Bacon Unwrapped

Friday, March 19, 2010

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Missing the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival today...

Today is the annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival in Des Moines, Iowa. I attended last year and had one of the best bacon-themed days of my life. Unfortunately I couldn't make it this year. But the next best thing is following everyone's Tweets - for live updates you can follow #baconfest #brbf10 @mrbaconpants and @joelawler on Twitter, among others. Also, click here to read Joe Lawler's story about the event in the Des Moines Register (I was one of several people interviewed for it). Ohhhhhhhh bacon!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Will somebody please make a bacon latte?

Love this Jack in the Box ad.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Addicted To Bacon - A Sizzlin' Bacon Rap Song

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Bacon: A Love Story nominated for Oddest Book Title of 2009

Competing with the likes of "The Origin of Faeces" and "The Quotable Douchebag" and let's not forget "Collectable Spoons of the Third Reich"...I've recently learned that "Bacon: A Love Story" has been nominated for perhaps the highest honor I've ever been nominated for - Oddest Book Title of 2009.

Apparently this is an award that Bookseller Magazine in the United Kingdom has been giving out since 1978. Voting will start later this month once they've narrowed the list down to a shorter group of finalists.

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Friday, February 05, 2010

To many Jews, the allure of pork is simply irresistible

I was quoted in an article just published in Tablet Magazine about dietary exceptions that elements of Jewish culture are making for bacon, and pork in general.

"This movement evolved thanks, in part, to the increased prominence of celebrity chefs, says Heather Lauer, author of Bacon: A Love Story: A Salty Survey of Everybody’s Favorite Meat. “Now we’re watching more cooking shows and doing more cooking at home,” she says. “Bacon is a secret weapon in the kitchen.” The internet, too, plays a role in selling artisinal pork producers as well as purveyors of products like bacon mints and bacon-print shoes."

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Bacon Care of Bizniz

Inspired by the glory of Bacon, this hilarious music video is for all types of Bacon lovers out there. Hot off the griddle. Brought to you by RareForm (rareformfilms.com)

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Oscar Mayer Super Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon

One of the rules of this blog is that I don't write negative reviews. So if someone sends me a product I don't like, I just don't write about it. I guess it goes back to the basic lesson we all learned as kids - if you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all.

In my 4 1/2 years of writing about all the bacon I've eaten through my adventures with this blog, you may or may not have noticed a lack of reference to many of the major brands of bacon you can purchase at most grocery stores. Quite simply and honestly it's because I just don't enjoy most of the bacon you can buy off the shelf.

Last month, when Oscar Mayer offered to send me their new Super Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon to try, I was skeptical at first. They described this new product as "twice as thick as regular Oscar Mayer bacon with about nine slices per pound, delivering restaurant-inspired taste and quality in the comfort of your own home." They offered to send me bacon, recipes and even a free skillet. They won me over with their persistence and by offering to make it as easy as possible for me to try their new product. So I said, "sure, send some of your bacon my way."

To test drive the bacon I used it in two recipes - Snappy Asparagus with Bacon, a recipe developed exclusively by Kraft Senior Executive Chef John Li for BaconUnwrapped.com readers, and Cheesy Bacon Bruschetta.

This new Oscar Mayer bacon is definitely a step up from some of the tasteless pre-packaged bacon I've encountered in the past. And as a flavor enhancer in both of the dishes I prepared, it was a hit with the friends who were at the party where I served both of the appetizers. No one would have guessed that it was bacon from the supermarket. What's best is this new bacon product from Oscar Mayer is affordable and readily available - it retails for $4.50 per package and is now available at most major grocery stores across the United States.

Next time you're in the bacon aisle at the grocery store, look to see if they carry Oscar Mayer Super Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, pick up a package, take it home, fry it up for breakfast or try it in one of the following recipes, and let me know what you think.

Snappy Asparagus with Bacon
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Makes: 6 servings

4 slices Oscar Mayer Super Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch wide strips
1 lb fresh asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1/2 inch lengths
2 cups sugar snap peas
Dash crushed red pepper
Dash soy sauce

Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet on medium heat 12 minutes or until browned. Remove bacon from skillet, drain on paper towels. Discard all but 1 tsp drippings from skillet. Add asparagus and pea pods to skillet, cook and stir 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in bacon and remaining ingredients.

Cheesy Bacon Bruschetta
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

2 slices Oscar Mayer Super Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch wide strips
4 slices French bread, 3/4 inch thick
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, cut in half
4 extra- thin Swiss cheese slices, cut in half
1 plum tomato, seeded, chopped

Heat broiler. Cook and stir bacon in skillet on medium heat 12 minutes or until browned; drain on paper towels. Meanwhile, brush one side of each bread slice with oil. Broil, 4 inches from heat, 1 to 2 minutes or until toasted; rub with cut sides of garlic. Cover with 4 cheese pieces, bacon and tomatoes. Top with remaining cheese; broil 1 minute or until melted.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Norton riding the bacon wave

The folks over at Norton are running a contest in conjunction with the release of their new Online Backup system. They're calling it "Norton Saved My Bacon."

How it works is that you visit nortonsavedmybacon.com, share a data-loss horror story, and the grand prize winner will receive a one year gourmet bacon-of-the-month club subscription, bacon soap, bacon dental floss, bacon lip balm, bacon mints, and a one year free subscription to Norton Online Backup 25GB.

The deadline to enter is February 28, 2010. This one seems pretty simple folks - spend 5 minutes telling your most dramatic story of losing data (I'm guessing most of us have at least one story...especially if you've ever been a PC user...), and if you leave the Norton team crying in laughter and/or sorrow over your loss, you will get free bacon. FTW!

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Republic of Bacon

Maple Leaf Bacon out of Canada has created a marketing website at www.republicofbacon.com. It's really a well-done website design and fun to navigate around. Watch the PSAs - disturbingly entertaining.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Red Robin Kids' Cook-Off

Growing up in Idaho, one of my favorite things as a child was going to Red Robin for their delicious hamburgers and "Rookie Magic" milkshakes. They also had a kick-ass arcade at the restaurant, and being a child of the 80s, my parents couldn't feed us enough quarters to satisfy our Pacman needs. Red Robin was definitely a favorite place to host birthday parties and other celebrations. And it's still one of my favorite places to have a burger as an adult.

I just learned about a contest they're hosting - the 4th Annual Kids' Cook-Off - in which 10 kids have created their ideal burger combination. The winner - who will be chosen tomorrow - will receive some pretty sweet prizes including a family vacation at the Universal Orlando Resort. But most importantly, the winning gourmet burger will be sold in Red Robin restaurants in summer 2010 to benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Last year's Kids' Cook-Off resulted in a donation of more than $65,000 to NCMEC and since 2006, Red Robin has donated more than $200,000 to NCMEC through the Cook-Off and other restaurant programs. So this isn't just about good burgers and sending some kid to Orlando on vacation - it's for a good cause, as well.

Today is the last day to vote for the Fan Favorite - check it out at http://www.redrobin.com/thefinalists. And there will be a live webcast tomorrow where the winner will be announced. A few of the kids include bacon on their burgers, so get over there and support these young bacon lovers!

You can also connect with Red Robin on Facebook by clicking here.

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Bacon Dessert Trendspotting

NPR ran a story today about bacon in desserts. Click here to read the article.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Real or fake?

I'm spending Thanksgiving week in Japan (because nothing says Thanksgiving like sushi). There is a thriving industry in this country focused on manufacturing plastic food models for restaurant window displays. Some of the food is disturbingly real in appearance. Here's a photo of some bacon and eggs I purchased today - I'm pretty much planning to carry this in my purse going forward because you never know when a photo opportunity for bacon and eggs will present itself.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Paper Bacon

So yeah, I've been a bacon blogging slacker lately. I've been slammed on the work-that-actually-pays-my-mortgage front, and I'm soon going on a LONG overdue vacation. I promise there will be more baconage here on Bacon Unwrapped in December.

In the meantime, I thought I'd let everyone know I just found out that the paperback version of my book comes out on June 22, 2010. So if you want to save $1.04 and wait seven months, click here to pre-order! If you don't want to wait, you can find the hardcover version here. It's also available on Kindle here.

Hope everyone is planning Thanksgiving meals featuring lots of items wrapped in bacon...

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wendy's Bacon Deluxe

In interviews I'm often asked to explain why bacon is so popular at the moment. It's a topic I also explore in my book, Bacon: A Love Story.

In summary I think there are a few reasons why bacon is experience a culinary renaissance. Several Food Network chefs love bacon and talk about it all the time; more artisanal producers are selling bacon over the Internet; more people are cooking/eating at home because of the economy; there is a backlash in response to all the diets telling us we shouldn't eat bacon (among other things); and last, but not least, fast food restaurants.

Regarding the last point - fast food restaurants - several of the major chains have started to use bacon as a marketing tool in recent years. Understanding everyone loves bacon, and that bacon seems to be more popular than ever at the moment, savvy food marketers have jumped at the opportunity to use it as a product differentiator.

Although that's the case, in common fast-food style, many of these chains utilize some of the cheapest and therefore least appetizing forms of bacon. I personally don't eat at fast food establishments very often, but when I do I rarely have an interest in anything with bacon on it (which is obviously an unnatural instinct for me).

And my sense is that I'm not alone, because some of those same fast food chains are now upgrading their bacon, which is either due to a lackluster consumer response or because they've identified an opportunity to even further differentiate themselves by serving better bacon.

Which brings me to the purpose of this blog entry...Wendy's Bacon Deluxe. Wendy's famously introduced a sandwich called the Baconator not long ago - so they are clearly in the middle of the bacon/fast-food trend. Realizing they needed to upgrade their bacon offering to attract true bacon lovers, they recently introduced a new sandwich called the Bacon Deluxe featuring four strips of thick Applewood smoked bacon (which is also now served on their Bacon Mornin' Melt Panini).

A Wendy's rep contacted me recently and asked me to try this new sandwich (which they sent me gift cards to purchase, in the interest of full disclosure). I was hesitant at first just because I didn't want to be in an awkward position if I didn't like it. But I decided to give it a shot anyway. And I'm glad I did.

The Bacon Deluxe is as good as any bacon cheeseburger you would buy at a sit down chain restaurant. The bacon is not the cardboard-esque bacon often encountered at fast food restaurants - it's thick, has a nice fat/lean balance, and is cooked properly. It's simply good bacon.

So if you're a bacon snob like me and have avoided most fast food bacon as a result, I encourage you to give the Bacon Deluxe a chance.

By the way, follow my Twitter account @baconunwrapped tomorrow - I'll be giving away gift cards from Wendy's so you can go try the Bacon Deluxe yourself.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

I didn't have to pay for 2/3 of the ingredients in this meal

I'm not gonna lie - one of the best perks of having a food blog is the samples I receive. And I have absolutely no problem with giving something a try and writing about it if I like it.

So for tonight's meal I had a chicken breast wrapped in No Name bacon and marinated in Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce.

No Name bacon is a nice traditional bacon if you're looking for something new to try. And Country Bob's sauce is a great sauce for marinating and would also be good as a steak sauce. Both can be purchased online.

This meal is Bacon Unwrapped Approved!

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bacon so good it doesn't need a name

You've probably heard about the bacon and chocolate bust of Conan O'Brien that made an appearance on the Tonight Show several weeks ago. If for some reason you were in a coma, here it is again:



The creative minds behind this culinary behemoth hail from a company called "No Name" - a family-owned purveyor of meat products based in Minnesota. When not carving chocolate busts with hair made from bacon, No Name actually sells a variety of meat products including - you guessed it - bacon.

Yes, you too can eat Conan O'Brien's hair.

After their creation appeared on the Tonight Show, I exchanged a few Tweets with the company and before I knew it, 6 pounds of their bacon had arrived at my front door. Usually when companies send me samples, I get one - maybe two - pounds of bacon at the most. When I received 6 pounds from No Name, I knew these guys were serious - and that I had some serious eating ahead of me.

The bacon actually arrived one day before I had to leave town for a week-long work trip. One of my friends stayed at my house while I was gone to dog-sit. I told him he could have whatever was in the refrigerator, not thinking about the fact that the 6 pounds of No Name bacon was in there. And he apparently wasted no time indulging because 3 pounds were gone when I got home. Clearly he liked the No Name bacon!

A few days ago I finally got around to trying the bacon myself. This is a very traditional, thick cut, hickory smoked bacon - my house had that lovely hickory scent over 24 hours later. It reminds me of the kind of good, solid bacon you would get from behind a butcher counter at your local grocery store - traditional cure, traditional smoke, traditional cut - everything we know and expect when we fry up some bacon for breakfast.

If you want to try it yourself, click here to visit the No Name website. You can order online. Bacon up, my friends.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Savory, Salty Food of the Masses: Interview with Diana Page Jordan

Click here to listen to my recent podcast interview with Diana Page Jordan. And you can read her blog post about the interview here.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Buy dad a tie for Christmas...a bacon tie

Get yours at BaconTies.com.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's a bacony news day

A few news items worth sharing:
  • According to the Phoenix New Times, a local alt magazine that runs an annual "Best of Phoenix" contest, I am the "Best Bacon Lady" in Phoenix this year. I wonder if I had competition?
  • There is an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about speck, the smoked cousin of prosciutto, which mentions my book. It's an interesting read if you've ever wondered what the difference is between speck and prosciutto.
  • Last, I've been mentioning it here on Bacon Unwrapped for a while now...the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival is coming to Pittsburgh this weekend. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also published an article about the event today. Come join me and Mr. Baconpants for a day of baconlicious festivities if you're in the area!

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