How to Cook Bacon Bones for Maximum Flavor

Bacon bones are the often overlooked leftovers when cooking bacon. In the past, thrifty home cooks knew how to make use of every part of the pig, including the bones. Bacon bones impart incredible smoky, meaty flavor when used to make broths, beans, soups, and more.

However with modern supermarket packaging, bacon bones have fallen out of favor with many home cooks today. But cooking with bacon bones is an easy and budget-friendly way to add delicious depth of flavor to dishes.

In this article I’ll explain how to find and cook bacon bones to get the most flavor and nutrition from them.

What are Bacon Bones?

Bacon bones are the bones that are left over after slicing bacon, You’ll find two parallel bones running lengthwise through a full unsliced slab of bacon,

These bones come from the belly section and ribs of the pig. They have tasty bits of meat still attached to them, which is why they impart so much flavor when cooking.

Benefits of Cooking with Bacon Bones

There are several benefits to using bacon bones in your cooking:

  • Adds rich, smoky bacon flavor – The bones soak up all that delicious smoky flavor during smoking.

  • Nutritious – Bones contain calcium, collagen, and other minerals that dissolve into the cooking liquid.

  • Thrifty – Makes use of a product that would otherwise be discarded.

  • Enhances soups and beans – Gives depth to brothy dishes and simmered beans.

So don’t throw out those bacon bones! With minimal effort, they can transform the flavor of home cooking.

Where to Find Bacon Bones

You have a couple options for sourcing bacon bones:

  • Butcher shop – Ask your local butcher if they have bacon bones or can save them for you.

  • Full slab bacon – Purchase a full unsliced slab of bacon, then slice it yourself and reserve the bones.

  • Freezer section – Some stores sell packages of smoked pork bones, including bacon bones. Check the freezer.

Getting your hands on bacon bones might take some searching, but it’s worth it for the flavor payoff!

How to Prepare Bacon Bones for Cooking

Before using, it helps to prep the raw bacon bones:

  • Rinse – Give them a good rinse under cool water to remove any lingering cure ingredients or impurities.

  • Scrape – Use a knife to gently scrape off any congealed blood residue.

  • Soak – Soaking the bones for 30 mins to an hour helps draw out excess salt.

That quick prep ensures you have clean bones ready for flavoring your dish!

Simmering Bacon Bones for Broth

One of the best uses for bacon bones is making a smoky, pork-flavored broth.


  • Bacon bones
  • Water
  • Aromatics like onion, garlic, celery, carrots
  • Herbs such as thyme, parsley, bay leaves


  1. Place cleaned bones in a pot and add enough water to cover.

  2. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

  3. Add aromatic veggies and herbs.

  4. Gently simmer for 2-4 hours.

  5. Strain out the bones and aromatics.

You’ll be left with a rich, savory homemade bacon broth perfect for soups, stews, beans and more!

Adding Bacon Bones to Soups

You can also add the bacon bones directly to soups. The bones will impart flavor as the soup simmers.

Try adding bones to classics like:

  • Split pea soup
  • Ham and bean soup
  • Potato soup
  • Cabbage soup
  • Lentil soup

The smoky bacon bones give these hearty soups even more comfort food appeal.

Flavoring Beans with Bacon Bones

Baking or simmering beans with bacon bones boosts the flavor considerably.

The techniques is simple:

  • Soak beans overnight as usual.
  • Add prepared bacon bones to the pot along with water.
  • Cook beans until tender, as you normally would.
  • Remove bones before serving.

The smoky, porky bacon bones make beans like pinto, navy, kidney and others irresistible.

Making Collard Greens with Bacon Bones

For the ultimate Southern-style collard greens, cook them low and slow with bacon bones.


  • Bacon bones
  • Collard greens, washed and chopped
  • Water or broth
  • Onion, chopped
  • Garlic cloves, minced
  • Hot sauce or vinegar


  1. Simmer the bones in broth for 1 hour.

  2. Add greens, onion, garlic and cook 2-3 hours until tender.

  3. Season with hot sauce and vinegar.

  4. Remove bones before serving.

The bacon bones give the greens incredible smoky pork flavor.

What to Do with Leftover Bacon Bones

After using bacon bones for flavoring dishes, here are some options for the leftovers:

  • Compost them – the bones and any meat scraps remaining will enrich your compost pile.

  • Save for another use – refrigerate in an airtight bag for another use. Freeze for longer storage.

  • Add to bean or vegetable soup – more bones boost the flavor.

  • Make pet treats – the bones are safe for dogs to chew on after cooking.

With these clever ideas, you can use every last bit of flavor and nutrition from the bones.

Do’s and Don’ts When Cooking with Bacon Bones

Here are a few handy bone cooking tips:


  • Start with raw, fresh bones – old dried out bones won’t have as much flavor.

  • Trim off excess fat – too much fat can make broth greasy.

  • Simmer gently – high heat can make the broth cloudy.

  • Soak in cool water first – to draw out excess salt.


  • Boil vigorously – boiling can emulsify the fat, making your dish greasy.

  • Overcook the bones – extended high heat makes broth bitter.

  • Add bones to acidic dishes – acids leach too much calcium from bones.

Follow these tips and your bacon bone dishes will turn out perfectly flavorful.

Get More Mileage from Bacon Bones

Now that you know how to source and cook with them, give bacon bones a try in your kitchen! They add incredible smoky flavor perfect for broth, greens, soups, beans and more.

With this guide to maximizing their flavor, you can get significantly more mileage from what many consider kitchen waste. Creative bacon bone cooking transforms inexpensive yet nutritious ingredients into rich, delicious dishes.

How to make Bacon Hock Soup | Quick Feeds


Are pork bones and bacon bones the same?

Pork loin is adjacent to the ribs of the pig, and cut differently results in bone-in pork loin roasts. Those bones (which are actually ribs) are “bacon bones” in British English, but since Americans do not consider loin meat to be bacon, that term does not exist in AE.

What is bacon hock?

A ham hock, or pork knuckle, is the joint that attaches a pig’s foot to its leg. While a hock is not technically an ankle, its anatomical location corresponds to that of a human ankle or lower calf region.

What is a substitute for bacon bones?

Substitute bacon bones with ham hock. Shred the meat from the bone before adding to the soup.

How to cook bacon so it’s not hard?

Be sure the bacon does not overlap in the pan. The bacon will cook more consistently if they do not overlap. Cook the bacon for 4-5 minutes on each side for a perfectly cooked piece of bacon (not too rubbery and not too crispy. For a rubbery piece of bacon, cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

How do you cook bacon bones?

There are several ways to cook bacon bones, but the most common method is to simmer them in a pot of water or broth. Here’s a step-by-step guide: 1. Start by heating a tablespoon of oil in a soup pot over high heat. Add the bacon bones and brown them on all sides. This will help to enhance their flavor. 2.

Is bamboo shoot good for bones?

Bamboo shoots are rich in fiber and several vitamins and minerals. They are a nutritious food to consider incorporating into the diet. However, there are several varieties and they do not all contain a sufficient array of bone health nutrients to be considered reliable as a food that is good for bones unless the species consumed is known. For example, there is not enough vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, or vitamin D in most bamboo shoot varietals but some do contain decent amounts of calcium and magnesium. Bamboo shoots can be purchased fresh or canned. If purchased fresh, they need to be cooked well.

What are bacon bones?

Bacon bones are a type of bone that comes from the pork belly. These bones are cured and smoked to create bacon, and they are often used to flavor soups, stews, and other dishes.

How do you cook bacon bones in a soup pot?

In a soup pot heat oil over high heat then brown bacon bones. Once browned remove from pot then set it aside. Add garlic and onions then sauté in low heat until onions are soft. Add the celery and carrots, then bring heat to medium, cook for a minute. Place the bacon bones back, pour chicken stock and water, add the thyme and bring it to a boil.

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