Bacon Pemmican – The Ultimate Paleo Travel Food

by Steven Wright

Bacon Pemmican

Pemmican has never tasted this good!

Bacon really does make anything better and this Bacon Pemmican recipe will change the way you travel.

Pemmican is the original travel food of our ancestors.  Developed by the Native Americans, it quickly spread to the European fur trappers and ended up being one of the main food sources for Arctic and Antarctic explorers.

Traditionally, pemmican was made with a 1:1 protein to fat ratio.  In those days, it was created with large game meats like elk, buffalo and deer that were dried, ground down, and mixed with the animal fat.  At times wild berries were mixed in as well.

This was a time without domesticated animals so the groups of people who had access to larger game would make pemmican and use it to trade for things their land didn’t have.  Nowadays most pemmican is made from beef.  The best being US Wellness meats Pemmican.  It has a unique meaty taste.  The kind that you needs to grow on you.  Always looking to improve ideas… I started experimenting with pemmican.

Bacon Pemmican – The Luxury Travel Food


I’m never fully satisfied with my SCD travel foods.  Each year Jordan and I are traveling more, so travel foods are becoming a bigger part of my lifestyle.  I’m picky, I want food that makes me feel good and tastes good too.  And while I have cooked pounds of bacon and carried them on a plane, I’m always looking to class it up a little.

In case you didn’t know, you can take frozen food through TSA checkpoints.   Which makes this recipe even more appealing as it is frozen and no TSA agent has batted an eyelash about it so far. Not only that, but I cut it into bars, wrapped it in tinfoil and then stuffed it into a plastic bag.  It stayed in my backpack cold and frozen for over 14hrs!  No cooler needed.

As you can see from the calorie breakdown below, it packs a big punch for being very small.  Almost enough calories to sustain a person for 2 days.  Add in some other easy travel foods and you’ll be good to go.  Did I mention it’s SCD legal and what I might call a traditional Paleo food?

How to Make Bacon Pemmican

It’s actually really easy to make this and the variations to try are endless.  I did try 1/2 raisins and 1/2 cranberries once and did not like it as much as the variation below.  I hope as you experiment you’ll return and post in the comments the tweaks you’ve made.

Equipment needed:

Large skillet pan

Blender

Square glass baking dish

Ingredients needed:

12-16oz of bacon

1/2 cup of coconut oil (melted)

1 cup of dried cranberries

Begin by cooking the bacon in a skillet, the key is cooking it long and slow.  You really don’t want to crisp it up too much, it should be soft and flimsy still but the fat should be mostly cooked down.  At this point turn the heat off and let it cool.

After it cools down (but before the fat begins to solidify), add everything to the blender.  Get as much of that tasty bacon fat as possible into the blender.  Then begin blending it down.  Chop it as finely as you can.  At this point add 1 cup of cranberries and make sure they get chopped into very fine pieces as well.  The last step is to add the coconut oil and blend till it’s good and mixed up.

Next get the glass dish out and pour the mixture into it.  Try to make it about even depth in the dish, then cover and freeze.  It will take an hour or so to solidify.  At this point you can cut it into bars or whatever size pieces your heart desires.

How Much Rocket Fuel is In This Recipe?

I wondered that too.  My best guesstimate is below:

16oz of bacon cooked = 2450 calories – 68% fat, 31%protein, 1% carbohydrate

1/2 cup of coconut oil = 940 calories – 100% fat

1 cup of dried cranberries =339 calories – 4% fat, 0% protein, 96% carbohydrate

Totals = 3729 calories = Fat 70% (2620 cal), Protein 20% (759 cal), Carbohydrate 10% (350 cal)

The biggest unknown is the bacon numbers, I can’t seem to tell whether or not the 16oz of cooked bacon is including the rendered bacon fat or not… I’m guessing not, so these numbers could be even higher.  Maybe someone in the comments can figure this out and help us all.

I’ve shared this with a few non-SCD, non-Paleo types and they loved it.  And I think you will too (It has bacon in it – duh).

Steve

PS – I will caution against getting freaky and eating like half of it at once.  It’s very high in fat (a good thing) but it can be tough on the digestive system for those who aren’t used to munching a 100grams of fat at once.

 

About the author

Steven Wright Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacqueline February 18, 2013 at 10:09 am

Heart disease runs in my family and I have always been told to stay away from bacon fat and beef fat, etc… Should I stay away from recipes like this given the heart disease factor?

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Steven Wright February 19, 2013 at 11:40 am

Nope this will help you avoid heart disease if anything. Quality fats are very heart healthy.

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Salem October 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm

If you research it enough you’ll find that what you typically hear about saturated fats is not true. The biggest study that people refer to was one in which they grouped trans fats and saturated fats together, which gave a false analysis. When the information was separated & the trans fats were separated (categorically) from the saturated fats, the study actually showed that saturated fats are protective against heart disease, diabetes, etc. There have been numerous other studies that back up that finding. 2 easy reads to look into: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (most of it is recipes, but the beginning section and all the tidbits throughout the book are very informative and fascinating) and Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Dr. Mary Enig (she was one of the researchers that tried to correct the lipid study way back in the day, but the other researchers had already been well compensated by vegetable oil producers & they began to black list her). Most doctors don’t understand nutrition cause almost all of their training is about pharmaceutical drugs & even the ones that got nutritional training are given faulty information as many nutritionists are since they go to schools that are funded & backed by special interests. I lost weight & my health improved greatly when I cut out vegetable oils & started eating a bit more saturated fats.

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jennifer wood February 18, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Dear Jordan and Steve,

I love you guys! I am a 11 year SCD veteran and sure wish you were around when I started. I love this recipe idea, yum. However, dried cranberries without sugar are very hard to find. Could you provide a link to your source and note in the recipe that the standard dried cranberries found at the grocery store are not SCD-legal? Thanks for your dedication to this diet and this community.

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Steven Wright February 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm

@Jennifer – I believe I got them from the local farmers market in Lansing, MI.

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Jennifer wood February 22, 2013 at 11:55 am

Hi Steven, thanks for the reply about the cranberries. I really think you should include something in the recipe about this. I wouldn’t want someone to get sick over this.

Eden foods has a dried cranberry sweetened with apple juice concentrate and sprayed with sunflower oil which I trust. Also http://www.shorelinefruit.com/unsweetened-sliced.html. Another possibility is to use unsweetened cherries although those can be hard to find too. There are unsweetened bing and unsweetened tart cherries out there.

Thanks, jennifer

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Susan February 18, 2013 at 5:57 pm

food processor alright ?

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Steven Wright February 19, 2013 at 11:19 am

@Susan – it should be.

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Laurie February 19, 2013 at 1:55 am

This sounds interesting, as I am looking for travel snacks for my 7 year old son. He loves bacon! But doesn’t it melt into a greasy mess when you are trying to eat it? Does it have t be kept super cold at all times so that it doesn’t melt?

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Bryn February 20, 2013 at 9:35 am

@Laurie – I wondered about this, too. I think the melting point of the bacon fat is high enough that it would stay solid enough until you put it in your mouth. However, this is one that I will NOT be sad to test out!

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Steven Wright February 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm

@Laurie- It will melt eventually, but at 8hrs mine was still very frozen with only a little fat on the fingers. By the 14-16hr mark it was softer and getting to the point at which a 7yr old might have more fun not eating it :)

If you test it let us know what you find.

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Angela at Diyhealthblog.com February 21, 2013 at 6:28 pm

This sounds yummy. Have you ever tried Tanka Bars?
http://www.tankabar.com

They’re pretty yummy but wondering if they are too processed? Nothing beats home made. It is hard to find bacon that isn’t sweetened. Why do they need to put sugar in bacon?

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Andrea February 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Bookmarking this to make for hiking and camping! What a genius idea!

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Lew March 22, 2013 at 10:28 am

I tried the recipe and found that the chunks or bars were too soft just sitting at room temperature. This was only after a few hours. I can imagine what they would be like stored in a backpack or baggage. I keep in the freezer at all times. I do enjoy the taste.

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lucinda parmenter July 15, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Hi guys. I’m still pretty new at this and am still trying to figure out what I can and can’t eat. This sounds really good. Do youadvise bacon (or any food for that matter) to be nitrate-free? I’ve finally realized the benefit in fats and have been doing coconut oil for about 10 years. Since I was diagnosed with lymphacytic colitis about 6 months ago, I’m doing it alot more. Have to say that the bacon fat somehow seems different (worse) than my grass-fed ground beef. It’s really OK?

Thanks for all the great info. You guys are so real, approachable, loving and dedicated and doing a much-needed service!

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Salem October 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

So, I’ve read that pemmican (at least when it is made without carbs, which is how my hubby likes it) stays good indefinitely (or at least for a REALLY long time). So, I’m wondering how long this pemmican would stay good at room temp. I know coconut oil isn’t as stable as lard or tallow, so do you think this would taste alright if I used a more stable fat? I guess I’m just hoping I can make traditional pemmican with some kind of pork because it is just so delicious. Not that I don’t like beef, but I prefer the flavor of pork. Do you know anything about this? I know the composition of pork is obviously a little different than beef and pigs aren’t herbivores like elk, deer or cattle, but could pork meat be just as suitable for a stable pemmican?

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Karl November 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Hmm…..I have some pork lard from US Wellness Meats. I wonder if I can use that to supplement the coconut oil? Coconut oil is almost always liquid in my house (in Hawaii) so I’m afraid these would be pretty soft if left out.

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VibeRadiant December 22, 2013 at 11:44 am

I just made this using lard instead of the coconut oil and I have to say that this was blissfully delicious! OMFG!!

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VibeRadiant December 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I made this yesterday and I would add to line the dish with parchment paper to aid in the ease of removing the bars. Other than that this stuff is delicious! Yum!

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ToniH January 18, 2014 at 11:11 pm

I don’t like cooking all the bacon. I mean I like bacon sometimes, but I use more bacon grease (and ghee) for cooking. I buy mine on amazon.com. Actually, I just go to the site now for hot belly bacon grease. For me it’s more convenient. I do use coconut oil, but not as much as the bacon grease and ghee. Sometimes I use both.

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