A few weeks ago, some girlfriends were discussing the woes of nitrites in bacon. I tend to avoid buying bacon full stop, because once I get started, I can't seem to lay off it and I do so enjoy the flavor. Knowing it is naughty (for the fats, I thought), I just stopped buying it. It turns out the fats aren't the worst part; rather, it's the nitrite/nitrate preservatives. The girlfriends were discussing this quandry, and someone mentioned one butcher in town (coincidentally, my part of town) that sells nitrite-free bacon. "Has anyone tried it? Major bucks!" she said. I was intrigued. Indeed, it was for sale at AU$49.99 per kilo, but I bought a pack of maybe 10 slices and it cost $6.75 (pretty average for quality bacon, actually). I wanted to make corn chowder, which is best (in my opinion) on a base of bacon fat. Yum.
My lesson to you is: nitrite-free bacon is preserved not with the very nasty nitrites but by smoking the sh*t out of the bacon. After cooking four slices, my house smells like a smokehouse and I didn't make "corn chowder"; I made lumpy "smoke soup." Nitrite-free bacon tastes quite good, but it does not taste like bacon as we know it. Serve it up on the side, but you might want to reconsider it as a built-in ingredient.