Russian MRE Update – Bacon Test Failed

As a continuing public service, Grunt and Grunt Son #2 have purchased, at considerable expense, a Russian Officer’s MRE from shady characters in the Ukrainian underworld, and we occasionally eat some of it and report on its goodness, or lack of, just in case you’re interested.  You never know when you might find yourself holed up in a basement in Uzbekistan with nothing but a closet full of beet vodka and Russian MREs.  If that’s your dilemma, we might save you some nausea by telling you which tins NOT to open.  In every case, you should ALWAYS drink the beet vodka.  It’s never as bad as you think.  Even in Uzbekistan.

Tonight’s experiment is a critical one, because it’s the closest thing to bacon you’ll get in a Russian MRE, and we know that bacon is critical to survival.  I believe the label indicates salt pork or salty bacon.  Take a look at this label.  Memorize it.  Then never, EVER open anything you see like it.Tin2

The reason is that this is what’s inside.  Raw salted pig fat, and lots of it.  The kind that you might eat if it was fried and crispy and hot, but not like this.RusBcn2

What were these Ruskies thinking?  That this raw rind was, in any way, ready to eat, right out of the tin?  I don’t get it.  First, there’s not a TRACE of meat in here.  Not the slightest sliver to interrupt the clean white pig fat.  However, there IS some kind of gellatinous belly skin layer that you normally don’t find on raw American bacon.  I don’t know if it’s good.  I couldn’t get past the look.  Call me a pussy; I don’t care.  But this is not food, unless it could be slapped on a very hot engine block for a half hour or so.  Even then, it would be ok in a starvation situation only.  That’s my assessment, and Son #2 agrees.  Portion consumed?  Zero percent.  Edibility rating?  Zero.

Next time:  Berry mush.  Yum.


About GruntOfMonteCristo

Fearless and Devout Catholic Christian First, Loving Husband and Father Second, Pissed-Off Patriot Third, Rocket Engineer Dork Last.
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27 Responses to Russian MRE Update – Bacon Test Failed

  1. Knight4GFC says:

    OMG! I just about snorked my fruit salad through my nose! Lol! That’s funny! 😀
    Hey! Maybe its good as fuel for fire! The juices or oils from the fat can be burned! Haha! 😀

  2. Knight4GFC says:

    Spam is like, waaaaay better than this stuff.

  3. ZurichMike says:

    I’m guessing this is intended to fuel a very tired, very hungry, very cold soldier. Ukrainians and Russians also eat this kind of salted pork fat as an appetizer before a meal. It’s also popular at bars. Germans (Bavarians) eat something similar — Schmalz — which is basically recongealed cooked bacon fat, salted and served with bread. It’s fabulous with beer. I’ve had the Russian/Ukrainian stuff pictured here — it is cold, slimy, tastes only a bit like pork.

    • ZurichMike says:

      On a business trip to Kiev, I was invited by the local management team to a very authentic, highly popular restaurant serving mostly Ukrainian specialties. The food preparation and presentation was superb. One of the appetizers was this kind of cold, salted pork fat very thinly sliced (like raw bacon fat with no pink meat to be found). It was served with thinly sliced bread and salted white radishes. It’s actually not too bad! But the stuff in the MRE looks like they carved pork fat off a live hog and jammed it into an aluminum tin.

    • barnslayer says:

      In NYC schmaltz is the same but they use chicken fat. No thanks! This whole business sounds really disgusting. Grunt’s first reactions to the contents were most likely driven by some subconscious self-preservation instinct. Trust your gut. I’ll stick with Miracle Whip. You could always use the Russian stuff as bait to catch something more edible… like a polecat.

  4. Coyote says:

    NOW think…if the Russians are eating this, just how tough do you think they’d have to be?
    They live and fight in impossibly cold and dank climates, climates that absolutely sack a man’s energy reserves. The caloric intake has to at least match a fighting man’s rate of use, at the very least. This entrée is probably nothing more than 100% caloric fat to help fill the stomach for fuel.
    …and I still probably wouldn’t want to eat it unless I absolutely had to. Yech. Thanks for the lesson, Grunt. Your son would have a cast iron gut if he ate this and didn’t wretch.

    • barnslayer says:

      Maybe. But this guy eats anything and not my idea of tough… he’s just crazy.

      • Andrew’s awesome. I’ve seen him eat some grotesque stuff, like still-beating frog hearts and eels and insects. But then I saw him choke on SE-Asian stink-fruit. I guess it’s hard to get past the rotting-flesh smell. 🙂

    • You’re welcome, C. Good points. Truth is, I’m sure the kid would eat this in the field if he had to. He’s the one who’s ordered dried crickets and meal worms to take on packing trips. And he’s an Andrew Zimmern fan. I guess this time… we just didn’t have to, so we didn’t.

    • Yeah that all sounds good but everybody knows “chocolate” won the war. Those tough guys just caved into it. Chocolate accomplished some amazing things throughout the war including keeping many of the prisoners at Auschwitz and other concentration camps alive. I had a family friend that survived Auschwitz mainly because of Chocolate and he continued using it as a staple the rest of his 99 year life. 🙂

      • Chocolate will keep you alive; that’s for sure. A little coffee is nice to perk you up when things look grim, too. Your story about chocolate at Auschwitz reminds me of a Polish Officer’s gulag experience. He claimed that even when they were practically starving, the Russians saw fit to give them a normal ration of tobacco and newspapers to roll cigarettes with. It was just considered “essential.” 🙂

  5. zmalfoy says:

    Hm . . . fat is, however, extremely important for proper digestion. Not only, as Coyote mentions, does it have high caloric value, but it is essential to the absorbtion of almost every other necessary nutrient. ZurichMike’s suggestion of thin slicing, on bread with radishes sounds kinda interesting. The fat would be a substitute for the milk-fat we usually use (butter), with rasishes to cut the the greasiness. . .

    Or, if there was a heat source availible, you could use this to fry other ingredients. . . like rabbit. . . remember about rabbit starvation, when people would eat rabbits all winter, and starve to death, because rabbit is so lean you have to add fat to it or your body won’t digest it. So. . . it’s winter in Russia. Your camp has set a few snares and caught a few rabbits to supplement your supplies. Here’s some fat to fry, or add to a stew, to allow the meat to digest right. . .

    To be entirely honest though. . . I’d have trouble choking it down as is. Looks super gross. 😦

    • Good point about the rabbit starvation thing. Fat is critical. When I’m backpacking, I usually pack a lot of hard-boiled eggs and nuts and cheese and butter. I remember reading about Mongolians and other Asian steppe-folks drinking lots of tea laced with butter when on the road to get their fat intake up. I guess pork fat is good to have in the field. I just have a cultural block against eating it raw – salted or no. It just seems to me that if you’re going to the trouble to package it in aluminum tins, why not cook it first. But that’s just me. I’d rather have a tin full of butter.

  6. Speaking of battlefield essentials…

  7. Raw salted pig fat, and lots of it.

    A.k.a Jihadi repellant

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