Thursday, October 14, 2010


We are still suffering from bacon hangovers thanks to the stellar BaconFest Chicago-sponsored bacon/beer pairing event at Paddy Long's last night. Our review will be up soon, we promise.

Now, to go find some hair of the dog...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Aside of bacon: Lady Gaga continues the meataphors

A little over a week ago, little Steffi Germanotta (aka Lady Gaga) draped her flanks in flank steak and appeared on the MTV Video Music Awards stage to make a statement about the U.S. military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. What precisely that statement is, we're not sure--but we are pretty darned sure that she's against banning gays from serving openly in the military, and that she's pro-carnivore. Also, we're pretty sure that in this anti-DADT address, she's wearing Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko's glasses.

Rasher Review: SUBWAY B.L.T.

Sometimes when you're longing for something, the universe steps in and gives you a sign. This evening, we found ourselves famished with no dinner plans, watching Where the Red Fern Grows on Encore Family (Dave Matthews played the dad--ergh) when a commercial for Subway's BLT popped up on screen. Piled to the heavens with succulent tomatoes, verdant lettuce and savory bacon, the universe spoke to us through a five-dollar beacon from above. So, we grabbed our money and schlepped to the discount-sandwich joint to procure our meals. I mean, who are we to argue with the universe?

It turns out, sometimes the universe is a cruel bastard. Look at the sandwich above. Now, look at the pathetic sub to the right. Sad. We counted seven strips of bacon, but man, that had to be the saddest collection of pork planks ever--so think they'd float away on a light breeze. We don't think we need to say how disappointing the eating experience actually was; the evidence of the bread overpowering the wussy meat slices is there in the frame. We'd have to order triple bacon to even taste it.

Now, please excuse us while we make dessert: bacon. What else?

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Good news, baconeers: Crystal Bowersox, the American Idol contestant that SHOULDA won (no offense, Lee) is one of us. Witness this tweet of a few hours ago:

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Can't Believe It's Not Bacon: HICKORY INCENSE

If there's a smell anywhere near as enthralling as the aroma of frying bacon, it is the scent of pork being cured through the magical power of smoke. If you agree, do yourself a favor and drive--or fly, hitchhike, whatever you need to do--to a little town in central Wisconsin called Wittenberg. Despite a pretty teeny population (about 1,100 if everyone's home that day), there's a decent number of attractions to hold your interest. There are charming murals adoring scores of town buildings. Diane's Restaurant serves up some of the best hot java to ever fill a mug.

And, of course, there's Nueske's.

Nueske's is the mecca of cured meats. Bacon's the star attraction, to be sure, but there's also sausages, smoked turkey, and ham tempting enough to bring a vegan to his knees. You could lose hours on end wandering through the shop, marveling at the stunning array of meats and gourmet foodstuffs--and oh, the smell. Just wandering through for a 30-minute stretch is enough to infuse your clothes and hair with the rich, earthy scent of applewood smoke. We think Heaven's atmosphere is air pumped directly from the inside of the shop, it's that tantalizing.

Unfortunately, you can't just go to the household products aisle at Target and pick up a Glade Plug-In that smells like bacon. Oh, but wouldn't it be marvelous if you could turn the key in your front door and open it to be greeted by the tantalizing odor of wood-smoked bacon? That's what we were hoping for when we procured the insanely adorable little incense burner pictured here (procured from Albuquerque-based Inciensio de Santa Fe), and a ton of little bricks of natural hickory wood. We've been in love with this company for about a decade now. Instead of the dirty-hippie smell of the chemical-laden cheapo stick incense favored by stoned college kids, these incenses smell like pinion, cedar, juniper, mesquite and--of course--hickory. We logged onto the site and ordered a bigass box of hickory cones. We figured that if we were lucky, flaming those bad boys up would create a reasonable bacon smokehouse facsimile. If not: oh, well--we'd still enjoy the fireplace-like smell of burning wood.

When we inhaled the first wisps of smoke, we exhaled disappointment. The smell was lovely, to be sure, but not very evocative of a bacon smokehouse. But then, when the incense nubs burned down and the smoke cleared, a marvelous thing happened. The campfire smell morphed into the aroma of lingering hickory smoke--just like a smokehouse! Oh, happy occasion--we've discovered a way to have the smell of bacon in our lives 24/7, even when we haven't touched the oven in days!

We've been so delighted by the bacony smell permeating the BDJ barracks that we're going to be needing another box o' hickory bricks. We're thinking of ordering more burners for other rooms (wouldn't this steam engine look fabulous in the lavatory?) so the smell of bacony smoke never leaves our happy nostrils.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


BDJ Labs ventured out last night for dinner--this time, to The Cousins, a new restaurant not very far from our place--and of course, we had to order stuff with bacon on it. The menu said our beef-bacon sammich would be adorned with three strips o' bacon, so that's what we were expecting--instead, we got about SIX. Pay attention, Wendy's, because this is what a bacon burger SHOULD look like. Nice, thick bacon slices--full length, not the sad, thin, truncated rashers atop the Baconator--to create a 1/2-inch layer of pork crowning the beef patty. For a measly $9--not too terribly much more than a Wendy's Baconator value meal--we were treated to a hearty 1/2-lb. Angus burger with a satisfying amount of bacon, and a huge pile of steak fries on the side. It's not quite Kuma's, but it was pretty darned good for a small bit o' cash and a short walk from home. If you're on Chicago's North side, go support this humble little restaurant, and applaud them for giving such good bacon.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BACONEWS: Bacon and bloggers, sittin' in a tree...

From Trying to Create Online Buzz? Just Add Bacon 

Sadly, this item doesn't contain much bacon, other than a mention of our beloved Bacon Hot Sauce. However, it does bring up a good topic: bloggers whoring themselves for free product. While we're frankly disgusted by bloggers that are willing to speak glowingly of products they don't necessarily believe in to get free stuff (we know of one mommy blogger who has a kitchen full of sparkling new appliances and didn't pay a dime for any of them), we are more than willing to review and spout fabulously compliment-laden copy about products we do support and enjoy. Hand-crafted bacon? Send it along--we'll eat it and, odds are, we'll love it. Then, we can write nice things. If you send us crap, we'll write that it's crap. In conclusion, if you stand behind your bacon product and believe that it's truly awesome, then you by all means should send it to us for trying and writing about--we would love to tell our readers about it and share the awesome with them.

Drop us a line here for more information.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


You're looking at the first course of the first satellite dinner hosted by Baconfest Chicago. Tickets for last night's event sold out lightning fast, so BFC had to schedule a second, which is tonight. In case you're one of those lucky people, I am loathe to reveal the entire menu or offer a detailed review for fear of ruining the surprise and delight that Gil Langois of Chalkboard has in store. If you didn't get a ticket, fear not--two more dinners are scheduled in the coming weeks.

I will tell you that my personal highlight last night was this opening dish--a plank of Nueske's bacon leaning against a perfectly roasted scallop, accompanied by preserved watermelon, vanilla mayo and candied Kalamata olives. Normally I hate olives (I refer to them as "the devil's eyeballs"), but dining companion Jenni Grover Prokopy and I agreed that they were tiny little nuggets of awesomeness. From the first sip of Prosecco, to the bacon-laden dessert, the entire menu was perfect--not a wrong note anywhere. We'll leave the details at that--no more spoilers.

Now that we're recovering from our bacon hangover, two things occur to us:
1. Bacon really is the king of all meats. It doesn't take a culinary genius of Langois' caliber to figure out that we've been severely limiting bacon by relegating it to the role of breakfast side dish and sandwich topping for so very long. This plucky little meat product has more tricks up its sleeve than the world's best magician.
2. Pork belly needs to be recognized as a perfectly acceptable cut of meat. I shouldn't have to schlep to a weekend farmer's market, settle for a frozen hunk at a butcher, or beg a hunk off a kindly local chef to cook it up. Fresh pork belly should be available EVERYWHERE, because it should be enjoyed by EVERYONE.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Test #304: Bacon + LAUGHING COW CHEESE

The subject
What exactly is the reason the bovine on the package of Laughing Cow cheese is so tickled? We at BDJ Labs know why. "Ha  ha!" the cow is thinking to herself. "I've conned people into buying these pasty white flavorless wedges of crap! Ha ha moo! They think it's CHEESE! Moo-wah-ha-ha!"

The Laughing Cow wedges shouldn't even be CALLED cheese--it's an insult to dairy products everywhere. We figured the horrid little triangles of blergh could only be improved by wrapping them with bacon and subjecting them to a couple minutes in a hot oven. So, that's exactly what we did...

The results
Nope. Still sucked.

The conclusion: Bacon + Laughing Cow "cheese" = udderly disgusting

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pretty pork: BACON IRON-ONS

The Renegade Craft Fair is in Chicago this weekend, bringing a crap-ton of silkscreened t-shirts, handmade pillows, silkscreened t-shirts, knitted goods, felt dolls, silkscreened t-shirts, whimsical toys, and silkscreened t-shirts to the Windy City. Baconeers in attendance saw many pork-emblazoned items on display. Makes sense--creative minds are fueled by bacon, after all. Keen-eyed Chicago writer Maura Hernandez spotted these nifty bacon-strip iron-ons in the Diffraction Fiber booth. We at BDJ will definitely be ordering some of these babies--our lab coats could use some decoration (besides the grease spots, that is).

Have you seen any nifty handmade bacon goods? Alert us by dropping a line to

Friday, September 10, 2010

BACONEWS: Bacon rocket flies to the moon!

...well, not really. However, our friends at Rather Good made a noble, valiant attempt, and wrote a rockin' song about it to boot. Call it a bittersweet victory.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Test #303: Bacon + CEVAPCICI

The subject
While Sarah Palin might disagree, we at BDJ labs are huge, huge fans of immigrants. I mean, if it weren't for all the people that swam, flew, rowed, ran, and otherwise made their way into this great land, the American diet would be a flat, featureless landscape of blergh. But, thanks to the various peoples that have come into this country, we have on the menu sushi, tacos, bratwurst, llapingachos, paella, gnocchi, pierogi, bibimbab, jibaritos, naan, and countless other taste wonders we chomp on regularly. One of our favorites in the meat area: cevapcici, or "chevaps." They're humble little Serbian sausages made of beef, lamb, pork, and a crap-ton of garlic. I mean, a lot. Usually served with a roasted-pepper sauce called avjar, cevapcici are meaty marvels that need to make their way into every Yankee's diet. We love them not quite as much as bacon, but close--so we brought the two together and baked the suckers.

By the by, this picture has nothing to do with cevapcici--it just popped up in the image search. While yet again we wonder what the frak is up with Google Images, we dig the image. Thanks, Ameeeee.

The result
Amazing. We're glad we pre-cooked the sausage a tad, otherwise the grease might have gone into the realm of overwhelming, but the end result ended up being just right. The garlic of the cevapcici didn't knock the bacon flavor out of the picture, which was nice--they balanced in a nice dance of spice and smoke and we ate every bite.

The conclusion: Bacon + cevapcici = brilliant


Chicago is in for a pork-filled weekend--on Saturday, Lincoln Hall will play host to the first-ever Chicago Bacon Takedown, an event in which bacon-minded chefs face off against each other to determine which of their dishes is king. Ticketholders get to taste the contestants' wares and decide who deserves to triumph. For the story of how the Bacon Takedown came to be, click here and read the Chicago Tribune article. To get yourself some tickets to the blessed event, you're going to want to go to this here website.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Aside of bacon: The lady's gaga for meat!

Stefani Germanotta (aka Lady Gaga) sure likes attention. With her beefy bikini cover shoot for Vogue Japan, she's gonna get it. It'd be even better if she'd donned strips of bacon, rather than flanking her flanks with flank steak, but oh, well.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Test #302: Bacon + LITTLE DONUTS

The subject
The quality of food varies widely, depending on where it's made/sold, and who's making it. White Castle's crappy little burgers, for example, are light years apart from the beefy behemoths available at Kuma's Corner in Chicago. Similarly, there's virtually no comparison between the lovingly made pastries at Bleeding Heart Bakery, and the mass-made lumps at Dunkin Donuts, and (further down) the crusty, wax-coated nuggets of mediocrity available in sacks at the grocery store. We picked up a "trinity" pack (chocolate, powdered and cinnamon) donuts at our local discount retailer and wrapped them in bacon.

The result
This is the first time we did a three-part test--that is, wrapped each flavor in bacon separately, thinking maybe one flavor of donut might stand out. Not so much--each donut was as underwhelming as the next. We had high hopes for the chocolate, believing that (as is the case with many chocolate-covered or -laden test subject) the chocolate would evolve from mediocre to heavenly and velvety; instead, it just turned into melted brown wax. Ick. Cinnamon was probably the best, but that's like saying a kick in the shins is preferable to a boot in the groin--neither would be the bestest option. In the case of these donuts, we recommending leaving the ""pastries"" on the shelf and saving the bacon for more worthy wrapping recipients.

The conclusion: Bacon + little donuts = fair to middlin'

Sunday, September 5, 2010

BACONEWS: Battle over beer 'n bacon


New skirmish in battle over beer and bacon

From CNN deputy political director Paul Steinhauser

The back-and-forth over a campaign ad Rep. Michele Bachmann recently released has become campaign fodder for both Bachmann and her opponent, State Senator Tarryl Clark.

(CNN) - Call it the food fight that won't end.

The Democrat challenging Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota's sixth congressional district is headed to the state fair Thursday. No surprise there: people from across the state make an annual trek to the state fair, which runs through Labor Day.

But State Senator Tarryl Clark's visit comes just days after the Bachmann campaign went up with a television commercial which targets her Democratic challenger for voting to raise taxes on corn dogs, deep fried bacon and beer, popular cuisine at just about any state fair in the Midwest. And both candidates are using a back-and-forth over the ad for their own campaign fundraising.

"It's state fair time and you don't want to hear about politics," says a character in the ad named Jim the Election Guy. "But while you're at the fair, you should know that Tarryl Clark here voted to raise taxes on your corn dog, and your deep fried bacon, and your beer. So if you see Tarryl Clark, while you're at the fair, just ask her: What's up with voting to tax my beer."

The Clark campaign immediately fired back.

"With no record of accomplishment to run on, Michele Bachmann is back on the air with yet another attack ad," said Clark campaign manager Zach Rodvold in a statement. "Contrary to Bachmann's claims – Tarryl consistently fights to hold the line on taxes for over 95 percent of Minnesotans, and voted for deep cuts to the state budget totaling 10 percent in the last two years alone. Unlike Michele Bachmann, Tarryl voted for balanced budgets each of the last four years."

The Clark campaign is now fundraising off the ad.

"Help us fight back against Bachmann's brand of politics – make a contribution today!" says an email to supporters.

The email also claims that the Bachmann attack over raising taxes on corn dogs, deep fried bacon and beer doesn't make sense because "it was the people of Minnesota who voted to increase the sales tax – in order to fund land conservation and clean water."

Bachmann, a two term congresswoman who is a favorite of many conservatives and Tea Party activists, is also fundraising off the commercial.

"She wants to raise taxes on state fair food like corn dogs and beer! It's facts like this that make it crystal clear: we can't afford to allow Tarryl Clark and Nancy Pelosi to defeat me," says Bachmann in an email to supporters.

The Bachmann commercial also apparently included unauthorized state fair logos, which have since been replaced.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Happy International Bacon Day!

International Bacon Day is our Christmas, our Thanksgiving, and our Super Bowl all rolled into one. This is the day upon which people all over the globe celebrate the best food in the history of eating things by consuming mass quantities of salted pork strips. However you commemorate this joyous occasion, we encourage you to send in your stories and share photos of your IBD bacon-alia. You don't have to go batshit bacon crazy by strapping slabs to your feet like this fine lass (click here for the full story of her crazy bacon footwear), but whatever you do, we want to know. Send us the goods at and we'll share with the rest of our BDJ Baconeers.

Friday, September 3, 2010


The product
Hot Pockets have a weird power over many staffers at BaconDuJour. They're not very flavorful, or nutritious, or satisfying, but they keep showing up in the lab freezer. Maybe we're lured in by the convenience (3 minutes in the microwave and boom! nuclear-hot sammich), the price (about a buck per pocket makes for a cheap lunch), but really, we think it's the space-age novelty of the crisper sleeves that turn us on.

Pocket appeal recently increased tenfold when we saw a new bacony flavor in the freezer case: Chicken Bacon Dijon. Look at that picture--sizeable hunks of bacon poking out from the nuggets of chicken, cheesy-dijony sauce, and deletably seasoned crust, who could resist? We ignored the lie put forth by the "Lean Pockets" label (8 g of fat? In one dinky sammich? Uh, no) and purchased enough of these Pockets to go around the lab. Eagerly we sleeved the Pockets, nuked the sumbitches and after letting the sandwiches rest so the filling could cool down from the molten-lava stage, and cut into them.

The results
We sliced the first test sandwich in half and took this picture. Do you see any bacon? We didn't see any bacon--not without poking around in the goo, anyway, and even then it was just a few sad little flecks of the stuff. Nice false advertising, Hot Pockets Corporation. Then, biting in didn't provide much relief--we detected a hint of bacon flavor, but that was it. Wah-wah.

The verdict: 
Move along. No bacon to see here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


If you missed Baconfest Chicago in April, you were deprived of a day-long celebration of salted-pork bacchanalia. Bacon-centric chefs from all over offered up mind-blowing appetizers, entrees, salads, desserts and even drinks loaded up with bacon. The hundreds of people that had flocked to the Stan Mansion in Chi's Logan Square hood woke up the next morning with bacon hangovers (although that didn't stop some BDJ staff from brunching the next door and ordering more bacon). As soon as the hickory and applewood smoke cleared, BFC organizers were thinking about their next big move.

"We'd been talking since April about smaller events to help feature chefs and restaurants that were doing interesting stuff with bacon," says Seth Zurer, one of the masterminds behind BFC. "It took a little time to get the ball rolling, but about a month ago we started chatting with out chefs to see who might want to host."

While Chicago is loaded with chefs that make good use of bacon, Gil Langlois at the world-class Chalkboard eatery is one of the few that really, truly, gets bacon, so his joint was a natural choice for the first BFC dinner. On Sept. 13 and 14, he'll be offering up a special bacon-crazy menu featuring Nueske's bacon, cocktails with Templeton Rye hootch, and other treats to folks gathered to celebrate the glory that is the planet's best food.

"Gil is doing a lot of wild flavor combos that will really push the edges of what we think of as natural accompaniments to bacon," says Zurer, adding that diners can expect wonders like bacon bread pudding and pickled bacon lollipops.

We can't wait. While tickets are sold out to the 9/13 dinner (at which BDJ Labs staff will be in attendance), there's still a little bit of room at the second on 9/14. Click here to grab yours.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Test: #301: Bacon and SWISS ROLLS

The subject
The best things in life aren't always free. Sometimes, they're just really, really cheap.

Take Little Debbie's super-addictive, crackalicious snack cakes. Here it is 2010, and you can still purchase an ENTIRE box (between six to 12 items, usually) of the Tiny Temptress of Taste Treats' morsels for less than two bucks. Great news if you're a budget-minded mom packing desserts into your offspring's lunch boxes, or a hippie who's spent all his food money for the week on a Phish ticket but still desperately requires a palliative for his raging munchies.

Happily, this low price point also is perfect for your loyal BDJ Lab Techs, because after purchasing a box of Diminutive Deborah's Swiss rolls for today's mad bacon experiment, we still had plenty of dough left over to procure--what else?--more bacon (priorities, people). We wrapped some of that precious bacon around some Swiss rolls and baked those fatty mofos right up. Here's how it went...

The result
Not much to look at--the finished result closely resembles a bacon-ensconced Schnauzer turd--but man oh man, are looks in this case deceiving. While Swiss rolls were never our favorite LD delicacy (BDJ staffers are split between the fudge brownies and the nutty bars), we fell ass-over-teakettle in love with the bacon-wrapped roll. The dry cake and waxy coating morphed into a velvety chocogasm of sweet, gooey bacony heaven. Were the transmographied snack cakes not so insanely rich and weighty--and were we not relatively short on test bacon for the week--we might have wrapped up the entire box o' rolls and gone batshit bacon crazy. This is definitely a bacon trick worth pulling out for your next bacon-themed get-together.

The conclusion: Bacon + Little Debbie's Swiss roll = snackeriffic!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The time is nigh...

...but not quite here. While you're counting down the minutes until BaconDuJour officially relaunches, you can enjoy this classic BDJ gem from HOVER BACON!

O Happy Day

Tomorrow is September 1. Normally that wouldn't be such an exciting day, unless you get your ya-yas out by flipping the calendar page (if you do, god bless you for being so easily entertained).

This September 1, though, is especially momentous, for it is the day upon which BaconDuJour makes its triumphant return! We'll be relaunching BDJ with more of our infamous mad bacon experiments, more interviews with salted-pork enthusiasts, more tantalizing recipes, art, jokes, anecdotes, breaking news--each item chock full of salty, savory, smoky BACON.

We'd also like more of you in BDJ. We don't plan on wrapping you in bacon (unless you maybe ask real nice), but the lab techs at BDJ would like to hear from you if you have:
  • ideas for crazy bacon experiments
  • amazing bacony recipes
  • photos of your own bacon creations
  • pictorial record of making your own bacon
  • fantastic bacon dishes you've eaten at a restaurant
  • any other bacony thoughts
 Drop us a line at We'd love to hear from you, baconeers.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


It's a tragic fact of adulthood, but sometimes you have to set aside the things you love to do to make way for obligations. In the case of BDJ, the lab techs had to take care of business literally. We loved writing about and eating tasty salted pork strips every day, but two things stood in the way:
1. Bacon costs money, and those government subsidies that would cover our bacon never did come through.
2. While eating bacon is its own reward, it's not financially rewarding--and bills don't pay themselves.

So, with sad faces and greasy fingers, the BDJ Labs team moved into hiatus, which let us attend to paying work, family obligations, travel, and other duties. Funny thing, though: While the savory scent of bacon faded from our lives, it never left our minds or hearts. Even funnier, our fans really missed it. Every day since we set aside the pork bellies, we've heard from friends and fellow aficionados, "Hey, when are you bringing back that goofy bacon blog?"

That's why Sept. 1, you'll be seeing BDJ make a comeback, bigger and better than before. Lots of bacon tasting, recipes, news, interviews with bacon-minded folk, etc. We're already hard at work coming up with great new stuff to share with you, our fellow carnivores. If we have to, we'll work a little late or early on all the other responsibilities in our lives, but we've come to realize that bacon is just one more thing we can't do without. We love it, and we're glad you do, too.

See you in September.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Mother of All Cupcake Books. Buy it. Now.

BDJ rarely posts about the same thing two times in a row, but this here cupcake tome is worth repeating ourselves for. You'll remember we posted a pic and a blurb about Who You Callin Cupcake?, the just-published collection of recipes by Michelle and Vinny Garcia, the folks at Chicago's Bleeding Heart Bakery. Now, we've had a chance to peruse the publication and share our thoughts. Our one-word review would probably be "fabulous" or something similarly glowing, because this cookbook kicks holy ass, but you probably need a few more words to convince yourself. Here's a few:

First of all, don't be surprised by this book's compact size. There are a whopping 75 recipes in this baby, each more tantalizing than the next. You could make a recipe every weekend, and then one on every major holiday, and still not make it through the damned thing.

Second, if you've stopped in and sampled the wares at Bleeding Heart, you're probably a fan and might even have a special favorite among the 'cakes (ours, naturally, is the choc/PB/bacon number). If that's the case, you'll be thrilled to learn that all the BHB masterpieces--from the ones on the menu every day, to the specialty flavors the bakery rotates--are listed in here. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Third: Praises be, the recipes are simple, straightforward, and easy to follow, so even a novice in the kitchen has a chance at creating masterpieces of his/her own. Further helping the newbies, the authors offer tips and tricks to help you avoid kitchen mishaps (i.e. avoid overmixing the vegan cupcake batter). Head BDJ Lab Tech Jenni S appreciates this because she completely sucks at making cakes and can use all the expert advice she can get her hands on.

Fourth: Vegan cupcakes! Just because your diet is cruelty-free doesn't mean it has to be flavor-free, too--and these recipes prove it. Also helpful to have if you have vegan buddies (and who doesn't these days), so they don't get left out of any cakey occasions (birthdays, weddings, bat mitzvahs, divorces, haircuts--cake's awesome for any occasion, really).

Fifth: Even if you're a total klutz in the kitchen, never bake a thing, and basically just use your home oven to store the pans that you also never use, you'd be wise to buy this book just for the photography. Bill Lambert's a seasoned food photog, and his shots definitely do the cupcakes justice--you'll want to lick the pages (don't--they just taste like paper). Incidentally, Mr. Lambert also shoots for, one of our favorite food sites, so the dude knows how to photograph the food porn.

I'm going to stop writing so you can stop reading and get yourself a copy right now. If it's before 7pm and not Monday, you can go to the bakery at the corner of Damen and Belmont and get a copy. Or, Amazon. Or, fine booksellers everywhere. You can't have this copy, though. Sorry.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dandy candy; Cupcake cookbook

The Sweets and Snacks Expo launches tomorrow. We at BDJ LOVE our candy and snacky morsels almost as much as we worship bacon (almost) and starting tomorrow morning, most of Chicago's behemoth McCormick Place expo center will be wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, asses-to-elbows with noshes, both sugary and savory. Not much bacon--but there is if you look. We'll come back with plenty (trying not to eat it all, and probably failing). When we return, we'll wrap a bunch of it in bacon, hopefully making up for the fact that we've been slackasses about updating lately, about which we feel horrible.

This picture has nothing to do with candy, except maybe candy is delicious, just like Bleeding Heart Bakery's treats are delicious, and this here is Michelle the grand poobah of BHB, and she's sweet/zingy like a Sour Patch kid, or something. Anyway, she has a new book that you should run out and buy so you can make yourself some awesome cupcakes at home. They won't be as good as hers, but then again, not everyone that picks up a baseball bat is Babe Flippin' Ruth, either. Who You Callin' Cupcake? available at fine booksellers everywhere, and maybe a few less-fine ones. Just buy it, okay? Gawd.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

BREAKIN' BACON: Pork-scented tweets

Bacon is a favorite subject among the citizens of the social media site BDJ Labs credits twitizens for spreading the word about our bacon-positive mission far and wide and making the blog the hugantic success that it is today. Why, just this morning, within the span of only a few minutes, thousands of people sent out bacon-related tweets to their followers. Here are some of the highlights.


from DulceCalor: @ChicoFC When don't you need a bacon fix? I mean, seriously. @tuscanfoodie
from Sunni_Delight: The way to @MrAndIthankYou 's heart is wit a plate of bacon lol 

from Alice Bryant: i just watched a video about bacon weaving instead of doing revision

from iHottys: Gratuitous Food Porn: Dram Shop Bacon Cheeseburger in Park Slope ...: Lettuce, tomato, chopped onion, dill pickle ...

from FearOfCode: @importantshock bacon being amazing is merely a special case of pork as a whole being very underappreciated.

from Julzzzzz: "Jake... Put down the bacon." "NOOOoooOOOOoooOOoOooOoaaHHAaahHhuhHHhHh!" ""

Monday, May 3, 2010

Test #208: Bacon and FROZEN FRUIT

The subject
In a fit of good intentions, the folks at BDJ Labs decided to make a conscious effort to eat better--ironic, considering the cholesterol fest that is our bacon-scented existence. Outside of salted pork, though, we vowed to stock our pantry with wholesome stuff--fiber-filled bread, lean meats, vegetables, and fruits. This included smoothies, so we purchased plain yogurt, and frozen fruits to blend in 'em.

Turns out the big-ass bag of frozen fruit we purchased contains diamond-hard nuggets of pineapple, berries, melon and the like, which our non-industrial blender can't handle. Balls. So, we're stuck with a bag of fruit that we can't eat--unless we thaw them, which just leads to a pile of flavorless mush. Not wanting to chalk it up as a total loss, we figured we'd wrap a few chunks in bacon and see if that led to anything positive.

The results
Nope. Each nugget of fruit just totally gave up on life--took on a wee bit of bacon flavor, but the consistency was all blegh. The pieces got all watery and, depending on the size, some even were still borderline cold in the middle. Not a pleasant eating experience at all.

The conclusion: Bacon + frozen fruit = super meh.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bacon funnel cakes: a Berry good idea

Funnel cakes are a favorite snack food of American fair-goers and amusement park attendees. Delicious as they are, though, they could always be improved with tasty toppings...but which toppings? The people at Knott's Berry Farm put the question to the people, via Twitter, to determine which funnel cake adornments would please them most. The people came back with a resounding, unified answer:

"With chocolate, and bacon."

The sweet/savory treat--fried, drizzled with chocolate syrup, and sprinkled liberally with chopped bacon--was soon added to the KBF menu. The dish was supposed to be a temporary addition, but it soon proved so popular that its status was changed from temp treat to Special Guest Star for Life. Kind of like Heather Locklear was on Melrose Place. If you have a KBT ticket and an extra $8 in your pocket, you, too, can have a chocolate bacon funnel cake to munch on.

Read the whole heartwarming story right here, kids.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Baconfest: A day in bacon-smeared pictures

Head Lab Tech Jenni S. was fortunate enough to attend yesterday's astoundingly successful Baconfest Chicago event. After sleeping off her bacon hangover, she's finally made it to her laptop. Here's her recap of the day, in words and photos (which look blurry thanks to her getting the lens all smeared with bacon grease--dumbass).

Words can hardly describe how much fun yesterday's Baconfest went. The joint was full from floor to ceiling with the smell of bacon, and crowded with bacon-loving folk high on the aroma. I could write an entire novel about everything I loved--from the Pabst and Bakon Vodka at the bar, to the gorgeous Stan Mansion that housed the whole thing. However, I'm just going to share a few thoughts and a couple blurry pics--try not to drool on your laptop as you read--on my favoritest parts.

The vendors
Bacon-friendly stores and eateries from across this great land of ours toted their wares to the event to treat attendees to some samples, and to provide baconeers the chance to leave the event with more than bacon in their bellies. Our favorites included:

Bleeding Heart Bakery: Chicago's best and bacon-friendliest purveyor of baked goods was one of Baconfest Chicago's most generous sponsors. I had the pleasure of hanging out with owner Michelle, and her leading sugarslingers Erica and Dan, for a bit during the day, and sampled a ton (well, not literally, but close) of their goods. My favorite: the chocolate-covered bacon. Better than others because they use Nueske's, and because they dip it halfway, rather than cover, in chocolate for a more balanced bite.

Bacon Salt: My love for Justin and Dave's extensive line of bacon-flavored goods is no secret. At Baconfest Chicago, I not only got to taste some of their newest products (including Bacon Pop microwave popcorn and the Bacon Ranch dip), I also got to meet and hang out with the insanely cool Dave (Justin had to stay back at the Bacon Salt HQ to hold down the fort). Hope we get to cross  paths again, and not just because he might give me more Baconnaise (yum).

Soggy Paws: Why would a dog wash set up shop at a bacon event? Because the staff at this Uptown establishment love bacon almost as they love pampering pooches and, as such, they carry a huge range of bacony items for pet lovers to treat their canines with. They have pig ears and pig hooves (both of which Otto and Willie would love to sink their teeth in right now), but they also have adorable/awesome piggy toys. Our personal favorite: the super-tough portly rubber pig that smells exactly like bacon. They also carry superhealthy foods that contain pork--they look so good that you might be tempt to open a can and dig in.

Nueske's: I'm not the only person that thinks this Wisconsin company is the indisputable king of all baconmakers--an astonishing number of chefs in the Baconfest cookoff relied on the brand for their culinary masterpieces. Nueske's team members Megan and Thomas loaded up the baconmobile and made the trek all the way from Wittenburg to share the company's prizewinning pork with event attendees. Confession: I visited the sample table about five times. I definitely need to make my annual pilgrimage to their shop north of the Cheddar Curtain more often, so I can replenish my staff of their applewood-smoked stuff.

Das Foods: Katie Das' Man Bait maple-bacon lollipops are legendary. They were a hit at the National Confectioners Association show. While I managed to snag an entire bag of delicious candies from the lovely and gracious owner, I didn't manage to snag a decent picture. Whoops.

Wheel! Of! PORK!
I'm a sucker for trivia, so I was to thrilled to see the Illinois Pork Producers (another one of Baconfest Chicago's awesome sponsors) with their Wheel! Of! PORK! The group didn't much need to push its pork-positive message to the attendees--hello? we live and breathe pork, so we're totally down--but it was a blast spinning the wheel, learning about the hardworking men and women of the Other White Meat industry, and taking home I Dig Pig t-shirts and other goods. In addition, the group spread the word of its efforts to combat hunger in the state--especially important in this nasty economy.

The eats
The spread was eye-opening--I'm a lover of bacon and I've gotten pretty creative with the stuff, but my mind was completely blown by the staggering array of fanciful dishes. There was not a single loser in the bunch--any and all of the bites I enjoyed and would order off their menus in a second--so it's painfully difficult to pick favorites, but there were a few standouts:

The Signature Room: Chef Patrick Sheerin served up a pastrami-style hunk of pork belly, topped with kimchee coleslaw and crispy rye. The sizeable hunk of bacon on the plate (tasting portion? it was practically a meal in itself) was just about the most beautiful thing I've ever seen--thick, crispy on the edges and soft enough inside it practically melted. I couldn't help myself from going back not just for seconds, but for thirds.

Socca: I've passed by this Lakeview restaurant dozens, if not hundreds, of times. The next time I'm in that neighborhood, I will not be going past, but walking right in and sitting down. Chef Roger Herring (best culinary name ever, right?) served up triple-bacon veal meatballs and asparagus with a lemon-thyme bacon sugo. I wish I could cook meatballs this flavorful and perfectly seasoned, but I'll just leave it to pros like Roger--who in addition to being insanely talented, could not be a nicer guy.

Gary Wiviott: Many people claim to be BBQ experts (suck it, Flay), but this man actually knows his shit. He's the author of Low & Slow, one of the bestest tomes on the subject of thrilling with your grilling, and he presented on the subject at Baconfest. He wasn't cooking up enough of the demo food to share with everyone, but I was in the right place at the right time and got to sample one of his famous "dragon turds"--a jalapeno stuffed with spicy sausage and wrapped in bacon. I will be duplicating that magical dish soon, believe me.

Amateur Hour: Not all the chefs at Baconfest Chicago were pros--although the five contestants in the amateur bacon cookoff (sponsored by Nueske's) are skilled in their own right. Tina Bennett took home top honors with her Bacon Strip Cookies, a wondrous shortbread concoction loaded with bacony goodness--and again, while there wasn't enough for the hundreds of attendees, I was hanging with the Bleeding Heart crew when she came through with her award and some extra tidbits.

Organizers Seth, Andre and Michael should be super proud of themselves for putting together such a letter-perfect event. And you should do everything in your power to get to Baconfest Chicago 2011. See you there, baconeers.

BaconFest Chicago: HUGE success!

The team of BDJ Labs is currently nursing a bacon hangover, after an eight-hour day of buying, tasting, talking, and celebrating bacon. Later today, we'll share with you a bit of all the glorious bacon shenanigans you missed. In the meantime, please enjoy this picture of BDJ's Head Lab tech sporting the infamous Bacon Salt strip suit.

Friday, April 9, 2010

BaconFest Chicago is TOMORROW! SQUEEEE!

If the citizens of Chicago sometime tomorrow realize that the air of their fair city suddenly smells like pork and applewood smoke, these three guys are the reason why.

Bacon worshipers Andre Vonbaconvitch (left), Seth Zurer (middle) and Michael Griggs are the fellas bringing BaconFest Chicago to reality. After months of hard work assembling chefs, vendors, and sponsors--and after decades of cultivating a love for salted pork strips--their efforts will pay off tomorrow when the doors on the festival open at the historic Stan Mansion in Chicago's Lincoln Square neighborhood.

"It's been a long time coming, with a lot of ups and downs," says Zurer. "We're tickled that the day is finally here."

So are we. Even the most die-hard bacon fanatics might end up with bacon hangovers after the event. There'll be bacon tastings from some of the most distinguished bacon-minded chefs in the country. Bacon artisans like Nueske's will be hawking their wares. Bacony edibles/drinkables like Bakon Vodka's infamous libation and Das Foods' Man-Bait maple-bacon candies will be on hand. Many are looking forward to the amateur bacon cookoff, with dishes from bacon-scallop gyoza to a BLT dog vying for the prize. There's so much stuff that not even the organizers can say what they're most looking forward to.

"I'm excited for the moment right before we open the doors," says Zurer. "I'll poke my head out and see what i can only assume will be a seething horde of excited-beyond-belief bacon lovers getting ready for their encounters with bacon greatness: checking their hair, smoothing their eyebrows, shpritzing some Binaca....

"Then I'm excited to see those same people at the end of the shift, shuffling out, goodie bags full of bacon booty, waddling a little from all the bacon they ate, smelling as if they'd been cured and smoked themselves, smiling deliriously in that pre-nap bacon euphoria."

Seriously, we at Bacon Du Jour could not be more excited. If you weren't lucky enough to get tickets, it's all right--cook up a plateful of Nueske's finest on Sunday morning and log onto BDJ for a BaconFest Chicago wrapup.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bacon hacks

"Hacking" isn't just for computers--anytime someone gets a hankering to alter a sign, billboard, placard or other public message by adding their own twisted bent on it. Sometimes, those hackers turn their thoughts to bacon:
Have you seen any bacon hacks? Perpetrated your own? If so, please send 'em along to the Head Lab Tech at BDJLabs_AT gmail_DOT com.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bacon Bad: Nightline report on bacon has no sizzle

I guess Nightline gets points for trying, but not many, because they didn't try to hard in their report on the bacon craze. One, they're very, very late in jumping on the bandwagon. Two, no one in the bacon "community" knows who this jackass is. Three, it features very little in the way of information--nothing about restaurants featuring bacon, no discussion with bacon makers, nada about events like BaconFest Chicago. Four, they disparage the fabulous bacon products from Archie McPhee, and we just can't tolerate that. We could go on, but we'll just let you watch this POS clip and judge for yourselves. Because Hulu's embed feature is totally frakked, you're going to have to click here to peep that mess.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Twinkie!

Today marks the 80th birthday of one of America's finest snack foods. Sure, they have a chemical makeup that enables them to survive decades on the shelf, and possibly endure a nuclear holocaust, but still--hard to resist the spongey sponge cake and the insanely sweet creme inside. The Twinkie was created way back in 1930 in Chicago, our hometown. Much has changed about the country since then--desegregation, television, computers, and whatnot--but our beloved artery clogger remains constant.

The Twinkie was one of the firsts bacon tests we recorded on BDJ--click here for a trip in the Wayback Machine.

Test #207: Bacon and PAPAYA

The subject
While American palettes are becoming ever more diverse, there's still sadly millions of people who don't venture outside a few dozen varieties of food or veggies at their local produce purveyor. Mango, papaya, pomegranate--these fairly common fruits are still just weird candy flavors to most Yankees. Sad--not only are these sweet treasures insanely delicious, they're also EVERYWHERE. You can find mango even at the most whitebread of supermarkets, and if you're willing to go to just a tiny bit of trouble, you can partake of the wonder that is a fresh papaya--which is what we at BDJ Labs did for our recent test. We broke into a succulent fruit and went crazy, but before the papaya was gone, we wrapped a few pieces in bacon.

The results
Yummy--the papaya didn't get too terribly squishy, and only took on a little baconness, so the taste bit remained complex and didn't turn into a homogenous blob.  Still, we think papaya is just fine on its own--not many things are great with bacon and even better solo. This is one of them.

The conclusion: Bacon + papaya = fabuloso

Monday, April 5, 2010

BDJ Under Construction

Bacon Du Jour is going under a facelift. If we were a fancy-ass big company, or had any Web budget whatsoever, we'd take hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars and pour those resources into crafting a stunningly beautiful, technologically genius piece of blogging art, launching the facelifted site with much fanfare. However, because we have no skillz and prefer to spend our money on bacon procurement, you're going to see gradual, less-than-awe-inspiring changes over the next few weeks. The design is part of it (see the banner--we're still working on it), but there's WAY more in the features/programming department, which we're more excited about than the superficial looky-look stuff:
  • MORE mad bacon experiments
  • EXCITING bacon-themed videos and vlogs
  • THRILLING stories about bacon and the people that love it
  • TANTALIZING bacon recipes from around the globe
  • INSPIRING stories from baconeers
Thank you for reading. We love you. No, really--we mean it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

BREAKIN' BACON: Bacon Baby bacon-flavored formula

The genius-pants guys at Bacon Salt have done it again--this time, a nutritious, delicious way to indoctrinate your recently-birthed spawn into the brother(or sister)hood of salted-pork appreciation. You might be tempted to hit the bottle yourself, just so you, too, can enjoy the sumptuous bacony goodness of this life-giving nectar.

If you'd like to get your little tyke sucking down bacon-flavored formula, you'd better act quickly. I hear from Bacon Salt Headquarters that supplies are extremely limited. If you love your baby, you'll waste not another second and click here IMMEDIATELY to get your formula.

My First Bacon

Ahead of next week's revamping of Bacon Du Jour, please enjoy this fabulous bacon-product from our friends at ThinkGeek....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Horror of horrors!

The idea of not being able to taste bacon was terrifying to us...until it happened! Today, we are afflicted with a nasty cold that makes us feel like our heads are packed with swamp mud, and our throats have been scrubbed with Brillo pads. Worse still, we can't taste anything, including our beloved bacon. The one upside to this: the transformation of our voices. Head BDJ Lab Tech Jenni S sounds oddly like Harvey Fierstein, which is pretty darned awesome. Anyway, the lab is going to be on hiatus until we can exorcise these germs and get our bacon-tasting mechanisms back in working order.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

BREAKIN' BACON: Bacon Rocket

We've loved RatherGood ever since their bizarro Quiznos commercials bewildered America. Now, Joel Veitch and co. are ruling the Weird Wide Web with their charmingly strange videos. This video, though, isn't odd, so much as it is GENIUS. Behold...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bruce Willis ain't bacon...

...but in this new Gorillaz video, he's just as cool:

Monday, March 1, 2010

Test #206: Bacon and VEGGIE HOT DOG

The subject
We at BDJ love meat, but we don't eat it exclusively. We nosh on veggies on a very regular basis, and we've even been known to consume meat substitutes. We're big fans of the Boca 'chicken' nuggets, we dig those meatless sausage patties (especially the maple-flavored ones), and we count the all-veg Chicago Diner among our favorite Windy City eateries. Veggie dogs, however, we just can't get behind. It's probably because they just can't match the satisfying texture and meatastic flavor of your average all-beef kosher dogs. We figure they could only be improved by the addition of bacon, so we wrapped a Smart Dogs wiener in bacon and hoped for the best.

The results
Hope died upon our first bite. The foamlike texture of the 'not dog' endured, so we felt like we were biting into a bacon-wrapped hunk of couch stuffing or something similarly non-edible. We swallowed one bite, then tossed the sample into the BDJ Labs waste receptacle.

The conclusion: Bacon and veggie hot dog = Bad dog! Bad!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Test #205: Bacon and NAPA CABBAGE

The subject
Napa cabbage doesn't come from California's famed Napa Valley wine centre. It also doesn't come from NAPA Auto Parts (fine store, but we prefer JC Whitney for all our automotive parts/accessory needs). It originated in China and is now enjoyed throughout Asia (it's the most common base for kimchi, a spicy Korean delicacy). We bought a head for use in a vegetarian potsticker recipe; since we'll have plenty of leftovers, we decided to wrap a bit of this in bacon and report on the results.

The results
Yummy--the leaf, and especially the hardy spine portion, held up well to bacon-baking, retaining a significant crunch while soaking up a nice amount of bacony flavor. We've had brussels sprouts in bacon--we think we might take some more of the napa cabbage leaves, chop 'em up, and stir-fry with some bacon and shiitake mushrooms to accompany the potstickers as a side dish.

The conclusion: Bacon + napa cabbage = yum

Friday, February 19, 2010

Test #204: Bacon and COTTON CANDY

The subject
As much as we love Morgan Freeman, we love cotton candy more. You give the guy behind the counter a couple bucks; he takes it, and turns a couple scoops of sugar into a delicious assemblage of edible gossamer sweetness, which melts in your mouth nearly instantly. Empty calories never felt so fulfilling. Because we love it so much, and because it was on sale at Strack & Van Til, we decided to wrap our cotton candy in bacon, which is something you cannot do with America's most beloved actor. Well, you could try wrapping Morgan Freeman in bacon, but something tells me he wouldn't cotton to it. Ha! See what we did there?

The results
We figured it would melt more quickly in the bacon than it normally does in our maws, and it did. However, it left behind the bright-as-bejeezus food coloring used to make cotton candy blue and pink (we're pretty sure those chemicals would endure after a nuclear attack), and sweetened the bacon itself. Not a complete waste, but not tasty enough to repeat--if you're in the mood for candied bacon, we highly recommend you just sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar and cinnamon on the strips during the last 5 minutes or so of the bacon-baking process.

The conclusion: Bacon + cotton candy = fair to middlin'