How To Make Bacon Bits

Everything’s better with bacon. Everything. But there’s a better bacon than bacon …

Wait! Come back, I’m not crazy!

Okay, now what I was trying to say before you started laughing and walking away, is that there’s a better bacon than bacon … for making bacon bits.


(Good ingredient list, huh?)


If you’re familiar with your meat maps and your various cuts and preparations, you know that bacon is smoked pork belly while prosciutto is dry cured ham. Prosciutto is normally sliced very thin, and eaten raw or wrapped around other foods and baked.

The other thing to know about prosciutto is that it tends to cost anywhere from $10-$18 per pound. So am I completely crazy making bacon bits out of it? Nope, because I buy the prosciutto ends. That’s the pieces from the end that are too small to slice well. That one-pound chunk you see above was about $3.

Making bacon bits is juts a matter of grinding it and frying it. Unless you’ve got a large, heavy-duty grinder, that’s a lot easier if you slice it into small chunks and freeze it first. So, cut about an inch thick, turn 90 degrees and cut again, then one more turn and cut the third way.

That’s so the pieces will get pulled into the screw on the grinder.

Then spread the chunks out on wax paper on a baking sheet and put it in the freezer for an hour or so.

Frozen meat slices easier, rather than squishing around and extruding out the end.

Once it’s frozen, feed it through the grinder.

It will look like long strands of meat, but it’s actually lots of little bits that are slightly stuck to each other.

Once they hit the frying pan they’ll separate without any special effort, as you can see in the next photo.
Or you would see it if the battery in my camera hadn’t died right then. That’s what I get for trying to cook the night after my daughter does a sleep-over for her birthday. (Happy birthday honey!) My wife and I were shooting pictures of that until about a half-hour before I started working on dinner. Apparently that’s not enough recharge time. Oops. So I’ll just describe it.

UPDATE! 9/30/08 I just made some more of these and got the shots. I used a non-stick, instead of the uncoated pan I’m describing below. Otherwise the process is the same.

Get a plain, uncoated pan really hot and add the ground-up prosciutto. No oil, no butter, no fat, nothing. There’s enough fat on the prosciutto.

Leave it alone until you hear it start to sizzle then give it a stir. Now stay with it and stir every minute or so until everything is crispy.

If you get a really close trim, like this one, there might not be very much melted fat left at all. If yours has a bit too much grease when it’s done cooking, turn it out into a plate with two paper towels on it to drain for a minute. Then transfer to a serving bowl and set out with the other salad toppings.

And that’s it.

Still to come this week, more toppings, a trendy presentation, and a very classic dinner to go with it. Sign up with the form at the top right to get everything as soon as it’s posted.

Bacon Bits

Bacon Bits


  • ~1 pound prosciutto, solid chunk (not sliced)


Dice the prosciutto into one-inch chunks. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and freeze for about one hour.

Pass the frozen chunks through a meat grinder with a coarse plate on it.

Fry the ground prosciutto in a dry skillet until browned. Don't try for the crispy texture you get from “bacon bits” in a jar. Those aren't made from bacon, but from textured soy protein.

Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Remember, these are made from real food. The stuff in the jar will keep for months, which means they're so bad when they're fresh that even six months of getting stale won't make them worse than they already are.