Friday, July 18, 2008

Ode to Chris and his Bacon

My dear friend Jaime is not fond of my bacon lifestyle, but accepts it. It really is all I talk about some days, it inspired her to write this little poem.

E.coli on my lettuce,
Salmonilla on my tomatoes,
Oh pray, what is next to come?
Parasites on my potatoes?

But alas there is one,
Who makes life so complete;
Not a veggie or a fruit,
But the king of all that is meat.

This is my ode to bacon,
Although I hate it so,
It has captured my friend Chris
In it's marble striped cloak.

He buys his bacon by the pound
And on his plate a mound so high,
For his bacon he has much love,
A great love that money CAN buy.

A love that reaches far beyond taste,
With bacon trinkets and doodads galore;
Bacon toys, bacon floss, bacon this, bacon that;
A bacon carpet even adorns his floor.

An expert in the bacon field,
And a self proclaimed critic of the divine meat.
With his blog about bacon,
He even declared "bacon domain" for this week.

No one can compete with this love for bacon,
And bacoterian is how he defines his race.
So much does he feel akin to this fare,
Not for any other meat could his love misplace.

This is my ode to bacon,
Although I hate it so,
But so much to I care for my dear "Bacon Chris"
That out of much love, my respect for his bacon, I will show.

"How awesome is Niman Ranch" or "Life+blogging=hard"

OK, so it has been over a month since the last post. Not to worry I have not given up on bacon. In fact this week I have declared it the unofficial "bacon domain week", registering a new bacon domain every day this week, more on that later. Life has simply gotten the priority when it comes to posting. I know there are some people that post every day or multiple times a day, boingboing this aint. I want this blog to be about bacon, for the most part, and just bacon. It's not my soapbox to bitch and complain about every little thing, unless it has to do with bacon, nor will I be posting pictures of my cats and how they did the cutest thing and are just like people. I am not one of those self involved bloggers who have little worthwhile to say and even less talent to say it, that posts entry after entry about nothing in general, drops the occasional "F-bomb" to seem edgy and does little more than prove they are a pretentious person posting crap, hoping others will subscribe to it, and adding other people's crap in hopes someone will read theirs in some sort of egocentric cyber-circle jerk. It’s all I can muster to find the time from living life to post about one of the things I enjoy most in life, bacon. I don't profess to have talent or be good at blogging, or even that original, there are others that do this better. But this is my take and life permitting, we will put up reviews of bacon, and bacon related products, and well not too much more than that.

So as for life getting in the way of blogging, here is the low down. Bacon Jason has been out of commission with a rare but completely NOT made up disease called baconmysitisis. This relatively unknown disease is almost identical to appendicitis, so much so in fact that if it reaches the critical stage, you gotta get your appendix taken out before it ruptures. Basically the difference being that unlike appendicitis where little is known about the onset of the disease, baconmysitisis is brought on by a bacoterian not eating enough bacon. Once it has set in it mimics appendicitis exactly, so much so that most doctors would be unable to distinguish any difference, and you still gotta get the appendix out. Bacon Jason had this rare disease and underwent surgery to have his appendix removed and is going to make a full recovery, look for some posts soon from him. Get well my brother. I on the other hand have been baconing it up like always and in fact life has been so good, I have a new girlfriend. I know what you are thinking, must be a vegetarian and doesn't like his bacon ways, hence no posts. Rest assured she too enjoys the bacon, and while this is not a blog about my love life, I will make just this one comment. Early on in our courtship we met for breakfast. I am not saying it was a test, but I was curious to see if she was a bacon or sausage girl, she ordered bacon, big thumbs up. But here is the cool thing, she has the last bite of bacon on her plate, she picks it up and feeds it to me, without me asking or saying a word, just feeds me her last piece of bacon. I didn't realize there was a way to make the best of all meats taste even sweeter, but that will do it. So, I am sure you are thinking the same thing I was... "Keeper" :)

My roommate and I recently had a housewarming party and our honorary "LoB" Bacon Charles shows up with not one but two types of bacon. They happen to be two of the bacons that are on our "IFR" list (intended for review) Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon, both uncured and dry-cured. This is not to discount the wonderful gift of bacon and Code Red that Josh and Apryl brought, but this review is about the Niman Ranch bacon. This high end bacon, and you can tell its “high end” because it comes in a 12 oz. package as opposed to the standard 1 pound variety, is available at Trader Joe’s as well as online.

Now I have to be honest I didn’t know the difference between uncured and cured bacon until I looked it up, and to be honest I was concerned that the uncured bacon would somehow be less bacon-y for some reason. Well I am pleased to tell you that uncured bacon is very bacon-y and this particular brand is fantastic. For this review I used the "LoB approved" bake method. Others have described this method exactly as if they had watched me prepare bacon in my kitchen, even down to the rotation detail, if I had just searched the internet before all the trial and error sessions, I would have had a lot more perfect bacon. (Just double checked the link and I see that Tony also has a plug for the Niman Ranch bacon, let that be a sign to you doubters.) Back to the bacon, from the moment I opened the packages, yes packageS, this is to be a side by side comparison, the smoky aroma hit me. This is some of the best smelling bacon since the weight of heaven post. The uncured pack seems to be somewhat thicker slices, and also a bit meatier; this could just be a slight variation of the package and is probably not an intended standard. Over all both packages are quite meatier than your average grocery store brand of bacon and I believe that is an intended standard. I did not do any pre or post measuring, but the uncured slices did seem to shrink just a slight bit more than the dry-cured but not enough to warrant wasting time with tape measures or rulers, my house smelled of freshly baked bacon!! I remember thinking, this is what our summer cabin would smell like back when I was a kid and mom would make breakfast for everyone, I paused for a moment to remember how good that was and how long it had been since I had smelled something that reminded me of home, it also reminded me I was hungry for bacon, moving onward.

I went with the dry-cured first for my taste tests, and it did not disappoint, this is delicious, thick meaty bacon. This is the type of stuff that will spoil you, and make you unable to eat cheap bacon if you can help it. I baked up these batches to the “just past chewy but not yet crispy” state, a very small window of about 90 seconds you have to pull the bacon before you go crispy, not an easy thing to get right, but these strips were on the money. The package states you need just one bite to know this is no ordinary bacon, and it is so refreshing to see truth in advertising. This is great bacon, so much so that I took a few more bites after that first one.

Next up was the uncured bacon, it looked and smelled delicious, and man did it taste good. A big difference is that the uncured has no sodium nitrates added to the meat. If you are on a low sodium thing, I would love to say this is right for you, but a quick package check shows it is merely 5mg less sodium per serving than the dry-cured, both still are prepared with salt, yummy yummy salt, sorry I forgot you are on a low sodium thing, maybe this isn’t the best reading material then. This bacon rocked, equally as tasty as the dry cured, just a slight taste difference, so slight that if I had not known it was uncured before preparing it, I don’t think I would have noticed. The smoky flavor wrapped these strips in a fluffy blanket of yummy just like the dry-cured. I recommend picking up some of this bacon and trying it yourself, you will not be sorry. I can’t wait to try the maple and chipotle flavors as well.

Both the dry-cured and uncured varieties of Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Center cut Bacon receive 4½ out of 5 strips!