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One could make a convincing argument that bacon is the greatest food product God and man and pigs ever created.
One man thinks it could be better.
"I love beef," said Howard Bender, creator of Schmacon, which is bacon made from beef. Bender spent three years and hundreds of thousands of dollars developing Schmacon, which he now sells at his online Jewish deli called Schmaltz Online, based in Chicago. Schmacon has lower fat, sodium and calories than traditional bacon, and Bender has signed up distributors that are selling it to restaurants and hotels.
Schmacon sounded like the perfect breakfast meat as Passover winds down—except it's not kosher.
So what's the point?
"I wasn't trying to invent and create a replacement for bacon," said Bender. "I think Schmacon is the evolution and, frankly, it's maybe the revolution in bacon ... it's the only new thing that is out there in bacon that tastes great." What about turkey bacon? "Turkey bacon sucks."
Building a better mousetrap is one thing, but why try to improve upon the greatest thing ever created by God and man and pig? Bender said it was time for a paradigm shift. "What if God woke up one morning and there was a cow standing there instead of a pig. He would have created bacon out of that cow."
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Schmacon won a 2014 food and beverage innovation award from theNational Restaurant Association. The product tastes kind of like pork bacon, kind of like pastrami, with a smoky maple finish. Bender launched a Kickstarter campaign "to get Schmacon in the hands of thousands of people around the country that can go to their grocer and say, 'Please stock this Schmacon in my grocery store.'"
Bender said he almost gave up on the idea many times. The hardest part, he said, was convincing large manufacturing facilities to make the product for national sales, which he said will happen in the next six months.
"I love pork bacon, but I also love beef," he said, "so now we've got the best of two worlds."
Up next: Schmacon bits.