There was a good crowd yesterday at Harris Grill for the Pittsburgh edition of the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour. The bacon-themed event, organized by local bacon blogger Mr. Bacon Pants (AKA Jason Mosley), featured more variations on bacon than I had considered possible.
My favorite of the evening was probably the Chicken-Fried Bacon, basically bacon that had been breaded and fried. It excelled through its simplicity. The same is true of the bacon wings: buffalo wings that were tossed with bacon-laced salt. The bacon sushi (not pictured) was also a hit; the flavors of bacon, rice, and salmon are a natural match.
The “Pittsburgh Penetrator,” a pork loin that had been stuffed with a mishmash of kielbasa and bacon, then wrapped in bacon and roasted, was a bit much for my tastes. A contributing factor may have been my general aversion to kielbasa, but all in all, I thought that there was just a bit too much happening to be contained by one dish.
The highlight of the afternoon was quite possibly the bacon eating contest. I participated, but did not compete. I don’t know how the winner managed to do so, but he polished off a full three pounds (pre-cooked weight) of bacon within the three minute time frame. To put that in perspective, I doubt I even took care of one third of my allotment. After time had been called, I passed the remainder around to the spectators at my end of the bar. When I left the stage, even with audience participation, there was still bacon left in the tray. Suffice to say, the victor probably doesn’t put much stock in the teachings of Horace Fletcher.
One guest at the Blue Ribbon Bacon tour was Heather Lauer, author of Bacon: A Love Story, a full book dedicated to the history and lore of bacon. I purchased a copy of the book and will plan on reviewing it sometime in the next several weeks (once I’ve had a chance to read it). Though I’m impressed by the fact that Ms. Lauer had the dedication and interest to study bacon in so much detail as to write the book, I don’t think I would be able to stomach the research. Just one day of such a bacon-intensive diet was enough to put me to bed early with a fat-induced bellyache.
I had a great time at the Bacon Tour, though, and hope it becomes an annual event. Just don’t count on seeing me enter a bacon-eating contest ever again–especially not the day before running a 5k race.