Most everyone loves the taste of bacon. Salty, savory with a hint of smoke. This version has less fat, more protein and is more sustainable.
Compared to traditional dry roasted crickets that are not seasoned, the addition of salt alone dramatically increases palatability. Brining prior to cooking can potentially improve texture and durability.
Buy crickets raised for food use (or raise your own). If pet feed crickets are selected, keep the crickets alive for a few days, feeding them food of your choice to purge their system.
In this case, I bought crickets from a nearby pet store. This was not the most cost consciousness choice as the crickets were 10 cents each. Also, buying at the pet store is not the best option as we don’t exactly know what they are being fed. I fed the crickets corn meal and a piece of fruit for a day prior to harvesting.
Transfer the live crickets to another container, weeding out the dead ones, then put them in the freezer.
This brine was loosely taken from some online recipes.
Mix the brine and cover frozen raw crickets. Refrigerate for 6 – 24 hrs.
0.25% Curing Salt
1 – 2 % Liquid Smoke (leave out if actually smoking)
40% Crickets, Raw Frozen, Rinsed
Due to having a high surface area to volume ratio, this cooking method is similar to making jerky.
Drain the crickets and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheets.
Pre-heat oven. Bake for at 250F for 10 minutes. This step fully cooks the crickets. The internal temperature will get above 165F with in 10 minutes.
Set oven to 175F and dehydrate for 2 – 4 hour or until the crickets are dry and crunchy/crumbly.
Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.
Cobb Salad traditionally calls for crumbled bacon. Cricket bacon bits will be a great substitute.
This version of cricket bacon has a similar appearance and texture compared to dry roasted crickets.
The flavor is very mild and brothy with very minimal cricket-flavor. This batch was not very smoky in flavor. The palatability is dramatically improved with a salty and slightly sweet taste.
Recommendations for recipe changes
Adjust the temperature and time of the dehydration step to result in a more chewy cricket. If the crickets still have moisture, they may not be shelf stable.
Cook with a source of fat to achieve a more bacon like mouthfeel (bacon has a lot of fat).