Bacon, Bacon, and More Bacon

Saturday, June 11, 2011 @ 09:06 AM

I just finished watching Bacon Paradise on the Travel Channel. I know that the world of bacon has exploded over the past few years, I had no idea that it was to that extreme. I have seen the blogs, the bacon salts, pictures of meats wrapped in woven bacon blankets, the bacon wallet, chocolate covered bacon, Bakon Vodka, and even bacon lip balm. That should have been an inkling. There are so many restaurants out there that are focusing strictly on the bacon.

Watching the program was a great inspiration to me. Given the fact that I love bacon, I now have more ideas for cooking with bacon than I had before. Yes, yes, I know. Bacon is probably one of the worst foods as far as being health conscious and cholesterol savvy. But, who doesn’t love bacon? Waking up in the morning to the smell of bacon and a pot of fresh coffee….mmmm.

Pork bellies are the American version of bacon. In Europe they use the back portion for bacon. Traditional Irish bacon looks more like thin sliced boneless pork chops. Bacon comes in other forms now as well. You can get lamb bacon now. For the more heath conscious mind set, turkey bacon and tofu bacon.

I have worked with rumaki before. For those of you that don’t know rumaki it is basically a chicken liver, a piece of water chestnut, soaked in Teriyaki sauce, rolled in brown sugar and wrapped in bacon and broiled or grilled. Not everyone is about the chicken liver. Myself included, but once you taste the combo of flavors and textures together…it just works. I have played with the recipe and made it with chicken breast and pineapple chunks. I have actually considered deep frying rumaki in my outdoor propane deep fryer.

There were a few of these restaurants on the program that actually bought in pork bellies, cured and smoked them on their premises. One place called “3” in Arlington, VA actually has a pig roast once a month, but they place pork shoulder and pork belly under the splayed pig, so that the juices from the pig drip right down over everything while it is all in the roaster box together.

One restaurant, called Slater’s 50\50, Burgers by Design, actually makes bacon burgers. Not a beef patty with bacon on top…actually ground bacon made into patties. This young man started this idea by tailgating with friends in San Diego. At the time they were making 100 % ground bacon burgers. Mr. Slater has now added 50 % beef to the mix, ergo, 50\50. The light bulb just went on for me. I am ready to go out and buy a pound of bacon, a pound of ground beef and get out my meat grinder.

Now that I am totally hungry and want bacon. I am going to a barbeque at a friend’s house this afternoon. He is all about the smoke. He has 2 BBQ smokers, a smaller grill and has just added a larger Char-Broil grill to the mix. I know that he is smoking a whole turkey, 2 pork shoulders and probably some beef too. There was no bacon to be involved…until now. I saw many places serving bacon on a stick or bacon lollipops while watching Bacon Paradise. I just so happen to have some thick cut applewood smoked bacon from the North Country Smokehouse in Claremont, NH. I am going to thread the bacon onto soaked wooden skewers, place them on the grill, and have them for appetizers. I have some cracklins that I have been saving to trysmoked as well. Think this will be the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl.

Well, now that I’ve made you hungry, go out and get yourself some bacon.

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