Thursday, October 18, 2007

Artisinal Ham and Bacon Updated 11/12/07

The hunt for great bacon is on.

Niman Ranch is allegedly insanely great, but its quite expensive. I've ordered from Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams and I just received it. I'll post results soon. Inital thoughts? The 4 vacuum sealed bags of bacon arrived in a cardboard box. They were a bit greasy and a few small ants were in there! Not a confidence inspiring beginning. But, David Chang of Momofuku is recommending it, so I'll weigh in after a weekend breakfast with yeast-leavened waffles...

OK, so I didn't make the waffles, but I tried the bacon. If you like your bacon smoky, this stuff is for you. It comes in thick slices, say 14 to the pound. When cooked it doesn't loose much volume, like "regular" bacon. The slices remain hefty. The real distinguishing factor is the amount of hickory flavor. It is overwhelming. I've never tasted so much smoky goodness.

Now, you may not want this much smoke, but it sure is eye opening! I would recommend this bacon for a mind-blowing BLT, using, say Cibatta bread from Balthazar Bakery (but I never got the chance to test this, as I'll explain below.

Regarding the ants... I think some escaped from the box and proceeded to take over a loaf of Cibatta and a loaf of pan-formed sourdough in a brown bag inadvertently placed exactly where the bacon box was sitting. I've got the ants under control now, I think. In spite of the ants, the bacon is a hit.

Better Eating?

After reading Michael Pollen's The Omivore's Dilemma, and eating at Blue Hill at Stone Barns I'm officially hooked on locally grown and raised vegetables, chicken, pork, etc.

Here are some links which I'll update over time.

Eat Wild
Jersey Fresh
Eat Well Guide :: Home
Abma's Farm & Market - Home