Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Breathable bacon finally--FINALLY!--a reality

Editor's note: We were so enthused to get this press release from the folks at Bacon Salt that we couldn't breathe. Ironically, this product--if we actually had it in our hands right now, instead of just pining after it--would HELP that problem. Read on, baconeers...


J&D’s Foods set to launch BaconAir™ Refreshing and Savory New Line of Bacon flavored Oxygen
Three years ago J&D’s Foods made a much healthier bacon delivery mechanism called Bacon Salt. It’s a zero calorie, zero fat, vegetarian, kosher and low sodium seasoning that makes everything taste like bacon –to many, it was Bacon 2.0.

Since then, our team of research scientists has been working hard on making the next leap to Bacon 3.0.

Studies have shown that inhaling pure oxygen can boost energy, fight disease, increase mental focus, enhance sexual and/or sports performance, and increase mental alertness as well as save lives. 

After 2 grueling years of research, we are proud to announce the next quantum leap in bacon technology. We call it BaconAir™, and it’s a revolutionary new product that combines the deliciousness of bacon with the unrivaled health benefits of 95% pure Himalayan oxygen. Some of the benefits include:
* Convenient and Easy to Use
* No Calories, Fat or Stimulants
* Non-Prescription
* Maximum Deliciousness

J&D’s Foods is giving away a lifetime supply of BaconAir to one lucky Baconnoisseur  - just send us an email to baconair@jdfoods.net with why you think you should be the first person to use BaconAir and we'll select a winner!

About J&D’s Foods

Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, J&D’s Foods manufactures Bacon Salt®, Baconnaise®, BaconPOP®, Bacon Ranch, Bacon Gravy, Bacon Soda, Bacon Lip Balm, Mmmvelopes and Malt Salt™.  A leader in the specialty food industry, J&D’s is known for combing unique flavors people know and love and innovative bacon themed charity initiatives such as Bacon Kevin Bacon, Bacon vs. Mayo wrestling and the Bacathlon.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bacon, business and boobs star at Ignite Chicago

Photo by Bridget Houlihan (aka @Wheelygrl)
Last night's Ignite Chicago--a series of short yet inspirational presentations--was a success. In addition to Head BDJ Lab Tech Jenni S. discussing how one can make one's one bacon at home, other speakers addressed the pleasure of driving, the science of successful startups, pleasurable driving and the evolution of American attitudes toward the female form.

Since Jenni only had 5 minutes to present her presentation, she thought she'd expound upon it here and share her entire talk, with some added notes. Please keep in mind that while speaking, she interjected many funny, insightful comments, so you should laugh out loud periodically to best duplicate the experience of being there in person.

1. Intro: Making bacon at home is time-consuming, but fairly easy. You just need a few common household items to do it, and materials you can get at your friendly neighborhood supermarket. In addition, smoking your own bacon gives you the added benefit of making whatever clothes you wear smell like the inside of an old-time smokehouse. My cell phone even smells like hickory smoke--even four days after I did the bacon smoking.

2. Why make it yourself: In addition to being crazy simple:
* patronizing local butchers or groceries and making the bacon yourself, rather than procuring from a big corporate meat processor far, far away is good for the environment, and good for your local economy.
* it can be cheaper than store brands
* you can make your own flavors--you're not stuck with the small selection in grocery stories
* DIYing meat is fun

3. Pork belly: This is the star of the show. It's a long, thin cut of meat that looks a lot like a slab of ribs. Order it without the pig skin (or pork rind), if you can--however, if you can't or don't get it without the skin (sometimes you can encounter language barriers at grocery stores), don't worry about it--leave it on and we'll remove when we're done smoking the meat. Start with 5 lbs of meat.

4. Where to get belly: You can get belly at local butchers, ethnic grocery stores, or even farmers' markets. I get mine at HarvesTime on Lawrence. Some grocers sell belly in individual strips, but you want one large hunk to start with.

5. Curing salt: This is a mixture of salt and preservative, also known as "prague powder," and it's not on every supermarket shelf, but it's not very hard to find. Look at The Spice House, Paulina Meat Market, or meat-minded sites like SausageMaker.com. Use 1/2 tsp of this.

6. Regular salt: Your salt could be sea salt, regular, iodized or not--just as long as it's salty. Mix 1/2 C of this with the curing salt.

7. Wood chips: You can really use any kind of natural wood chips, but they have to be soaked in wood (or beer, if you like) for at least three hours before you start smoking. If they're dry, they'll just burn right up without adding flavor to your meat. If they're wet, they provide the smoke that helps make bacon special. If you throw about 3-4 decent-size handfuls of chips in the water, you'll be okay.

8. The fire: You need a big charcoal grill, not just a weenie dinner-plate-size grill you'd take to the beach. Because you're cooking with indirect heat, you need a grill big enough for you to put the coals on one side, and the meat on the other side. Weber kettle grills work well. Also, briquettes.

9. Waiting: The process takes about three hours, not including the time it takes to start the grill, and you can't leave the grill unattended, so you'll need something to amuse yourself. I recommend a good book, and a good beer (or several).

10. Two days out: You'll start curing the meat by rubbing with the mixture of salts, then slipping into Ziplocs. If you need to cut the belly up to fit it into two or more bags, that's fine. Flip the slabs of meat over once a day to ensure even curing. You can also add...

11. Optional flavors: When you're putting on the salt, you can add flavorings--jalapenos, garlic, orange peel, spice blends or any number of tasty additions. A good rule of thumb is if you like it on pork, you'll probably like it on bacon. Feel free to get crazy with it. Each flavor should go in its own separate Ziploc, obviously.

12. Start the grill: Fire up those charcoal briquettes. Once they start getting less flamey and more glowy, you're going to push them all the way to one side of the grill.

13. Add the chips: Take a small handful and toss them right on top of the coals. They'll start smoking in a few seconds. I recommend standing downwind, if you can, to avoid irritating your eyes.

14. Get cooking: Cover your grate with foil, poke some holes in the half of the grate that's over the coals, and throw the pork on the other side

15. Total time: From the time you throw the pork on until the time it's done will take about three hours--you can go one hour more, or less, depending on how smoky you like it. If the smoke dissipates, add a handful of chips. If the heat's dying down, add a few coals. Look at the meat--if the fat is melting, your fire is too hot and you should get rid of a few coals, or remove the meat until the coals are a bit cooler.

16. You've got bacon: After three hours, you'll have a not-very-pretty looking hunk of meat. It'll be dark, brown, dirty, maybe even look burned on the edges. Don't worry--as with many other things in life, it's what's on the inside that counts. At this point, if your butcher didn't remove the rind, you can do that yourself--it works best when the meat is still warm. You can use two forks--one to hold the meat, the other to pierce and peel the rind. Discard the rind, or, if you're so inclined, use it to make your own smoky pork rinds.

17. Cutting it up: Use a sharp, long knife to cut about 1/4 inch thick. Thickness really affects flavor and texture--thick bacon cooks crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and is just overall more fun to eat than super-skinny strips.

18. Cooking it: There are two best ways to cook it. One, do it stovetop with a skillet (cast-iron works best) over medium heat until it's browned on both sides. Or, you could cook on a cookie sheet (with sides, to catch the grease) in a 350-degree oven--it'll take around 15 minutes, maybe more or less depending on the thickness of the bacon and your personal taste. Do not cook in the microwave, or the Bacon Police will come and take your pork strips away, because you don't deserve them.

19. Storing it: You can store your bacon in Ziplocs or other airtight containers. It lasts in the fridge about two weeks, or in the freezer for about two months. Store either sliced or whole, it doesn't matter.

20. Wrapping it up: If you  have any questions about how to make your own bacon, feel free to hit my blog (you're here right now) or drop me a line on Twitter: JenniSpinner.

Bonus post-Ignite tip: You can take this exact process, end to end, and smoke nearly any other kind of meat. Get fresh ham from your butcher to make homemade ham for Easter. Smoke your own Memphis-style ribs. Smoke your Thanksgiving turkey. You'll need to adjust cooking times, depending on the type, size and thickness of meat, but it'll work great.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

An ode to the World's Best Food

A little more than a week ago, I had an "Oh, shit!" moment when I realized I had 20 minutes until the deadline for the Baconfest Chicago 's poetry contest. I quickly whipped up a Shakespearean sonnet and submitted it. It didn't win (some bastard named Joel did), sadly. Well, not TOO sadly--while it's definitely not my best work, I am quite proud of myself for rhyming "Izard" with "tries hard." Anyway, here goes:


O Bacon, thou art truly king of meat
Thy salted pork strips, all the world doth savor
We marvel at your taste whene’er we eat
No match is there to thy ass-kicking flavor

Bacon, you doth haunt our every thought

And your dreams are gorged with bacon when we sleep
Efforts to abstain would go for naught
For thy taste makes even vegans weep

Each Baconfester samples and then tries hard

To judge the best dish made with savory Nueske’s
We nosh cuisine by all-star chefs like Izard
While imbibing our Goose Island brewskies

No other meat is worthy of a fest

O Bacon, Bacon, thou art truly best

Friday, March 18, 2011

Nueske's cookoff finalist #6: Kick out the jams

Nueske's cookoff finalist
Irene Rivera
The bacon-wrapped date is a classic bacony nosh. The combination of sweet dates and savory bacon, of mushy fruit and crunchy meat, is a nearly irresistible flavor treat. For her entry in the Nueske's Baconfest Chicago cookoff, Irene Rivera took this most fabulous of bacon snacks and elevated it to new levels of greatness by putting it in cookie form. Here, Ms. Rivera tells us about her Date and Bacon Jam Thumbprint Cookie recipe, and why she thinks bacon is the king of meats.

BDJ: How did you come up with this delicious idea?

Irene: I started with a list of both savory and sweet possibilities. There are definitely dishes that you automatically think bacon: bacon and eggs, BLT, loaded baked potato, etc... I wanted to come up with a dish that you normally wouldn't find bacon in, yet it makes sense. One of my husband's favorite appetizers to order at a tapas restaurant are the bacon wrapped dates. Bacon wrapped dates are a perfect example of sweet and salty, all food tastes better if you hit different taste buds. So after much contemplation I definitely wanted to make something sweet. The fact that your dish has to be completely assembled and you can only warm it up on site, also influenced my decision. Some of my ideas were eliminated because I knew it wouldn't hold up to transporting then reheating. Besides, who doesn't love cookies? I even adjusted the size in my second batch that I made for people who voted for me. They are the perfect two bite cookie, so you are insured to get a bite of the sticky bacon and date jam center.

BDJ: Why do you love bacon?

Irene: I love the salt and crunch. I prefer to bake my bacon on a cookie sheet with a rack. It makes for very crunchy bacon. I also love how bacon fat adds so much flavor. If you ever made a stuffing and sauteed your onion and celery in rendered bacon fat, then made the same recipe with just butter. You would feel deprived to eat the latter.

BDJ: What's your favorite way to eat bacon (besides in this recipe, of course)?

Irene Rivera's Date and Bacon Jam
Thumbprint Cookies
Irene: BLT with a fried egg, roasted tomato preferably. Answering this question is making me want to make one for breakfast tomorrow.

BDJ: Why should you win?

Irene: The competition is fierce. Without having tasted my competitors’ dishes, I am going to say I'd like to win if I deserve it. Seriously, I'm up against Joe's bacon schnitzel. I think the first time I saw the picture of his dish I had to wipe the drool from my mouth. My cookies are good; the cream cheese makes them delicate and creamy. The bacon and date jam is delicious, so much that I have a small container in my refrigerator of just the jam alone so I can spread it on toast.

BDJ: Anything to add?

Irene: Good luck to all my fellow competitors. I'm just excited to be part of this awesome event.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nueske's cookoff finalist #5: Say cheese(cake)!

Nueske's cookoff finalist
Tyler Hall: bacon is his
cup of tea.
If there's one thing we really love about the surge in bacon love over the past few years, it's the creativity. People are finding all sorts of new ways to cook bacon, flavors to pair with it, and places to boldly go where no bacon has gone before. In the case of Tyler Hall's potentially prizewinning entry in the Nueske's Amateur Bacon Cookoff at Baconfest Chicago, the unexpected combination of savory meat, sweet sugar, and earthy flowers crash together in a crazy yet delightful way. Let's take a peek inside the mind that came up with Lavendar Vanilla Caramel Candied Bacon Cheesecake...

BDJ: How did you come up with this delicious idea?

Tyler: Inspiration from Lady Gaga's meat dress...seriously. I came up with the idea to do a bacon cheesecake with a friend who is the king of cheesecake, Matt Pettiti.  We ended up making five different cheesecakes: Mexican, Asian, Mae Ploy, Breakfast, and Lavender Vanilla.  The Lavender Vanilla Caramel Candied Cheesecake won out because of the flavors that we couldn't stop eating.

BDJ: Why do you love bacon?

Tyler: Bacon, of course, makes absolutely everything better. There are very few things that a good pork belly can't make better. I even gave my brother a pork belly to smoke for the holidays this year. Having been to both Baconfest and the Pro Bacon cook-off last year I've learned a lot about the versatility of the product and the respect you should have for it. Still wondering how bacon isn't considered King of umami?

BDJ: What's your favorite way to eat bacon (besides in this recipe, of course)?

Tyler Hall's Lavender Vanilla Caramel Candied Bacon
Tyler: I don't think there is just one way.  I think there are memories that I have when having bacon for the first time with my grandparents.  I remember having Bacon Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches where I subbed the tomato with cheese. I also remember lots of bacon and eggs.  Now I'm to the point where I'm putting bacon in Cheesecakes and really experimenting with bacon as a crisp fully cooked piece or a more manageable piece such as wrapped around a peach in a salad with goat cheese.

BDJ:  Why should you win?

Tyler: I believe I should win so can help spread the idea of bacon as something more. I take things that don't seem like they should go together and make them work.  To that end I hope to inspire others to make something unusual and take risks to make something great.

BDJ: Anything to add?

Good luck to the other Cylons and I can't wait to try your creations.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nueske's cookoff finalist #4: All you need is loaf

Nueske's cookoff finalist Elizabeth
Schuler has her eye on bacon.
When the paths of tradition and innovation intersect, great things can happen--especially when bacon also comes into play. That very well might be the case with Elizabeth Schuler's finalist entry into the Nueske's Amateur Cookoff at this year's Baconfest Chicago. Her recipe takes the humble meatloaf--a dish not normally known to induce thrills--and boosts its excitement factor up considerably with cumin, coriander...and, of course, bacon. And, if you dig this recipe, she's got more deliciousness up her sleeve--check out her blog My Communal Table for tons of other amazing dishes. Here, Ms. Schuler explains her inspiration, and her love for salted pork strips.

BDJ: How did you come up with this delicious idea?

Elizabeth: I love meatloaf, but I love cold meatloaf sandwiches as much. So I started to put things in a meatloaf that I loved to find in a terrine. Pistachios, etc. and then rolled completely in bacon. I can't wait to share it with all of you.

BDJ:  Why do you love bacon?

Elizabeth: I love how a small piece of bacon can add so much flavor to a dish. I love how satisfying it feels to have bacon with eggs in the morning, but most of all I love the look on my small son's face when he is consuming bacon. He is sooo happy. It is food of love.

BDJ:  What's your favorite way to eat bacon (besides in this recipe, of course)?

Elizabeth: Simply it is the BLT! Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich!

Elizabeth Schuler's entry takes the humble meatloaf
and kicks it up several notches with spices and bacon.
BDJ:  Why should you win?

Elizabeth: I am going to let my food do the talking. The best food should win.

BDJ:  Anything to add?

Elizabeth: I am really excited to meet all the competitors and witness their creative dishes. I am really looking forward to experiencing all the inspiration that these world class chefs are going to present at the fest as well.  It will be fun to chill with some bacon poetry and lots of cured meats.

Bacon Du Jour

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nueske's cookoff finalist #3: Nacho mama

Monica Sehgal Sharma, creator of
tandoori bacon nachos.
If we had to pick our favorite non-bacony cuisine, it might be Indian food. We love the spices of dishes like chicken vindaloo, the savory goodness of samosas, and--if (God forbid) all bacon were to suddenly disappear from the planet--we might bestow the World's Perfect Food title about the fluffy, chewy taste treat known as naan. The only thing that could possibly improve the fantastic flavors of Indian food: bacon.

Well, Monica Sehgal Sharma--one of the finalists in the Nueske's Amateur Bacon Cookoff at Baconfest Chicago--has rectified the situation and married the two flavors in her finalist dish, tandoori bacon nachos. They use chicken skin instead of tortilla chips. Brilliant! Let's learn more about the genius and inspiration behind this tantalizing dish.

Monica's Indian-inspired tandoori bacon nachos.
BDJ: How did you come up with this delicious idea?

MSS:  I came up with the idea of deconstructing tandoori chicken, a staple dish in my house....so replacing the chicken for bacon was an easy start, using the same marination methods for the bacon was trial and error, but I got it just right!

 I wanted to create a one-bite amuse bouche that gives someone the experience of tandoori chicken.  So the smoky tandoori bacon combined with the freshness of the tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro with the splash of lime juice makes the dish almost perfect, the crispy chicken skin chip is the base for this dish and the element that makes it perfect! 

BDJ:  Why do you love bacon?

MSS: Bacon is salty, sweet, spicy, and smoky, it takes whatever form you want it to and adds a dimension to any dish that no other protein provides....the best part is that it's cost effective, it enhances a dish and doesn't clean you out!  A little goes a long way and using alot is always welcome, you just can't go wrong.

BDJ:  What's your favorite way to eat bacon (besides in this recipe, of course)?

MSS: My fav way to eat bacon....hmm, that's tough, there's no bad way to eat bacon!   But, I like bacon as its first use, for BREAKFAST!    I love bacon that is  braised in maple syrup or even just eating pancakes and bacon and letting the syrup run into the bacon...the sweetness and the saltiness MAKES FOR A GREAT COMBINATION.

BDJ:  Why should you win?

MSS: I think I should win because I've created a dish that truly is different and original (what indian restaurant serves tandoori bacon? I have yet to find that place!).  The dish also represents my abilities as a cook to balance flavors and texture and to create an experience in your mouth.  I also show my creative and innovative side in using the chicken skin to make the perfect platform for my dish, which adds flavor and practicality to my dish.  My creation really brings together how I think and feel about food, and as a cook, sharing who you are in the food you make is what makes it unforgettable.

BDJ:  Anything to add?

MSS: I am really excited to show the world what I am about as a cook and as a person.  I am ready to take myself to a new level personally and professionally and having this opportunity at Baconfest Chicago is just amazing!  I get the chance to meet incredible chefs, talk to people that eat, sleep and live for food like I do, and most importantly, I get to share a piece of my world with all of you! Good luck to my fellow contestants, everyone's dishes look amazing!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nueske's cookoff finalist #2: Beer+bacon=success!

Nueske's Bacon Cookoff finalist Joe
Ruenwald. He's on the left, we think.
Greatness arises from many things--a hunger for fame, drive for success, a desire to help all mankind. In the case of Nueske's Amateur Bacon Cookoff Finalist Joe Ruenwald's bacon schnitzel, the creator drew upon the power of beer. Since many of BDJ's own mad bacon experiments are fueled by booze, we heartily approve of the source of his inspiration, and look forward to sampling it at Baconfest Chicago. Read on to find out about Joe's appreciation for good beer and great bacon.

Joe's Bacon Schnitzel draws upon a family recipe.
BDJ: How did you come up with this delicious idea?

Joe: First off, I set down some criteria for what I think a winning recipe would be.
1) Bacon is the main ingredient - not just sprinkled on top type of thing
2) It is a unique dish - never seen on a restaurant menu or a recipe website
3) It honors the rich heartiness (not heart healthy-ness) of bacon

My brainstorming from there went down the thought process of, what have I made for dinner that blows everyone away?  Some of the other ideas I tested out were bacon eggrolls, bacon rangoon, buffalo bacon sandwich, and bacon brownies.  None of these turned out bad, but none seemed like winners either.  So I do what I always do when I need inspiration.  I went to the fridge and I grabbed a bottle of my home brewed dunkelweizen.  Before I could finish pouring it into a glass I realized bacon schnitzel is the answer. All that remained was to take my grandmother's schnitzel recipe, and rebuild it from the gravy down.

BDJ:  Why do you love bacon?

Joe: Because it tastes great.

BDJ:  What's your favorite way to eat bacon (besides in this recipe, of course)?

Joe: On toast with crunchy peanut butter.

BDJ:  Why should you win?

Joe: I should win because I have crafted a dish that showcases all the wonderful properties of bacon while keeping bacon as the star of the show, and it is incredibly tasty as well.

BDJ:  Anything to add?

Joe: Best of luck to the other bacon cylons out there.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Nueske's cookoff finalist #1: Bacon is HOT!

Michi Trota slings bacon and spins fire. Aw, yeah!
Photo: Matt Porubcansky
Michi Trota's awesome flourless bacon and spiced chocolate torte recipe landed her one of the much-coveted finalist spots in the upcoming Nueske's Amateur Cookoff at Baconfest Chicago. When she's not playing with or eating with bacon, she's spinning fire monthly at Chicago's Full Moon Jams, which is pretty danged awesome. Here she shares some secrets and insights about her love for the World's Perfect Food.

BDJ: How did you come up with this delicious idea?
MT: I love desserts - as far as I'm concerned, they are the vital capstone to any meal. I don't care how great the appetizer or entree was, if the dessert isn't up to par, it's like going on an amazing date only to get a handshake and a "I'll call you sometime" at the end of the night.

I've been a big fan of the trend incorporating bacon into traditional sweets. The saltiness of bacon is a natural pairing with the richness of chocolate - I've had bacon with milk, semi-sweet and bittersweet dark chocolate and in my opinion, it pairs best with semi-sweet because there's enough of the sweet notes in the chocolate to balance the salt of the bacon without either being overwhelmed. So that was the basic idea behind the torte: balancing salt & sweet notes and also the crisp crunchiness of the bacon with the dense, velvety texture of the torte. The whiskey in the torte batter was a bit of a whim but it pairs well with both the chocolate and bacon.

I also LOVE spice with chocolate, and the smokiness of chipotle chili pepper and the slightly more sweet taste of ancho chili pepper seemed like great accents for both the bacon and chocolate, so I worked that into the ganache but not the torte. Maple with bacon seems like a foregone conclusion, so I worked a little bit of syrup into the caramel drizzle decorating the cake. The maple in the caramel also plays off the piece de resistance on the cake: bacon candied in maple syrup and a touch of brown sugar. I think the bacon candy is my favorite part about the cake. I had a friend who makes bacon candy by coating it in sugar and baking it, so the idea came from conversations with him about the best way to crisp the bacon without burning the glaze. It ended up being far easier to make than I thought and now that I know how to do it, it's DANGEROUS knowledge because that stuff is like crack. I have to make far more bacon candy than I need for the cake because it ends up becoming snack food.

BDJ: Why do you love bacon?

MT: Seriously? You need to ask me this? I'd have to counter with another question: "How can anyone NOT love bacon??" It's salty crispy magic in your mouth and works in both savory and sweet dishes with the right amount of creativity. Everyone should embrace the power of the Pork Side.
Michi Trota's flourless bacon and spiced chocolate torte.
Photo: Michi Trota

BDJ:  What's your favorite way to eat bacon (besides in this recipe, of course)?

MT: A very difficult question. I do love grilled cheese with a very sharp cheddar, tart Honeycrisp apples & pepper bacon on sourdough; or cider bourbon-braised bacon (this recipe on Salon.com was fan-freaking-tastic so if you can get slab bacon, I highly recommend it!). For sweet, bacon & chocolate of course - the Vosges Mo' Bacon bars are delicious - although next I plan on experimenting with adding bacon hand-rolled chocolate truffles and creme brulees (hand torches and bacon? How can you go wrong?).

But I guess if it came down to it, eating a simple, perfectly crisp piece of bacon hot out of the oven would be my favorite.

BDJ: Why should you win?

MT: Obviously everyone who entered the contest loves bacon - I know that for me, it was a pretty significant amount of time and effort to make that cake and I can't imagine that any of the other entrants did any less. And I'm really very impressed by the creativity in many of the dishes, especially in my fellow final contestants. I think what it comes down to, though, is how good the dish is - taste, texture, presentation and how well it showcases bacon. So I'd say that I believe I should win because my dish hits all those checkmarks. Yes, there is spice and maple and chocolate, but those flavors don't overwhelm the bacon, they enhance it so that the bacon shines - literally. I took a picture of a piece of the torte on a sunny day with the light coming through the piece of bacon candy and it looks like stained glass (attached to the email). I just hope the judges agree with that assessment!

BDJ: Any last words?

MT: I'd like to say "Thank you" to everyone who voted for my dish because I wouldn't have made it in without those votes. Also, "Congratulations and good luck!" to the other Final Six. I can't wait to try their dishes. I'm especially intrigued by the Tandoori Bacon Nachos - crispy chicken skin "chips?" That's genius!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nueske's Baconfest cookoff finalists announced!

In advance of the much-anticipated second annual Baconfest Chicago event comes the announcement of the finalists in the Nueske's Amateur Cookoff competition. Apparently, the folks at BFC had such a hard time whittling down the awesome entries, they had to pick SIX entries, instead of the five they'd originally planned on. The culinary creations in the bunch are amazing--so much so, that BDJ Labs wanted to pick the brains of the kitchen geniuses behind the creations. Stay tuned over the next few days, when we'll be posting thoughts and inspirations from the finalists, and we'll see what makes them tick.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bacon Academy basketball

Sounds better than a quidditch game at Hogwarts, right?

Unfortunately, while Bacon Academy bears an ultracool, delicious-sounding name, it's a name and name only. There are no classes in curing pork, as far as we can tell. There is, however, a decent girl's basketball program, as this recent news headline demonstrates.

Bacon struggles in second half but advances to L semis with win vs. Berlin

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gluten-free bacon!

Bad news: One of our own was recently diagnosed as a celiac--meaning, she can't have gluteny goods like bread, pasta, cookies and other delectables. It's amazing how many foods wheat and its various components sneak into. Uncle Ben's rice, for instance. You'd think it'd be safe, seeing as how the main--and, logic would dictate, only--ingredient is rice. Wheat's like Bobby Brady in the back seat on Greg's groovy date at the drive-in: getting in the way, unnecessary, and generally just effin' things up.

Good news: Bacon is GLUTEN-FREE!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weird bacon pic

You're welcome--or we're sorry, either way.
Incidentally, cooking bacon while naked? Never a good idea. NEVER.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Stop! Bacon thief! (or, Purloined sirloin)

From the Chicago Tribune:

Around 1,500 pounds of meat stolen in central Iowa

Barry Sedlacek (sed-LAH'-chek) owns Sedlacek's Wholesale Meat Co. He told the Marshalltown Times-Republican that the thief or thieves got in last weekend and took the meat, a scale and some cash.

The Marshall County Sheriff's Office estimates the loss at $1,900, but that didn't include the meat cost. Sedlacek says that adds several thousand more dollars to the total.

He says whoever took the beef and bacon has to sell it somewhere, so he's hoping for help from someone on the community who is offered a meat bargain.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Shakin' and bacon

Almost as much as she loves bacon, Head BDJ Lab Tech Jenni S. enjoys shakin' her plump rump to some sweet, sweet grooves. Which is why she's very glad she's discovered the wonder that is Dance Dance Party Party--a few nights a week, a bunch of broads gather at a dance studio and get their groove on in the name of fun and fitness. No dudes, no drinking--just getting jiggy with it. Last night, she made her DJ debut, under the moniker "DJ Bacon Strippa." So sad you couldn't have been there--but if you read the lovely entry the nice ladies that run DDPP Chicago wrote about her, it's just like you're there. Click here for the playlist, and some more sweet bacon mashup pics.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"First rule of the farm, don't name your food!"

Words of wisdom from Chicago native and chef extraordinaire Art Smith, which he handed down via tweet to Head BDJ Lab Tech Jenni S. He's a bacon guy and farm lover, so he would know. Plus, it just makes sense. Who'd want to munch on a plate of savory pork strips and exclaim, "Boy, Wilbur sure is tasty!"

Here's a pic of the adorable Chef Smith, with some random woman.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bacon's magic pans out

Macheesmo.com is a great site geared toward helping timid, amateur chefs become bolder about kitchen activity. The site recently featured a wonderful, magical tip about the healing powers of bacon--specifically, the power to help restore a cast-iron skillet to useful life.

First of all, if you don't have, or regularly use, a cast-iron skillet, you're missing out. Not only do these heavy-duty beauties make great murder weapons (heavy, solid, balanced--no skull can stand up to a good swing!), they're just about perfect cooking tools, because they retain heat and cook stuff evenly. However, they need tender loving care--neglect, overuse, washing with soap, and other things can dull a skillet's lovely black sheen. When that happens, it needs to be recharged, or "seasoned," to bring it back to its former glory. Scrub the rust away, and use bacon grease to revive it. Click here for the full details.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bacon-eating champ? We're not impressed.

Watch the below video and witness the World Bacon Eating Championship, which went down in St. Louis yesterday afternoon. The winner--charmingly named Dave "Coondog Dawg" O'Karma--wolfed down 40 rashers in the five-minute time frame. Frankly, we're not impressed--we've done that many strips in far less time. We don't even find the world record of 54 pieces in five minutes all that daunting. Look for BDJ lab techs to enter the world of competitive bacon eating soon.

Incidentally, the event was sponsored by Beggin' Strips; however, the strips consumed were real meat, not the faux-pork canine treats.