Marketed as a healthier low-fat option to pork bacon, turkey bacon is made from smoked, chopped, and enhanced turkey.
While it is common knowledge that traditional bacon must be cooked and contains a very high grease content, turkey bacon sometimes appears as though it is cooked.
This has prompted widespread confusion: Is turkey bacon Already Cooked?
Turkey bacon is not completely cooked. It is processed differently than pork bacon, which is why it may seem like it is cooked but it usually has only been cured and smoked before it hits the shelves.
However, it is certainly possible to eat it without cooking it further but it is still recommended to fry the turkey bacon before consumption since it is not completely cooked.
Does Turkey Bacon Arrive Pre-Cooked?
Contrary to public perception, turkey bacon does not arrive pre-cooked.
However, a lot of it is cured, meaning nitrates have been added to lengthen its shelf life.
It can be cooked in a smoker to lend some flavor from aromatic wood, and these two processes collectively make the turkey bacon edible, safe for consumption, and usable.
Consuming bacon like this is also a good option, as it is not technically raw, but it is always advisable to put some extra work into the cooking process.
This is because it may be a bit raw, and frying or cooking it is essential to soften it.
It is somewhat like the oven-based products you find in supermarkets. They are not ready for consumption yet but they have been prepared to an extent to consider them “cooked.“
Like you need to pop those pizzas into the oven, you also need to cook these ‘pre-cooked’ turkey bacon strips to consider them palatable.
Besides refrigerating turkey bacon at all times before cooking it, you can also store turkey bacon in the refrigerator for around 5 days after cooking it.
Does Turkey Bacon Need To Be Deep Fried or Fried?
You can fry the bacon, provided that the turkey bacon has at least been cured. It is advisable to verify the packaging if it has been made edible.
If the bacon has been prepared in a smoker, that just amps up its safety.
If you eat bacon that has not undergone these two processes, you will be putting yourself at risk for foodborne illnesses such as trichinosis, tapeworms, and toxoplasmosis.
Therefore, if you are too tired or lazy to fry it, devour the turkey bacon as is. Since it has been smoked like deli ham, you can use it like any deli meat by placing it cold in a sandwich.
However, this is an acquired taste. To most people, the texture, taste, and coolness of unfried turkey bacon are unpleasant but if you like it, it is completely safe.
What Happens If You Eat Unfried Turkey Bacon?
Eating uncooked pork bacon can expose you to a multitude of bacterial infections such as salmonella, or parasitic infections like trichinellosis.
However, that is not the case with turkey bacon.
Since turkey bacon has endured separate curing and smoking procedures, they have been cooked to an extent that makes them edible.
Although unfried turkey bacon is safe for consumption, that does not mean it is advisable or appetizing.
As explained above, unfried bacon tastes like cardboard, and given the benefits of turkey bacon, you do not want to ruin this meat for yourself.
Fried turkey bacon and unfried bacon taste like two entirely different products. Additionally, if the turkey bacon has not even been defrosted, it is highly inadvisable to eat it without cooking it.
How Do You Cook Turkey Bacon?
There are numerous ways to prepare turkey bacon, depending on your kitchen, mood, and preferences.
While frying it in a skillet is customary, other options include:
- Air fryer
It completely depends on how you want to prepare it.
Given the absence of grease as compared to traditional pork bacon, preparing turkey bacon is very convenient.
Air frying is also simple as it merely requires the simple process of leaving it for 15 minutes. If you are cooking it in a skillet, make sure to turn the bacon every 3 to 2 minutes and adjust the heat whenever necessary to ensure uniform softening.
All these cooking instructions are also available on the packaging of the turkey bacon.
Smoking turkey bacon takes a longer time in the smokehouse than pork bacon, so the protein can be set and tuned properly for you to be able to cut it into slices with ease, precision, and consistency.
How Do You Know If Your Turkey Bacon is Completely Cooked?
Raw meat is bad for your health, whereas overcooked bacon is hard, inedible, and chewy. Therefore, preparing turkey bacon is just not enough.
You need to ascertain whether it is completely cooked for you to be able to enjoy this delicacy.
The perfectly cooked turkey bacon is rich brown in color, appearing crispy on the outside with no visible traces of transparent or pink flesh.
Being able to tell with just a look comes with experience but if you’re frying it for the first few times, following the instructions correctly is the first step.
Preparing bacon strips in a skillet for 8-10 minutes, adequately turning them enough times on each side, should be enough well-done bacon.
If you plan to bake it, 15 minutes at 400 degrees is ideal but for it to be chewy or crispier, you can increase or reduce the time accordingly.
That said, the best way to determine if your turkey bacon is completely cooked is to use a meat thermometer. Without touching the thigh bone, you can check its internal temperature by inserting it close to the bone.
Reasons You Should Eat Turkey Bacon
Given the care with which we are discussing whether turkey bacon arrives cooked and how you cook it, it bears the question: Is turkey bacon even worth it?
Yes! Because it offers several unique advantages that make this product worth any hassle.
For starters, many people cannot consume pork due to various reasons or allergies, or any other reason.
In those cases, this meat product made of chopped and smoked turkey meat that has been cut into strips to resemble pork bacon is a wonderful alternative.
Additionally, it is simple to cook, handle, and prepare due to the minimal levels of grease present in it. However, this absence of grease also limits how crispy your bacon can get.
However, the most important reason why turkey bacon is popular is how healthy it is compared to traditional bacon.
Less grease means less saturated fat content and consequently, 25% fewer calories. This makes it safer for consumption, especially among people trying to cut down on their fat intake.
The fact that it comes with a smoky, salty, and meaty flavor does not hurt the cause either.
The Bottom Line on If Turkey Bacon is Already Cooked
Turkey bacon is an item commonly found in people’s fridges but it should no longer be confusing whether you need to cook it or not.
Since it has undergone curing and smoking, you may consider it pre-cooked to an extent that makes it safe to eat, but this is not enough to completely prepare it for an enjoyable meal.
Once you take the turkey bacon out from your fridge, use any appliance – oven, skillet, air fryer, or microwave – to prepare it for 15 minutes so that its safety is complemented by an exquisite taste that will make this snack your favorite choice of meat.