Best Bacon of 2009

I started rating bacon at the beginning of this year so as it comes to a close it seems appropriate to take a look back at the best bacon I’ve had this year. Below is a list of all the 4-strip ratings of 2009... Happy New Year!

Sala - datil (dates stuffed with almonds, wrapped in bacon)

Applewood - applewood smoked bacon

Char No. 4 - cheesy bacon grits

S’mac - 4 cheese mac with slab bacon

Salt - honey-glazed, bacon wrapped dates

Char No. 4 - grilled asparagus with bacon dressing

Irving Mill - bacon cheddar burger

Hale & Hearty - sweet corn chowder with bacon

Nolita House - mac & cheese with bacon

Permanent Brunch - Hungarian smoked kolozsvari
(also available at Grateful Palate)

Bacon, It’s Cold Outside

At least here in New York it is. I think it was about 10° out yesterday so I decided to break out my Bacon Cookbook to find a hearty winter recipe. Maytag beef and bacon stew? Perfect. Except... I'm not a huge fan of blue cheese or peppered bacon. I am however a big fan of traditional beef stews with potatoes & carrots which this recipe doesn’t call for. Here’s my take on beef & bacon stew:

6 slices Berkshire thick-cut bacon
3 large onions
2-3 carrots
2 potatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 lbs. beef shoulder cut into chunks
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup ale/full bodied beer
pinch of dried thyme, crumbled
pinch of dried rosemary, crumbled
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper to taste
2 cans beef broth
1 tablespoon cider vinegar


1. Chop onions, carrots & potatoes into large pieces.

2. In a large pot fry the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels & crumble. Set aside.

3. Add the onions to the bacon fat & cook slowly over very low heat for about 10 minutes.

4. Add the carrots and cook another 10 minutes or until onions are nicely caramelized. Transfer to a plate.

5. Dust the beef in flour, tapping off any excess.

6. Add vegetable oil to the pot over high heat & brown beef on all sides. Transfer to a plate.

7. Add ale to the pot & deglaze.

8. Put the meat, onions, and crumbled bacon back in the pot. Add in the rest of the ingredients & bring to a boil.

9. Reduce heat & simmer covered for about 3 hours or until beef is very tender & vegetables are soft.

10. To thicken: take about 1-2 cups of liquid from the pot. Place into a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk until smooth. Add back to the pot & mix well.


Piggy Bank

There are plenty of interesting bacon-themed gifts you can give the bacon-lovers on your list. But if you don’t have the desire or time to hit the mall, why not give a pig? This is not like Daily Candy suggesting that you give pigs as pet presents—really Daily Candy??! Heifer International animals are like “living savings accounts” for struggling families and the pig yields the highest interest. Donate a pig in the name of whoever you wish for $120 (or just $10 for a share). Each pig is a valuable source of income provided by the sale of offspring and manure to nourish crops.


Review: Mandansui

Dinner at Mandansui on 35th between 5th & 6th in K-town.
Daepae Sam-gyeop-Sal:

Lazy Pig

WIth the all the craziness of holiday season, I’ve been getting very very lazy... posting less on the blog and opting to share links on Facebook instead. So, I do apologize for neglecting the baconista blog lately. I know not everyone is a Facebook user and probably a lot of you are just as lazy as I am. So to help you impress at holiday dinners, Flying Pigs Farm has this handy thaw-and-roll pie crust made with pork lard! I recently had food catered by Flying Pigs at ILWTR’s engagement party. Everything from appetizers to cupcakes (and especially their pork!) was delicious. No pie... but I did have General Greene’s apple pie with a pork lard crust. It was insanely good & I would love to try to create my own version—when I’m feeling less lazy of course. You can find Flying Pigs at the Union Sq. or Grand Army Plaza Greenmarkets on Saturdays.


Review: Prime Meats

Dinner at Prime Meats on Court & Luquer in Carroll Gardens.
Black forest bacon (part of the Vesper Brett):


Like actual bacon, this wild boar colored dachshund named Bacon is a bit fatty. But I think he's just adorable. Unfortunately, he has been in rescue for nearly 2 years! Who wouldn’t want to bring Bacon into their home??!! For more info on Bacon (the dog) click here.


Great Gifts for Baconistas

Besides the ultimate gift of bacon, there are other bacon-related items you can give your bacon-loving loved ones this holiday season. Below is a list of a few places to find them.

Gorgeous letterpress pig posters.

All kinds of crafty, hand-made bacon items: art, accessories, housewares, toys...

Lots of bacon-chocolate treats to choose from.

Pig tees, the perfect apron, and actual bacon too.

Find delicious cookie recipes for a special, home-made gift.


4 Cheese Mac with Bacon

Not the best picture—had to use my cell phone. Below is the recipe I used based on Emeril’s but with rotini instead of elbow pasta and adding bacon of course!

2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon, plus 1/2 tablespoon
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup Half & Half
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus 3 teaspoons
1/2 pound rotini pasta
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
1/8 cup fresh bread crumbs


1. Cook and drain 4 strips of bacon. Crumble and set aside.

2. In a heavy, medium sauce pan melt 2 tablespoons butter over low heat. Add flour & stir constantly for about 3 minutes.

3. Increase heat to medium & whisk in the Half & Half little by little. Cook, stirring frequently for about 4 minutes or until thickened.

4. Remove from heat and season with salt & pepper. Add 1/2 cup of Parmigiano and stir until melted and smooth. Cover & set aside.

5. Cook pasta per package directions. Drain and return to pot.

6. Add garlic and 1 tablespoon butter to the pasta. Stir to combine.

7. Add bechamel sauce and bacon to pasta. Stir until well combined. Set aside.

8. Preheat oven to 350°and grease 8" x 8" baking dish with remaining butter.

9. Combine remaining Pamigiano with 3 other cheeses.

10. Place half of the pasta mixture in the dish. Top with 1/3 of the cheese mix. Repeat, covering the 2nd half of pasta with the remaining 2/3 of cheese.

11. Combine bread crumbs with 3 teaspoons of Parmigiano. Sprinkle over the mac & cheese.

12. Bake for 40 minutes or until bubble & golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Scrapple Snarkiness

Who knew that a mess of pig parts and cornmeal could cause such a stir? When this recipe for Scrapple ran in the New York Times in 1872, it sparked a 2 week long discussion via snail mail amongst readers. Today it’s just too convenient to click a button & leave a snarky comment on any subject matter online. Imagine actually having to write a letter, mail it, and then wait for it to possibly be published. Technology has made it faster & easier for us all to showcase our inner foodiot. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not... care to comment?



Thanksgiving Day is by far my favorite holiday—it's all about food (and well, family of course). My 98 year old grandmother is who I attribute my love for all things greasy. This is the woman who, on many occasions, would make my brother and I a pile of bacon for breakfast because that's all we wanted. Sadly, she had to spend Thanksgiving this year in the hospital. When I first arrived, she was asleep... as she finally began to stir, I moved in close to let her know I was there. The first thing she said? “Barbecue.” Yeah, we are definitely related.