the locally-owned Toucan Market, they offer several types of bacon at their deli counter. Not only can you see all the strips (not just that top layer you can see through the little window on packaged bacons), when we went in, Toucan employee Roberto Pastrana was more than happy to explain the flavors and pros of each option.
1. Traditional or Thick Cut
Toucan carries Boar’s Head premium deli meats, and Roberto says you can’t go wrong with their traditional—or better yet, thick cut—bacon. “I’m a bacon and beans type of guy,” he says. “I like just the regular, classic flavors, personally.” He’s particularly fond of the thick-cut version and, when it goes on sale at Toucan, he stocks his home freezer. “Yes, you can freeze bacon,” he adds. “That’s one question I get a lot.”
2. Pecan Wood Smoked
We love our pecans in these parts and what better way to enjoy that rich, nutty flavor than in your favorite breakfast meat? When looking for smoked bacons, make sure it is labeled “hardwood smoked” or better yet, indicates the specific wood it was smoked with: pecan, hickory, mesquite, etc. This means it was actually smoked in a smoker, not just injected with liquid smoke flavoring. Want more fun ways to incorporate pecans into your first meal of the day? Turn to page 13.
3. Applewood Smoked
Applewood smoked bacons have a slightly sweet tinge to them. It is sometimes mistaken for maple-flavored bacon, but the fruity notes are much more subtle. The nuances between various flavors of smoked bacon are often that, just hints and notes of a specific taste or aroma. Sound like a wine tasting? Well, it is very comparable. Most likely, only true bacon connoisseurs would be able to identify the specific wood flavor in a blind taste test.
4. Jalapeno Bacon
Spice is always a crowd-pleaser in New Mexico, and Toucan’s jalapeno bacon really hits the mark. We taste-tested it, and while there is a very noticeable heat to it, it’s not so overpowering that only those who like their salsa or enchiladas “hot” would be able to enjoy it. As one of our testers noted, “It’s more flavor than heat. I’d liken it to a mild to very-mild chile.”
Roberto says another question he’s frequently asked is if their bacons are free of nitrates. Most bacons are in fact not, including all the versions in Toucan’s deli counter—and there is some debate as to if this really matters. But for those health-conscious customers who are concerned, Roberto recommends Applegate Naturals brand products, sold right next to the meat counter in the refrigerated aisle. They offer uncured pork and turkey versions that are extremely tasty.
E A T O U T
FOUR LOCAL BACON HOT SPOTS
Like to go out to eat instead? try these four mouthwatering grub hubs to get your bacon on!
Be sure to visit Roberto at the deli counter of locally-owned Toucan Market and ask him about the varieties of bacon available.
1701 E. University Ave.
A BITE OF BELGIUM
Taking bacon dishes to an unexpected level, A Bite of Belgium highlights its renown Liège waffle with bacon and sweet cream, calling it simply Waffles, Bacon and Cream. Beautifully plated, the dish consists of two waffles leaning against a scoop of lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream cheese, and topped with two thick slices of applewood bacon. The dish is garnished with a sprinkling of dried cranberries, mangos and apricots, and finished with a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar. Each bite is like a little cake, with the sweetness of the whipped cream cheese and dried fruit balanced by the saltiness of the bacon.
A Bite of Belgium serves breakfast and lunch. The entire menu is served all day, so if you have a bacon craving but don’t feel like eating sweet food, try the hot turkey sandwich with savory herb and garlic aioli, melted gouda cheese and BACON!
Opens daily at 7am
741 N. Alameda #16
For an abundant helping of full-flavored bacon, visit Old Mesilla Pastry Café, otherwise known as The Shed, and order Eggs Benedict. The dish starts with two toasted English muffin halves layered with several strips of thick, crispy bacon, topped with two eggs poached to perfection, and finished with a buttery hollandaise sauce just like mom used to make.
In addition to The Shed’s traditional Eggs Benedict offering, the chef has spiked the hollandaise with red chile, green chile and Mexican hollandaise (one egg covered with red chile hollandaise and one with green chile hollandaise). Optional ingredients include ham, pork or turkey sausage, brisket, artichoke hearts and mushrooms at an additional charge.
Opens at 7:30am Wednesday-Sunday
810 S. Valley Dr.
LUCHADOR FOOD TRUCK
Unlike some sandwiches where there is a tug-of-war trying to get a moderate sized bite of meat without pulling the whole sandwich apart, the Awesome Andy chicken sandwich, from Luchador Food Truck, is consistently manageable and delicious from start to finish. Chunky bites of buttery-soft grilled chicken marinated in a proprietary sauce with just a bit of a kick, topped with thin-sliced smoky bacon, melted cheddar cheese, and a healthy combo of greens and served on a fresh bakery bun make the Awesome Andy a flavorful favorite from beginning to end.
Luchador owner Ivan Saenz has good reason to be proud of his bacon-covered creations. “We’ve entered contests two years in a row and won first place,” he says.
Luchador Food Truck is at the Farmers’ Markets on Wednesdays and Fridays and at community events such as the regular Food Truck Fiestas.
THE GREEN CHILE PADDY WAGON
The Green Chile Paddy Wagon has made a name for itself as a food truck with flair. Every entrée on its menu is finished with green chile, cheese, and yes, bacon. Without hesitation, owner Patrick Payne announces that his customers’ favorite menu item is the Brisket Melt, which left Food Truck Fiesta patron Rosalie Ramos, “speechless”.
Hearty toasted bread houses a generous portion of slow-cooked beef brisket seasoned with Payne’s own secret sauce, fresh bacon crumbles, cheeses and green chile. In this sandwich, bacon acts as a spice, enhancing the taste of the beef. Payne’s spicy sauce is not overbearing, highlighting rather than masking the terrific natural flavor of the brisket.
Find The Green Chile Paddy Wagon at community events, such as Food Truck Fiesta, as well as at the Farmers’ Market every Wednesday and Saturday.