boston-bacon-beerWow! If ever there was an event that I wish I could be queen of, this is it: The Boston Bacon & Beer Festival, being held on April 24 in  Boston’s South End. That’s right. Beer, Bacon & Boston. More than 30 restaurants and at least a dozen breweries are coming together to help you find just the right beer for any of their bacon-themed treats. I’ve been to (and LOVE) beer festivals. I’ve had a great time at our own little Bacon Day festivals. But this…this is a dream come true. I’m drooling all over my keyboard here.

As you can imagine, this party has been a big hit. It’s already sold out once, but they’re planning to make some more tickets available tomorrow morning, April 7. So if you live in the Boston area and don’t have your tickets yet, please get online and get them tomorrow. Do it for me. Someone’s got to represent RBS. And to all the organizers of this food & beverage Nirvana, I will raise a beer and bacon toast in your honor on that day and hope to join you in 2011!

Thanks, Aaron, for letting us know about this great event. Proceeds of the Bacon & Beer Festival will benefit some pretty great charitable organizations. Please go to their website and check out all the details!

bacon-baby-formulaI totally back the Bacon Salt guys in their never-ending quest to make life more bacony, but this one leaves me speechless. Seriously. I have no idea what to say, except…am I on Candid Camera? Best Bacon-Related April Fools Prank I’ve seen. It is a prank, right guys? Right?!

bacon-teeIf you want to get all scientific about it, bacon is good. Just ask the periodic table.

From
ThinkGeek.com
. Thanks, Jeff!

chuck

A couple days ago my favorite blogger, dooce, told an amusing story about how she scientifically and irrefutably proved that microwave-safe plastic bowls cannot withstand the magma-hot intensity of fresh bacon grease. Nice work, Heather. The world owes you big time for this mind-blowing discovery, and all the personal trauma you experienced as a result.

So today she thrilled me by posting a photo of my third-favorite dog, Chuck, balancing said microwave-safe bowl on his talented head, and labeling it “bacon art.” She also laughed at the idea of opening an Etsy shop dedicated to bacon art, or of dedicating a wall of her house to bacon art. Oh Heather, you have no idea…

the coupon

A nice guy named Daniel emailed us a couple weeks ago and asked if we’d like to try Carl’s Jr’s new Grilled Cheese Bacon Burger. Apparently the DVR has left me miles behind on current marketing campaigns, because I’d never heard of this burger creation. But of course my love of all things free kicked in and I said, “Hell yes I’ll eat your burger!”

Turns out the Carl’s headquarters are located just 12 miles southish of me in Carpinteria, California, so my allegedly realistic-looking coupon arrived the very next day. (Yes, that’s a paper burger in my lap.) I love instant gratification. I texted Naseem and we set up a lunch date for the next week.

Now, Naseem and I have each been on our own version of a health kick. We talk a lot about salads and calorie counts and Naseem actually Lose Weight Exercises. Regularly. She’s crazy like that. But for this free burger we decided to have a “cheat” day. A SERIOUS cheat day including fast food lunch and a 4 pm margarita & tapas happy hour. Heady, no?

the real thingSo Naseem picks me up last Friday and we head to the nearest Carl’s Jr. There are giant images of burgers all over that restaurant, and by the time we had placed our order, we were starving. The Grilled Cheese Bacon Burger comes in a single, a double and a “six dollar” version. I don’t really know the difference between the three, as we went for the biggest and baddest burger we could get. We decided to split the one burger and top it with large fries because, you know, saving room for happy hour. Of course it didn’t look like the coupon, but I wasn’t fazed. Marketing images are always over-glossed

My past experience with so-called grilled burgers has been kind of gross. The buns are usually super greasy, more like deep-fried toast, but I think I’m thinking of Jack-in-the-Box. Anyway, the flat sourdough-type bread was not greasy. One point for Carl’s. There really was a ton of cheese. Another big point. The burger was flame-broiled and there were three slices of tasty, albeit thin, bacon. Point and point. I mean, if you’re going to eat fast food, these are all good things. This burger has no condiments of any sort, just bread, cheese, bacon and burger.

Now to address the claim of being anything like a grilled cheese. First of all, though I like that it wasn’t greasy, that’s exactly what a grilled cheese would be. And really, with the sparse construction, it reminded me mostly of Jack-in-the-Box’s Ultimate Cheeseburger, but with better bread and a tastier, flame-broiled burger. I did love that there were four slices of cheese; it was so rich that I was really glad we were splitting it. Add a bunch of fries to that and we were both stuffed.

mmm...cheese

So my overall opinion was that this IS a tasty burger. The next time I find myself at a Carl’s on a road trip, there’s a good chance this will be the burger I order. (Farewell, Western Bacon Cheeseburger,  it’s been nice knowing you.)

*Interesting side note: the Grilled Cheese Bacon Burger was created when the food inventors at CKE decided to make something for the vegetarians. Why not a really killer grilled cheese? Who doesn’t love it? Unsurprisingly, during the testing phase someone said, “This is good, but you know what would make it better? A burger and bacon.” And that was that. For those vegetarians out there, if you order a grilled cheese, they’ll gladly make you one.

nutterz

I don’t know what it is, but lately I’ve received a number of product offers from people making innovative, bacon-flavored snacks. Anyone who’s known me any length of time will tell you that I love free stuff. In fact, you probably don’t want to accidentally leave a cool t-shirt, jacket or pair of shoes at my house because, hey! Free stuff! And that garden that I was so excited about last year? Free food! All it cost was hundreds of dollars in tools, fertilizer, a worm farm composter, seeds and seedlings, and dozens of hours of back-breaking labor! Best 3 months of my life. And now it’s a driveway.

But I digress. Not long ago I heard from Dick Taylor at B More Nutz. His is an inspiring story. He was a traveling salesman of sorts, and while in Scandinavia selling stuff and drinking (which is what you do in Scandinavia, right?) he discovered a type of peanut he’d never had before. It was wrapped in a potato chip. Strangest thing I’ve ever heard, but apparently it really sparked something in Dick. When he found he couldn’t find this intriguing snack in the U.S., he decided to make them himself. And that’s what he’s doing to this day. He calls them Nutterz and they come in four fun flavors.

So I received a box that contained three flavors: Nuclear, Mild Chili, and of course Bacon Cheddar. I don’t know what the Scandinavian version of this snack is like. I was imagining a peanut with an actual potato chip wrapped around it. In fact, it’s a peanut coated in a thick potato chip batter…like what they make Pringles from. So if you like dry-roasted peanuts and Pringles, you probably want to try this snack. They have a great crunch to them; I can see why Dick calls them the perfect beer nut. I opened a couple bags while some friends were over for drinks and they proved addictive.

Now for the flavors. The Nuclear was actually pretty spicy for a snack/chip. It wasn’t my favorite because it wasn’t as salty as I like my peanuts to be. But keep in mind that I LOVE SALT, so you’ll have to take my opinion with a grain of…you know. The mild chili was great, a bit saltier, not what I would call spicy at all. The Bacon Cheddar was my favorite by far. Very salty, very crunchy and lots of smoky cheddar flavor. And someone commented that they don’t leave any cheese dust or other residue on your fingers because they’re not flavor-coated. The flavor is INSIDE the chip. Genius.

The one type of Nutterz I didn’t receive was the CRAB NUTZ! Seriously, how great is that name? And although I love crab and am intrigued the name (CRAB NUTZ!) I had my fair share of seafood-flavored snacks in Thailand. I’m probably glad to pass on this one.

If you’re interested in trying this unique snack for yourself, you can go to B More Nutz online store and pick up a 6-pack, a case, or even a tub! Mmm…tub o’ nuts. Need I say more?

pops-logoJust before the holidays, we were fortunate to be contacted by the good folks at Pop’s Authentic, a company that makes artisan jerky and meat snack in New Franklin, Missouri. They asked if we’d like to try their product (specifically their Bacon Snack Stick) and I enthusiastically accepted. When the package arrived, I was thrilled to find a sampling of their snack stick flavors, including original, peppered, habanero and of course bacon.

It took my husband all of 5 seconds to tear into one. They look similar to a Slim Jim, which had me wary, but believe me, looks are where the comparison ends. We started with the original. It tastes like a nice smoked summer sausage, and has a nice, firm texture. It’s like having a small reminder of summer BBQs in the dead of winter. The peppered stick had a tiny bit of spice to it, and the habanero a bit more, but neither would really fit my description of “spicy.” We just eat things really hot at our house.

bacon-snack-sticksAnd then we tried the bacon. This was our favorite by far. Again, it had the flavor of  a smoked sausage, but it was a bit sweeter, like there was a hint of maple to it. I’m definitely ordering these to keep around the house because they’re a great carb-free snack. Low in fat and high in protein, each stick has 80 calories and zero carbs. The sodium is a bit high at 280 mg, but when you’re a salt freak like me, it comes with the territory.

All of Pop’s snack sticks come in boxes of 12 for $13.80. As a special offer to our readers, when you order two boxes you’ll get a third free! To place an order, just go here and enter the promo code POPS. And tell them RBS sent you!

super-thick-cut

We were recently contacted by Oscar Mayer, asking us if we’d like to try out their new product, Super Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon. Because we are no fools, we said, “yes please!” You may have seen this new bacon mentioned on, oh, EVERY OTHER BACON BLOG by now, but we here at RBS really like to take our time to savor a new experience. Look at it from every angle. Meet its mom and dad before we make a commitment.

First let’s talk about the term “Super Thick Cut.” I tried really hard to take a photo that would emphasize the thickness of these slices, but I just couldn’t do them justice. I will say this: there are only 9 slices to a pound. I’d say they’re just slightly thicker than your average slice of Canadian bacon. They’re like something from the Flintstones. Wilma would serve this brontobacon with a side of pterodactyl eggs. And Fred would love it.

Good old Oscar also sent us a handful of creative recipes to try, but I really wanted to put the bacon to everyday uses and see how it fit. I’m here to tell you, it fits like a glove. First I made the classic: bacon and eggs. It takes me about 20 minutes to make bacon of average thickness, frying it on low heat and making sure it’s cooked evenly. Drives my husband crazy. I figured this bacon would take at least 30 minutes, but on the contrary it took only 15! This was because the larger slices (in my usual small frying pan) made more grease, decreasing overall cooking time and aiding in even doneness. And 2 slices each was more than enough…we both ended up giving Brutus a bite or two.

long-beans-ahi1On to what I use bacon for most: enhancing the joy of vegetables. My husband was making seared Ahi the other night and wanted to try those cool Chinese long beans we always see at the Asian market. He used a few slices of the Super Thick Cut and seasoned it with hot chili powder. It was absolutely delicious and added a nice toothsome feature to the lightly blanched beans.

A couple nights later, I decided to try roasting some cauliflower, something I had eaten at a friend’s house. I chopped up the last two slices of bacon and tossed them with raw cauliflower chunks, then roasted it all at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. I probably should have half-cooked the bacon before adding it to the pan…it didn’t reach quite the crispiness I was looking for, but I didn’t want to over-cook the veggies. All in all, though, it was good. The bacon grease helped brown the cauliflower and of course lended it a delicious, salty flavor.

baconflower

Naseem said she ate her bacon almost immediately after I delivered it to her, so I’d say she’s giving this product 2 thumbs up. And I’m with her…I’ve not typically been a thick-cut fan, but Super Thick Cut is a whole different story. I’m backing this bacon 100%.

And now for the best news. Oscar Mayer has given us 10 FREE SUPER THICK CUT BACON COUPONS to do with what we will, and of course we’d love to share this product with our readers. All you have to do is send us an email with your address, and one of them will be on its way to you. But act fast, these will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. We’d love for you to try the bacon yourself and tell us what you think!