Going for Seconds at Baconopolis

The buzz for Baconopolis was reaching a fever pitch as we were getting closer to the event. Twitter was aflutter. The blogosphere was excited. The general populace was starting to froth over the festivities. And with tickets sold out way in advance, the anticipation was on another level. All for the delicious bit of smoked pork belly that we all know and love as Bacon. If there was ever an event to put bacon up on an alter it was this one. We can thank Tom Douglas and his team for bringing Baconopolis to us.

We arrived a bit early to see Eric Tanaka, the executive chef for all of Tom Douglas’ restaurants, working the grill outside the Palace Ballroom. Eric is a super cool guy and very personable, so it was great to see him warming up the crowd. As a primer for the event, Eric was griddling Oscar Meyer bacon to sample. Apparently, Oscar Meyer is the #1 selling brand of bacon in the country, so it was fun to try it as a barometer for the good stuff we had in store for us. My thoughts? Not much fat, not much meat, tasted a bit like charcoal, but hey, it’s bacon, it didn’t totally suck. But we had much grander bacon in our future.

Stepping through the Ballroom foyer we were handed our menus and noticed a funky little necklace that the greeter was wearing. It was a couple of strips of bacon and some sunny side eggs in the shape of skull ‘n crossbones. Sweet. And they were made by a waitress at Lola and were for sale at the event.

Here is the rundown of bacon producers and the dishes that the Tom Douglas team made with them:

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For love of Bacon – Tom Douglas’ Baconopolis

-UPUDATE #2: Round two of Baconopolis is on Friday 2/26! Click for details.

-UPDATE: I survived Baconopolis! Here is my story to live to tell about it.

Raise your hand if you love bacon? Oh, ok, everyone. Which makes sense, bacon has an obsessive devotion amongst its legions of fans. I’ve heard stories of vegetarians sneaking it on the side. ‘Bacon – the gateway meat’ is an appropriate statement. I’ve written about the magic of bacon fat and how great it is, but I realize that not everyone would be crazy about saving bacon fat (although you should). Now there is another really cool event rolling right around the corner; Tom Douglas will be having his Baconopolis next week.

Tom has received all sorts of love from this very blog, and it’s all very well deserved. He knows how to create fun events; Baconopolis is no exception. It’s next Friday 4/24 at his Palace Ballroom on 5th and Lenora, across the street from the Palace Kitchen. The event rolls from 6-8pm and is only $20 for tickets. And you get a drink with that! Not a bad deal for some booze and bacon.

Ah, the bacon. In the description of the event, it’s mentioned that there will be different producers to sample their bacon. Dishes such as butterscotch bacon bits or bacon carbonara are on the menu. Interesting – as someone that has dabbled into the world of bacon ice cream, I’m curious at any unique application of bacon.

The contact info I have is  Christy at (206)448.2001 or via email at christinal@tomdouglas.com. Get in touch with her for a fun night of bacon indulgence.

The Magic of Bacon Fat

With so much love for bacon across the internet and blogosphere, it can be a bit overwhelming; its possible to reach an oversaturation point. Which is where I am right now with bacon. But there is one great causal effect of making so much bacon – bacon fat.

I was first introduced to the thought that bacon fat as something great when I attended the Fat event with Jennifer McLagan earlier in the winter. I always loved bacon, but I realized that I was just wasting the bacon fat – and then I started saving it. Yup, I started to keep the grease from each batch of bacon that I made.

This is where a lot of my friends get freaked out and can’t comprehend what I’m doing. So what, I have awesome bacon fat to sauté vegetables in, or anything for that matter. It lends an incredible flavor. In fact, Serious Eats had an entire post listing out what to do with bacon fat.

One thing to consider is to do this when you buy good bacon, the stuff you get from butchers or doesn’t have too much ‘stuff’ added. This bacon will render a better fat because it isn’t loaded with the nitrites and chemicals a lot of companies use. And the bacon tastes better.

So why save it? Bacon fat has such a great flavor that isn’t at all overpowering. For example, a bacon vinaigrette can take a humble salad to higher levels. It’s a staple in Southern dishes. Also, in this day and age of value and sustainability, isn’t it a good idea to utilize as much as we can from the things we cook? By saving the bacon fat you can do this.

And how do you save it? Because it is a hot liquid, wait for it to cool down a bit from cooking. Then place a bit of cheese cloth over your storing vessel (Tupperware or glass jars work well) to strain out the larger bits, pour and tada – bacon fat is ready for you! Keep it in the fridge for about 6 months or put it in the freezer. It’s not really the healthiest thing, but neither is the parent it comes from and that doesn’t stop people from enjoying it.

I’m a bit overloaded on bacon at the moment, but I still love it and I think I love my bacon fat even more. For those might think it’s odd, get over yourself, you’ll be using it all the time. You’ll find yourself with a mischievous little grin every time you use it to cook. And that’s a good thing.