Introducing Oscar Mayer’s Butcher Thick Cut Bacon in 2012 was an undertaking that required special accommodations on the processing floor, from the preparation of the bellies to the slicing and packaging of the final product. Manufactured at the Oscar Mayer plant in Coshocton, Ohio, sustaining the production of what has proven to be a thriving product has meant refining the processes for a product requiring preparation, smoking, slicing and packaging unlike any of the company’s many other bacon offerings.

MEAT+POULTRY recently asked Crystal Van’t Hof, brand manager, for specific details on the production of the premium product:

MEAT+POULTRY: What flavor and sizes of the products are available?

Oscar Mayer: Since Oscar Mayer developed its Butcher Thick Cut Bacon, we have kept the flavors (Hickory smoked and Applewood smoked) consistent. Last year, we expanded the package by 2 oz., to make it a full 1.5 lbs.

M+P: What is the thickness of the bacon and how was it determined?

OM: There are six slices per inch of Oscar Mayer Butcher Thick Cut Bacon, providing a delicious balance of chewy and crispy.

M+P: Is the product produced using the same raw material and suppliers that the other OM bacon products come from?

OM: Yes, we use the same pork belly to create Butcher Thick Cut Bacon as we do all of our bacons. The difference comes from the sea salt, smoking and cutting process.

M+P: Can you outline how the production steps of manufacturing this product are alike or different from Oscar Mayer’s traditional bacon offerings?

OM: The production process begins with the same pork belly that is cured for 12 hours, just like our regular bacon. However, the cure for Butcher Thick Cut Bacon uses premium sea salt for a stronger flavor profile. The cured pork belly then moves onto our smokehouse for more than 12 hours. The product is smoked with either Applewood hardwoods for a sweet note or Hickory hardwoods for a richer, more savory note. Our other bacon varieties use a different blend of hardwoods. After smoking, the product is sliced and packaged for retail sale.

M+P: From a slicing and packaging standpoint, is the Butcher Thick Cut Bacon more cumbersome/time consuming?

OM: Yes, it is more time consuming to produce Butcher Thick Cut Bacon. Each draft of Butcher Thick Cut Bacon is stacked by hand into each film package prior to sealing.