Okay, so it was our first Bacon Day ever. That doesn’t make it any less spectacular. The Royal Bacon Society hosted a backyard party that will take me a good week to fully cover. It was a ton of fun and ridiculously delicious. We prepared seven pounds of bacon in various forms and recipes, and I’m here to tell you…there was no bacon left at the end of the day.
The centerpiece of the event was a bacon and wine tasting. We offered three wines and four bacons, asking our guests to try each bacon with each wine and rate the pairings from 1 to 5. Wines included a local Zinfandel blend, a Petite Sirah, and a Pinot Grigio. To begin with, the two reds were a toss up in terms of guest ratings. They both went well with bacon, but I imagine a nice bold Syrah would probably have beaten them both. The Pinot Grigio was the least pairable, but that was no surprise. Even a buttery Chardonnay probably couldn’t have held up to the strength and smokiness of any decent bacon. It was overwhelmingly confirmed: bacon is a red wine meat.
We had a delicious array of bacons. First was Daily’s Hardwood Smoked Peppered Bacon. This was a thick-sliced bacon with plenty of course-ground pepper and about a 50% ratio of fat to lean. The texture was somewhat typical, and I didn’t notice anything overwhelming about the smoke. But it was a great bacon and consistently got the highest ratings in terms of pairing, particularly with the Zin blend.
Next was Trader Joe’s Uncured Apple Smoked Bacon (couldn’t find a link.) Again, a thick cut bacon with a pretty even blend of meat and fat. The bacon was absolutely delicious, and the fat had a much softer consistency than traditional cured bacons, which I found delightful. This may become my new every day breakfast meat. In terms of pairing, it ranked second of the four.
Third we had Farmer John’s Old-Fashioned Maple Bacon, which was a pleasant surprise. You could truly taste the maple syrup with each bite. I’m not sure I would want a BLT with this one, but it was great to eat on its own. This product was standard cut with average fat content. Although it tied for third in pairings with our last bacon, it was the only one that could even approach a decent flavor with the Pinot Grigio.
Finally, we had a late entry with Rocco’s Sun-Dried Tomato Bacon. This is one of BaconFreak.com’s Bacon of the Month Clubofferings, generously contributed for the event. (Thanks, Rocco!) This bacon is standard cut with a high fat content, which made it a bit softer than the other bacons (similar to Trader Joe’s). It tied for third in terms of pairing, but I think this was the big favorite of the day for texture and sheer deliciousness of bacon. Every time I turned around someone was asking me what it was and where I got it. I’m anxious to try Rocco’s other flavors over the coming month.
I have to say this party was just a blast. I’ll fill you in throughout the week about other recipes we tried, more product ratings, and the most recent verdict on the Bacon Bourbon. I have to give MAJOR THANKS to Naseem and Cameron for handling all of the set-up and cooking all the bacon for the tasting! This party would not have been possible without you two rock stars. And thanks to everyone who came out and partied with us and ate no less than 5 slices of bacon each. I hope your arteries will forgive us and that we’ll see you next year…the countdown to Bacon Day 2009 has already begun!