Tag Archives: local bacon

Bacon Brackets: Round 3, Local Edition!

Gentle Readers, this was a very exciting round of bacon tasting for The Practical Cook and Improv Cook. First, we limited the selection to two kinds of bacon, which allows for more tasting of each kind. Win. Second, because this is a local round, it was fun to gather up the contestants, and to talk to real live people who love bacon about bacon.

Bacon Spinach Pita Pizza Before Baking

Bacon Spinach Pita Pizza Before Baking

So a huge special thanks to Cliff’s Meat Market and Brinkley Farms (home of my CSA) for the bacon. Thanks to John at Eco Farm for local bacon insights.

Bacon Spinach Pita Pizza After Baking

Bacon Spinach Pita Pizza After Baking

Enough delay of game, here are the results for the brackets for Local Bacon!
To be clear, we decided to include “locally sourced” for this, as we learned that there is one smokehouse that is licensed to handle/process/deliver bacon for reselling by farmers. This explains why the local bacon tastes very similar between local sources. As I’m inordinately fond of the Brinkley Farms pork chop, I can testify to the deliciousness of their pigs.

Beautiful Pork Chops

Beautiful Pork Chops from Brinkley Farms

Brinkley Farms Bacon: Good pig flavor, not as much hammy as it is like pork tenderloin. Not overly salty, thicker and chewier than some, good for cooking, delicious fat. Second Place in overtime. (This was almost too close to call.)

Brinkley Farms Smoked Slab Bacon

Brinkley Farms Smoked Slab Bacon

Bacon from Cliff’s Meat Market: This was their “house bacon,” which we believe was sourced outside of the area. It was a bit more thinly sliced. Very balanced, cooks fast, not too salty, no one note jumps out. Good bacon taste, great texture for BLTs. First Place.

Cliff's Meat Market House Bacon, wrapped in butcher paper, of course.

Cliff's Meat Market House Bacon, wrapped in butcher paper, of course.

This was an exciting round for us, because we were struck by how much more complex and delicious the local bacon scene has become. We know there are some folks making bacon for personal consumption, or in-restaurant use, but for the rest of this, it’s nice to have options. I was a big fan of the Brinkley bacon on a biscuit, hitting the sweet spot between a pork tenderloin and a country ham biscuit, without so much salt. If you’re a fan of slightly crunchy fat, this is a good one for you.

Bacon and a guilt grapefruit.

Bacon and a guiltfruit.

Coming up next week, it’s mail-order bacon time in the final round. Will your favorite make it to the Final Four? Tune in next Friday to see! In Bacon Madness, it’s anyone’s game.

Do you have a challenge for The Practical Cook? Email me your ideas at practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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On Sunday, special birthday edition of Weekly Menus!

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Bacon Brackets: It’s Not Madness, It’s Delicious.

Gentle Readers, thought it is just a little early, March Madness has struck The Practical Cook. Traditionally, this means basketball. Here in the test kitchen, this is going to mean bacon. Yes, we will be working on Bacon Brackets, which will culminate in a Final Four, judged by a panel of fried pork experts. Why? Because how else do you know which bacon is the very best one.

When in doubt: bacon is the answer.

When in doubt: bacon is the answer.

Special thanks to Improv Cook for this challenge, and for her able assistance in executing. Here is how it will work, and what we need from you.

Bacon Brackets

We need nominations from you Gentle Readers. Here are the brackets, and we’ll have 4 contenders in each category. We’ll declare a winner from each, and then host a final four. All nominations for these categories must be submitted by February 23 to be considered. So here we go, let the games begin.

Bacon Frying in the Pan

Bacon Frying in the Pan

1. High-End Mail Order. The catalog stuff, but still accessible by everyone.

2. Organic. High-end, but available in the local store or butcher. We’re looking for the national brands here.

3. Local. You may have met the pig. This will be local to you. Feel free to submit suggestions for your region, we’ll share them with sourcing info as we have it.

4. Grocery Store. Bring it. If you want to nominate Oscar Mayer, and have a case for it, let’s hear it.

We’ll compile the brackets and report in on Fried Fridays during March, ending up with the Final Four. What do you get out of this? Hopefully some serious bacon know-how and some favorites. Because if you’re going to eat bacon, shouldn’t it be the very best?

Smile, You've Got Bacon!

Smile, You've Got Bacon!

So post a comment, send and email, tell a friend. Let March Madness begin, potentially with a BLT. Send us your bacon suggestions!

Compliments, queries, and challenges can be emailed to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Tomorrow, Gentle Readers, It’s Time for a Change.

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Filed under Fried