Lest ye think that my devotion to this blog is insincere, I’ll tell you about my waking thoughts today: Bacon Jell-O. That’s what I was dreaming about when I woke up, and I thought, “Yes! Perfect! I’m sure I can find a photo of a perfectly molded Jell-O ring with strips of bacon in it.” Such is my delusional devotion to the pork belly that I believed this dream could come true. Alas, I will have to make it myself. Which, now that the sleep has been rubbed from my brain, I doubt I will do anytime soon.
On a brighter note, BaconFreak recently got FDA approval for their new line of Bacon Jerkys. I was fortunate to get a sneak preview of a few of these new releases, so I’ve got the inside scoop for you. I was able to sample both the Honey BBQ and “BLT” (sun-dried tomato) flavors. Right off the bat you notice that, unlike beef or turkey jerky, bacon jerky retains a lot of moisture, presumably because there’s so much fat in the cut. The fatty parts are relatively soft, and make for a totally unique texture experience. I liked it! The strips are thick cut but, since bacon is cut against the grain, you don’t have to gnaw your way through any long, stringy parts. And, depending on what you like about jerky, that could be either a bonus or a drawback. As with all the BaconFreak products I’ve tried, the spices used to flavor the meat were great, especially the Honey BBQ.
I also sampled the Cajun Ham Jerky. While the flavor was very good, for my money the slice was too thick. It was great for a piece of dry-cured meat, but didn’t fit my definition of jerky. With that in mind, it would be an awesome backpacking item for you campfire cooks because it’s sealed airtight with an extensive shelf life. It’s a great way to put some delicious protein into soups or breakfast recipes without having to tote less enduring meat products in an already full pack.
So there you have it. From Bacon Jell-O to Bacon Jerky…I wonder what we’ll dream up next.
It turns out that bacon grease is often the center of bets, dares or penalties, generally propagated by individuals between the ages of 16 and 24. If you go to YouTube and enter “bacon grease” you’ll come up with a surprising number of videos of people undertaking the chug challenge. Be forewarned, often this results in projectile vomiting or explosive cursing. Here’s one of the milder (and shorter) entries:
And all I can think is, hey! Don’t waste that bacon grease! Naseem could mix that with some dryer lint and make great kindling for a winter fire! Seriously, fueling a fire is just one of the many great uses for bacon grease. Did you know you could also make soap out of it? And of course it can be used endlessly for making all food (especially anything green) taste even better. Here is a bacon grease resource for all you hoodlums out there.
Naseem and I were actually disappointed in the lack of a comprehensive list of uses for bacon grease, so we’re going to start one today. If you have any unique uses of your own (particularly outside the kitchen) please send them our way! This is your chance to share your knowledge with the world…and maybe keep some troubled youth from causing themselves harm. Won’t you help today?
You know what goes great with bacon? (Ummm…everything?) Yeah well, this time I was thinking of bacon’s cousin, the pork roast. I’ve seen a lot of recipes lately for bacon-wrapped pork roasts of various cuts, but I must admit the pork tenderloin makes the most sense to me. Most pork cuts have a decent amount of fat to help them stay moist and delicious during just about any method of cooking. But the tenderloin is so lean and perfect that wrapping it up in strips of fat makes sense. Delicious, smoky sense.
So you can find recipes for oven-roasting, crock-potting or bbqing said roast, but the bbq method looks the most impressive to me. I love the flavor you get from cooking almost anything over flames, but by wrapping almost anything in bacon, you get double the smoke, and ten times the flavor.
It’s technically still summer for a couple of weeks, so I think I’ll take advantage of those last few hours of evening sunlight to grill this recipe soon. But come fall and winter, I’ll be more than happy to have the smell of bacon and pork roast warming my cozy little house. I’m confident that this is a food for all seasons.
I promise today is my last day posting about Bacon Day 2008, even though it’s worth talking about for another week. We were fortunate at the last minute to get a “swag sponsor” by way of BaconFreak.com. Not only did he provide us with some tasty bacon, but Rocco brought us a whole box of goodies to give away to our guest, including one mega-grab-box doorprize. There were “bacon is meat candy” t-shirts, stickers, bacon air freshener, gummy bacon, Bacon Salt, and the ever popular bacon bandages. There was enough stuff that about half our guests won a prize!
The big door prize winner was our good friend (and the guy who came up with the name Royal Bacon Society) Mike. Which we thought was great, considering all he’s done for the site.
Most of the guests handled the disappointment of not winning pretty well, but that Brutus is a sore loseWeight Exerciser. When Mike wasn’t looking, he tried to steal the whole shabang! Luckily, Mike prevailed and all of his swag remained intact. Can’t say the same for the box.
At the end of the day, everyone went home with a belly full of grease and at very least a handy magnet for their refrigerator. We still have some magnets so if you want one, send us an email with your address and we’ll send it your way.
And with that I leave Bacon Day to rest as a fond memory of good friends and good times. If you’d like to see all the photos from the day, you can check out the full gallery here. May it keep you warm until Bacon Day rolls around again!
Chrissy & Smiley: Two people you cannot help but love. These friends (and avid readers) brought their own special bacon tribute to the party…a tribute to the king of all bacon lovers himself: His Holy Elvis. As seen in this photo, bacon pairs up with peanut butter and jelly on white bread for a scaled-down version of the famous Fool’s Gold sandwich. And of course each mini-sandwich was beautifully topped with an individual icon of His Holiness. If I was much, much cooler, I would have thought of this myself.
You’ve probably heard this story about how Elvis once flew himself and some friends to Colorado on his private jet in the middle of the night, just to get this famous sandwich from the Colorado Mine Company restaurant. I always thought that was an outrageous stunt, until I tried this sandwich. I could have gone my whole life not knowing I liked bacon in my PB&J, but now the veil has been lifted and I can never unlearn what I have learned. I am totally in love.
I guess I should just thank my lucky stars they didn’t bring the deep-fried peanut butter, bacon and banana sandwich. I would have to drop one seriously bad habit to make room for that one.
So I thought I would give Bacon Bourbon another try, because it absolutely had to be shared on Bacon Day. I had high hopes as I was using my favorite bourbon this time, Maker’s Mark. It has a warm, slightly smoky flavor to begin with, so seemed perfect for the infusion.
I began as last time with several ounces of fresh bacon grease in a pitcher with a full bottle of Maker’s Mark. This time I also added a slice of bacon for the three hours of room-temperature infusion. I used a thick-cut, applewood smoked bacon this time. I then froze the infusion for several hours and did a first straining through cheese cloth and a wire mesh strainer. Last time I ended up with a bit of grease in the final stage, so this time I washed the pitcher, put the bourbon back in and froze it again overnight. The morning of Bacon Day I did a second cheese cloth/mesh straining, but still ended up with a tiny bit of grease and particulate matter. No one found it off-putting, so I won’t worry so much about that in the future.
And the results? Once again, the smoke was subtle and some people didn’t even taste a difference. I should have had plain Maker’s for comparison. A few people who claimed to really know their bourbon reported tasting the smoke, and I myself thought it was slightly more noticeable than last time. But still, not quite the difference I was looking for.
In the end, no one complained about having a bottle of Maker’s to sip on, and whether they tasted the smoke or not, everyone enjoyed the Bourbon. As I mentioned yesterday, it was a hit combination with the Bacondoodles. Just as a side note, I took a bite of the bacon I used for the infusion after the first freezing. Wow, was that an unpleasant experience…I couldn’t bring myself to swallow it. So I can say unequivocally that I do NOT recommend bourbon-infused bacon!
I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give. — Thomas Jefferson