Evidence that bacon is less of a fad and more of a deeply ingrained cultural motif comes in the form of bacon salt. If we can’t have our bacon, at least we can make other things taste like bacon. The problem is that the flavor in bacon salt has almost nothing to do with actual cured and smoked pork belly, according to Savory Spice co-founder Mike Johnston. “The bacon salt craze came around and we had a lot of requests at the store,” explains Johnston, who owns the company with his wife, Karen. “It’s something I would normally jump right on, but most of them are made with artificial bacon flavor.”
So the idea of a pork-infused seasoning was set aside — until Johnston embarked on a six-week road trip covering America’s barbecue country. After visiting some ninety barbecue joints from North Carolina to Texas and points in between, he couldn’t stop thinking about the crispy pork rinds — often called chicharrones — served with hot-pepper vinegar at whole-hog smokehouses in the Carolinas. That’s when the idea of making chicharron salt hit him, and he set out to create a seasoning that would capture the tangy, spicy and porky flavors he remembered from his barbecue adventure.
The Chicharron Salt comes with a few ideas for how to best use it.
The first hurdle to clear was with the USDA, since Johnston planned on using real pork rinds for his product, not artificial flavors. He got the go-ahead from the government with the understanding that Savory would be purchasing ground chicharrones rather than making and processing meat products at the company’s warehouse.
From there, he produced a small batch and sent a sample to Colorado State University for…
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