Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Great Bacon Smoke Out (Squash Casserole With Smoked Bacon)

So by now, you’re probably all well aware of my slight fascination… no that’s not the word… more of an obsession, with the beautiful Pork Belly that is Bacon.  So much so, that my facebook page is littered with tags of the delectable dish by friends and family.  One recent tag was to a site that tells you how to make your own bacon…so of course I stopped what I was doing to check the site out.

This Bacon kit contains everything one would need to make 5 pounds of delicious natural bacon.  Best part is that you don’t necessarily need a smoker to make the bacon as the oven will also work to prepare the bacon.  All you need is the kit, a week, and a pork belly (which you can easily obtain at your local butcher shop or Meatery.)  (Meatery isn’t really a word, but if you have a large Grocery store, you can talk to the butchers and they will have one, or can order one.)
I had no choice but to order this Bacon Kit.  Really… my arm was twisted.

In the name of Baconolgy, I will conduct my experiment.  Sure, buying a pound of bacon at the store is not only cheaper, easier, and faster, but is it Better?  I take my science seriously.  So, when my kit came in the mail, I followed the directions, put the 5 pound pig belly in the bag with the curing ingredients and left it alone to chill and do it’s thing for a week in my fridge.  Visiting it every other day to flip it over and massage the spices in.  The directions say if you don’t have a smoker, that you can use the oven.  And I was totally going to use the oven.  Seriously!  But then, curiosity got the better of me.  I was just interested to see how much a smoker cost at the local hardware store.  Turns out, Home Depot was having a sale, and the model I liked was only $80.  Needless to say, I picked up some Cherry wood, Apple wood and Hickory smoking chips and the smoker…

Turns out my neighbor, who is the king of smokers (he has a nice big barrel smoker) is also making Bacon this week.  He has a slightly different method to his madness.  Instead of Pork Belly, he used Pork Shoulder (definitely cheaper!) and he had his bacon kit of a combination of salt and sugar and cured the meat for 10 days versus the week my directions told me.  He then added Black Pepper.  It’s a battle of the Bacons!

All in all, both were good.  I am partial to my bacon a little bit over the other, while the shoulder was less fatty, it was more like a nice peppered canadian bacon.  While mine was traditional and sweet.  But Eveyone is the victor....check out all this meat!

This was a nice summer dish to make with bacon.  Yellow Squash is just hitting the markets.  Take advantage of this delicious veggie and bring it to life with some bacon!

Squash Casserole With Smoked Bacon
* 4 strips bacon
* 5 medium yellow summer squash, or 32 ounces frozen sliced summer squash
* 1/2 cup chopped onion
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 2 eggs, beaten
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Slice squash about 1/4-inch thick; cook in boiling salted water until tender. Fry bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon and set aside. In bacon drippings, brown onions. Add butter, squash, eggs, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until eggs are cooked. In a 2-quart casserole dish, place half of the squash mixture. Sprinkle with half of the crumbled bacon and half of the shredded cheese. Top with remaining squash mixture, bacon, and cheese. Bake at 350° until hot and cheese is melted.
Serves 4 to 6.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

In the Tune of Bacon (The Elvis Sandwich)

“The Bacon Song” – More Aural Bacon
Dave and Jimmy of the Dave & Jimmy Show put together a great parody of Miley Cyrus’s “See You Again” for their morning radio program, which they released to YouTube as a bacon video. Whether or not you like Miley, I know you LOVE bacon, so watch and enjoy.

I went out for Karoke last night for a great friend's birthday.  The only thing missing was bacon....

Feel like bacon love, Karoke? check her out.  I would've done back up for her...maybe.

Beer, Bacon and Karoke? Hello Chicago!

My  Ode to Bacon this week was in honor of a late, great, King of Rock....Elvis Presley.

The Elvis
•    2 tablespoons butter, softened
•    8 slices white bread
•    1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
•    1 large, ripe banana, sliced
•    12 slices bacon, Sauteed until crispy (optional)

Spread the butter on 1 side of each slice of bread. On the other side of half of the slices spread peanut butter. Place banana slices on top of peanut butter.  Place 3 bacon slices on top of the banana then place the remaining buttered bread slices on top, butter-side-out.

Place sandwiches on a preheated grill pan or griddle. Flip them over when they become golden brown and crispy. When the sandwiches are browned on both sides, remove to plates.  Slice in half and serve immediately

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!!! (Beer and Bacon "Mancakes")

How do you say thanks to Dad?  With Bacon of course!  Oscar Meyer is counting on it.  They are the currently marketing Gift Boxes especially designed for dear old Daddy in mind.  The appeal to 3 different types of dads...You can get a bacon box called 'The Commander,' 'The Matador,' or 'The Woodsman.' The specialized boxes each come with their own trinket to accompany the Oscar Mayer Original Bacon Strips. Boxes in the collection come with a money clip, cuff links or multi-tool.
Check out the Commercial here.

These were a huge hit for Father's Day.  Make some for your man...Nothing says manly-man food like a meal made of beer, bacon and pancakes. Stir candied bacon and your favorite beer into Bisquick to make these larger-than-life mancakes.

Beer and Bacon "Mancakes"

1/2 lb bacon (8 slices)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups Original Bisquick® mix
1 cup of your favorite regular or nonalcoholic beer
2 eggs

Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet with foil. Place wire rack on top of cookie sheet. Arrange bacon in single layer on top of rack. Bake 10 minutes.

Sprinkle bacon with half the brown sugar. Bake 10 minutes longer. Turn bacon over; sprinkle with remaining brown sugar. Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until golden brown. Remove from rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Crumble bacon into small pieces; set aside.

Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat or electric griddle to 375°F; grease with vegetable oil or shortening.

In medium bowl, beat Bisquick mix, beer and eggs with whisk until blended. If batter is too thick, add additional beer until desired consistency. Stir in bacon. Pour by 1/2 cupfuls onto hot griddle. Cook until edges are dry. Turn; cook until golden brown.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Bacon at the Carnival (Circus Freaks- Banana, Peanut Butter, Bacon dipped in Chocolate)

It's that time of year.  The smells, the lights, the rides...the bacon.  Carnival season is upon us.  This weekend is my local town's annual Fireman's Carnival.  While no bacon was spotted at this carnival, that doesn't mean it's not a big draw at other State Fairs and traveling festivals out there.  Here's what's popular in Bacon around the country...

What could go better at any carnival than these delicious babies. A nice combination of salty and sweet, creamy and banana-y.  I made extras....Banana, Peanut Butter, Bacon, and Chocolate...what more could you ask for?

Circus Freaks
Ingredients (makes 30 pieces)

10 slices of Bacon
8 (1 ounce) squares of semi-sweet chocolate, or more if needed, chopped
2 Bananas, peeled
5 Tbsp smooth Peanut Butter, divided

Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Cut each slice into 1-inch pieces while still warm, and set aside.

Melt 2/3 of the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring to melt the chocolate. (Do not let water or steam drip into the chocolate or it will seize up.) Bring the chocolate up to no more than 110 degrees F (43 degrees C), measuring with a thermometer. Stir in the reserved chopped chocolate, remove from the heat, and stir off the heat until the temperature of the chocolate comes down to 88 to 90 degrees and most of the chocolate pieces have melted. Remove any unmelted pieces, and hold the chocolate over warm water at this temperature for dipping.

Slice the bananas into 1-inch pieces, and cut each piece down the center to make half moons. Spread the bottom of each half moon with about 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter. Stick the banana piece, peanut butter side down, onto a square of bacon, and skewer the banana and bacon together with a toothpick.

Dip the banana and bacon treats into the melted chocolate until completely covered; place dipped treats onto waxed or parchment paper until cool and set.  Youc an pop them into the freezer to set the chocolate faster.

Refrigerate leftovers.