What’s Up With All This Hardwood Smoking?

As we pointed out on an episode of Bacon Live, Burger King has introduced new thick cut bacon that they describe as being “Hardwood Smoked.” This kind of confused us because most companies aren’t that vague with their bacon descriptions. In fact most companies seem proud to tell you what type of wood they use in their smoking process.

Wendy’s went all out to let you know their bacon was Apple Wood smoked, Dunkin Donuts proudly said in their commercials that their bacon was smoked with Cherry Wood, and even though Denny’s is using the same bacon they always have they started letting people know that it was Hickory Smoked but some companies just don’t’ want us to know what type of wood they use.

I’m not just picking on Burger King; long time bacon producer Oscar Mayer also lists their bacon as being “Hardwood Smoked.” So that got me thinking, what exactly is Hardwood? (and stop laughing right now or you’ll be excused from the class.) According to the Wikipedia entry for “wood” all wood from the dicotyledons family are considered hardwood. That basically means if it has broad leaves and flowers like Oak it’s a hardwood. So when a company says it uses hardwood that means it could be using one of almost 100 different woods or a combination of them.

There are reasons why a company might choose to go with a lesser known wood or a mixture of different woods. It might be they fill they get the best flavor from those woods or maybe it is a cost thing where they don’t want to inject smoke flavoring but it’s not cost affective to use Apple Wood.

Whatever the reason is they need to stop advertising it as “Hardwood Smoked.” When you have restaurants gloating about the wood they use and then you see some company slap Hardwood on their label it makes them seem like they’re just trying to jump on the band wagon without improving their bacon.

If you don’t want to tell us what wood you use because it’s a cheaper wood or because you use a mixture and “hickory/apple/cherry/oak smoked” wont fit on the label, that’s fine. Just leave it off. Trust me if you make a quality product just labeling it as bacon is enough for people to buy it

Can Bacon Make it Better? Um… Yes!

I was bouncing around the internet and I came across this blog called Mancave Daily where he put up a somewhat troubling post called “5 Foods Even Bacon Can’t Make Better.” He starts off by saying he is tired of all the bacon lust out there today and that even though bacon is delicious it’s not the most wonderful food in the world. What the F?

How could a blog called Mancave Daily not fall down and worship the one food God created specifically with Man in mind, bacon! There is a reason why people “lust” for bacon as he puts it, because there has never been a more perfect food in the history of mankind. People don’t just like bacon, they live for it.

Now on to his claims. Here at Mr. Baconpants we have tried to come up with a food that bacon doesn’t go with and we just can’t think of any but Mancave man has come up with a list of 5 that include, SPAM, Ham, Rice Cakes, Liver, and Chocolate Chip Cookies. I’m going to talk a little about each one of these but first let me point out the SPAM is short for Shoulder Pork Ham so I’m going to count ham and SPAM as one item and officially change his post to, “4 Foods Even Bacon Can’t Make Better.”

4. SPAM/Ham

His augment for this is that SPAM’s disgusting flavor will drown out the bacon and Ham doesn’t work because “Adding a part of the pig to another part of the pig actually does nothing to improve either” and that it would be “pork overkill.”

Well guess what SPAM and bacon do go together. In fact they go together so well that the good people at SPAM saved us some time by combining the two for us.

The argument that pig doesn’t go with pig is about as crazy as saying Wendy’s French fires don’t go with a Frosty. Check out this link for a recipe for a ham and bacon sandwich. (Yes I said “recipe”, I guess some people can’t even make a sandwich without directions.) Or ask anyone that’s ever had bacon wrapped pork tenderloin if pig goes with pig.

3. Rice Cakes

I do agree with him that rice cakes are like flavorless pieces of insulation but what better place to show off the amazing flavor of bacon than on a blank canvas like Rice Cakes. You could wrap the cakes in bacon then bake them on low heat allowing the grease to be soaked up by the dry rice there for infusing it with bacon flavor. Sure it might over power the flavor of the rice cake but as I stated before Rice Cakes are flavorless so adding flavor would make them better.

2. Liver

I almost spit my Bacon Bloody Marry all over my laptop when I saw this one. I spent nights lying awake before family events wondering if my wife’s aunt was going to make her very addictive bacon wrapped chicken livers. They are so good I can’t eat just one.

Reading a little further into his post I realized the reason why he thinks bacon doesn’t go with liver is because he hates liver. There is no more to his argument than that. Look there’s one or two foods in this word that I don’t like but I can still put my bias aside for two seconds to understand why someone might enjoy it. Just because you don’t like the flavor of Liver doesn’t mean everyone hates it.

1. Chocolate Chip Cookies

This one is the biggest joke of them all. He doesn’t even give an argument. All he says is to keep your bacon away from his cookies. His closed mind just sees the words cookie and bacon and he goes running for the hills like a caveman seeing fire for the first time. I feel kind of sorry for people that are so stuck in their ways they won’t even try something like bacon in cookies. They will never know the joy of sweet and savory together. Seriously dude just try them here’s a recipe. If you don’t like them that’s fine just spit them out but at least try them.

So there were 4 foods that supposedly bacon can’t make better and I just showed you the opposite and didn’t even break a sweat. I would like a challenge, so if you think you know a food that bacon can’t improve then comment below so I can tell you how you’re wrong.

Southern-Fried Egg Rolls Recipe With Bacon

This recipe looks awesome! You all know I love bacon but you might not know that I also love egg rolls. Chef Marsha Bradley has combined the two and given them a southern kick.

These egg rolls are sure to be a hit at any tailgating or party event and this recipe makes about 3 dozen of them. That’s enough egg rolls for your whole party or for my lunch. Check out recipe and video to see how it’s done. Let us know what you think in the comments below or in the Mr. Baconpants Community.

Sacramento’s Bacon Fest is this Weekend!

Man, every time I turn around another Bacon Fest is popping up. Pretty soon there’s going to be a Bacon Event every month of the year. Not that I’m complaining. I just wish I could afford the air fair to check them all out.

The newest Fest is based in Sacramento. Local musician Brain Guido and Managing Editor for Sacramento News & Review have teamed up with five local restaurants for the first ever Sacramento Bacon Fest but unlike most Bacon Fests this one seems to be more of a weekend filled with bacon activities then just one day of pork belly love.

After seeing the success of the Blue Ribbon Bacon Fest in Des Moines and the Chicago Bacon Fest , Guido thought, why not Sacramento.

The event runs from January 20 through the 22nd with each day having a bacon inspired events at local restaurants.

  • Jan 20th -is Kevin Bacon Tribute Night at Luigi’s Slice where you can enjoy a special Bacon Supreme Pizza while local bands entertain your ears with covers of songs from Kevin Bacon movies.
  • Jan 21st -You can get your day started with a Bacon inspired Breakfast/Brunch at Magpie Caterers Market and Café but get there early because it’s only open from 7:30am until the food is gone.
  • Jan 21st -Starting at 4pm Pangaea Two Brews Café is having “Bacon in Beers.” Dinners will get a four item bacon inspired menu with each item being paired with a beer. Also they will be serving beer with bacon in the glass.
  • Jan 22nd -Brunch at The Golden Bear. It starts at 10am and will have many bacon dishes including a couple bacon cocktails for those that like to get an early start on the partying.
  • Jan 22nd -End the Fest with a Chef Competition at Mulvaney’s B&L Pig Next Door. Local celebrities will judge bacon-inspired meals created by local chefs and small bacon plates and wine will be served.

The Bacon Fests I’m more used to consist of one day where people over indulge on various bacon dishes all while washing them down with a good beer. Although I like the concept of making the Fest an entire weekend and highlighting local restaurants I would really like to see an all day event like Blue Ribbon Bacon Fest does. But hey it’s their first year so it makes sense to start out small and I’m sure everyone will have a great time. Then next year they can expand and make it even better.

For more information click here and if anyone out there is in the Sacramento area and is going to the Fest, feel free to send sent us some pictures and video so we can let the rest of the world see what Sacramento has to offer.

Stop SOPA/PIPA: First Comes Internet Censorship, Then They Come for Our Bacon

Today, January 18, 2012 many high-profile sites are participating in an internet blackout to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA. If you don’t know what SOPA or PIPA is you’re in luck. Just browse the internet and I am sure you will find one of you favorite websites blacked out today. If this is the only site you goto then I guess it’s my job to inform you. The following is from Wikipedia:

What are SOPA and PIPA?
SOPA and PIPA represent two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” and PIPA is an acronym for the “Protect IP Act.” (“IP” stands for “intellectual property.”) In short, these bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites, but, in our opinion, they do so in a way that actually infringes free expression while harming the Internet. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act articles on Wikipedia, which are available during the blackout.

I know what some of you are thinking. “You are a content creator. Wouldn’t something that helps you protect your copyright help you?”

The answer is no, if it comes with more government regulation, ambiguous laws, and is a threat to the very service I distribute my content on. We do not need the government to police the internet, that is the job of the people who have the copyrights. Also piracy would stop if the movie and recorded industries would just adapt and get with the times.

They need to realize the era of making tons more money selling tangible goods is over. We no longer need DVDs or CDs. Also, since we can now get great content for free or for a very low-cost. We will no longer pay top dollar for their garbage content. If they want to survive in a world with a free and open internet they only need to create killer content. Then use the current copyright laws to protect it.

Lastly, you may think its a stretch to say the if this bill passes that they will take our bacon but think about that for a second. If we can’t stand up and fight to protect the very thing that lets us share our love of bacon with the world. What makes you think we would standup and fight for our bacon.

Call, Write, and Scream at your Representatives and Senators and tell them you do not support this bill.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

UPDATE: I found this great site telling you where you Senators and Reps stand on this issue.

Salt Lake City’s Chef War “Battle Bacon”

If you’re lucky enough to live in the Salt Lake City area you are in for a real treat. Two local chefs will enter into the kitchen stadium to prove who is the true master of the swine in “Battle Bacon!”

Robert Deni from Cucina Toscanna and Tom Call from Fresco Italian Café will have to show their skill be creating three different dishes using glorious pork belly. At first that doesn’t seem too hard, I can think of twenty different dishes right off the top of my head but since the popularity of bacon has skyrocketed thanks to the internet it gets harder and harder to make a truly original dish.

To win this they are going to have to make something new that will blow away the bacon fanatics because unlike other kitchen battles their food isn’t just going to be judged by some up tight food critics the audience also gets a voice. Audience members will taste the dishes and vote for their favorite.

It all takes place on Tuesday, Jan 31st from 6:30pm to 9:00pm at the Ferguson Showrooms in Salt Lake City. Tickets are $39 a person and can be purchased at chefwar.com

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r9h7G-G1x4&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3]

If anyone out there gets a chance to go please snaps some photos and videos for us and if your able to sneak out some of the samples and send them our way.

The Pig Fat Conspiracy, Why We Stopped Using Lard

The Jan 6th episode of NPR’s Podcast Planet Money had a very interesting topic, Lard. They talked about how everyone used pig fat for cooking a hundred years ago but now it’s almost no where to be found.

Most people think the whole reason lard cooking went away is because it’s unhealthy for you but that’s really only half of the reason. It turns out it was a combination of the back lash from the 1906 novel “The Jungle” that exposed the horror stories of the meat processing world and Capitalism.

Although “The Jungle” is fiction it was very well researched and showed some of the very unsanitary and dangerous conditions in the world of animal products. After it was released people demanded better care be taken in the preparation of their food and people even started to shy away from mass produced meats. Slaughter houses today might not be perfect but there a heck of a lot better than 100 years ago.

Then you have the company that produced the lard alternative Crisco, Procter & Gamble. They weren’t always in the business of producing healthier ways of making fried chicken. They were in the candle business, and business was good. Everyone from the richest tycoon to the poorest steel worker needed candles. It was the only way a person could do anything after the sun went down besides sleep.

But then something happened that changed the world, the light bulb. The light bulb was on the fast track of replacing the need for candles in America and that meant Procter & Gamble had to reassess their business. The candles they produced were make out of cotton oil and with not as many candles needed that gave them a cotton oil surplus.

What did they do with that extra oil; they got a German scientist to figure out a way for people to eat it. By using the process of Hydrogenation they turned the now useless cotton oil into tubs of white paste that resembled lard and called it Crisco. Then it was as simple as starting a mass advertising campaign to convince the American people Crisco was better than lard and the rest is history.

Is Crisco really better for you than lard? It’s a hard question to answer because most of us aren’t doctors or food scientists so we just have to listen to what people tell us and make up our own minds. There are people on both sides of this issue and both make some interesting points but I think it’s safe to assume no matter what side of the fence you fall on we can all agree that eating foods fired in any type of oil is something we should do in moderation.