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Mar 18, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘bacon’

The Scoop: Sugarfire’s Mike Johnson takes third in Bacon World Championship

Monday, November 9th, 2015



Sugarfire Smoke House chef and co-owner Mike Johnson took third place in the bacon category at the World Food Championships in Kissimmee, Florida on Saturday, Nov. 7.

Johnson competed against 50 chefs hailing from around the world in a three-round bacon-off. Johnson’s first entry was a bacon taco featuring a shell fashioned from smoked bacon and filled with bacon fat-poached lobster and corn relish. Next up was a dumpling dish with pork belly in a bacon consommé with dumplings made from dehydrated and powdered bacon mixed with flour. Finally, Johnson served a bacon-encrusted red snapper smoked on a cedar plank.

Johnson won $1,500 for his creative bacon dishes. He came in fifth place at the same event in 2014 and plans to return next year and bring home the top prize. “It’s about street cred at this point,” said Johnson. “I’m working for the title of Bacon World Champion.”



Wheatless Wednesday: Holiday Party Snack Mix

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014



The bowl of mixed nuts at holiday parties always intrigues me. I love the possibility of crunchy, chewy, savory and sweet, all in one bite – not to mention anything roasted in butter and sugar. But eating gluten-free means I usually keep my hands out of the snack bowl, fearful of hidden crackers or other glutinous ingredients.

My party snack mix relies on naturally gluten-free morsels that are rich in various textures: crunchy curried pecans, toasted coconut chips, dried cranberries … and chocolate-covered bacon. Have a batch on hand for upcoming holiday gatherings and make an extra one just for you.


Party Snack Mix
Makes 4 to 5 cups

2 Tbsp. butter
2 cups raw unsalted pecans
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. curry powder
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 slices natural bacon, roughly chopped
4 oz. 70-80 percent chocolate
1 tsp. coarse sea salt
2.5 oz. chopped crystallized ginger
1 3.2-oz. bag toasted coconut chips*
1 cup pomegranate-infused dried cranberries or plain dried cranberries

• In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the pecans and toast, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the brown sugar and curry powder and continue stirring until the nuts are fragrant and lightly browned, another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate, sprinkle with pepper and let cool.
• Wipe the skillet clean and return to the stove over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and fry until brown and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to cool.
• Meanwhile, prepare a double boiler by bringing a few inches of water to a simmer in a pot over medium heat. Place glass bowl over the bowl, add the chocolate and stir until completely melted.
• Remove from heat and add the bacon to the bowl, stirring to coat completely. Scrape the mixture onto a parchment-lined plate and spread into a single layer. Sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate until hardened, about 20 minutes.
• Break the chocolate into bite-sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the curried pecans, crystallized ginger, coconut chips and dried cranberries and toss to combine. The nut mix will keep, refrigerated, up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

*I used Dang Original Toasted Coconut Chips, available at Dierbergs.

The List: Belgian Waffles with Bacon at Walk Away Waffles

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.




We could spend hours contemplating flavor combinations at Walk Away Waffles food truck. A lemon waffle with blueberry syrup? Sounds dandy. Pumpkin with apple butter? Sounds like Thanksgiving. Chocolate with chocolate syrup? Sounds like a first-grader’s dream. But the real secret to the perfect Walk Away Waffle is adding bacon. Owner Jack Williams lays two strips of Kenrick’s bacon on top of the batter before shutting the iron. The resulting bite is a sweet, slightly caramelized waffle – thanks to the Belgian sugar – infused with delicious salty, porky goodness. Add some maple syrup for dipping, and we’re walking away happy – and then walking back for seconds. – C.K.

Facebook: Walk Away Waffles, Twitter: @walkawaywaffles

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

Just Five: Pecan-Crusted Chicken Stuffed with Bleu Cheese and Bacon

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

This recipe is a homage to my inner 1996 cook. Nut crusting, compound butters, chives, bacon! It takes me back to when garlic mashed potatoes were found only in high-end restaurants, when Caesar salads and iceberg wedge salads were the only vegetables on the menu. Sometimes I need to relive those final days of hedonism, before everything was locally sourced, small batch, organic and so darn healthy.

A chicken breast stuffed with bacon and bleu cheese compound butter is in no way good for you. But it is wickedly delicious. So crank up The Cranberries, Red Hot Chili Peppers or Smashing Pumpkins (even the music was food-centric) and serve this with a lightly dressed arugula salad.

Just Five: Pecan-Crusted Chicken Stuffed with Bleu Cheese and Bacon
Serves 2

3 slices bacon
1 stick unsalted butter
3 oz. bleu cheese
3 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
½ cup raw pecans

• Cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels.
• Mix butter, bleu cheese, crumbled bacon, chives and pepper in a small bowl.
• Place the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the skillet to cool.
• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
• Carefully loosen the skin from the chicken breasts with your fingers. Stuff about 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture under the skin of each breast and press the skin to evenly distribute the butter. Place the breasts on a foil-lined baking sheet. Spread 1 tablespoon of the compound butter on the top of each chicken breast.
• Grind the pecans in a food processor (or smash into a coarse powder with a rolling pin). Sprinkle half of the ground pecans over each breast.
• Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Leftover compound butter can be mixed into mashed potatoes or served with biscuits.


Just Five: Bacon Jam

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Bacon is the Marcia Brady of foods; truly “bacon, bacon, bacon” is all I hear about. I wish I could say I’m over it, but … I just can’t quit you, bacon. From breakfast sandwiches to pastas to “vegetable dishes,” I am guilty of prolonging the bacon craze all on my own. Bacon plus sweet is one of my favorite combinations, but bacon jam made with onions, vinegar and coffee? Hello nurse (and cardiologist)! It’s amazing on toast with a little tomato, as a base for dressing, or tossed into pasta with scallops and fresh basil. The fact is: Bacon is the most popular Brady, so we might as well embrace it.

Bacon Jam
Makes about 2 cups
Adapted by Dee Ryan from a recipe courtesy of The Delicious Life Blog

1 lb. sliced bacon (such as Nueske’s applewood-smoked bacon)
1 medium white onion, chopped
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup brewed coffee

• In a large pot or skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until cooked thoroughly but not yet crisp. Remove from the skillet and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and set the skillet over medium-low heat.
• Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. Stir in the vinegar, brown sugar and coffee and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir the bacon pieces back into the skillet.
• If you have a slow cooker or Crock-Pot, remove the skillet from the heat, pour the mixture into the slow cooker and cook on high for 3 hours. If you do not have a slow cooker or Crock-Pot, reduce the heat of the stove and allow the mixture to simmer in the skillet on low for 1 to 1½ hours, stirring regularly. Note: Do not wander off; you need to babysit this one. Sugar can burn very quickly.
• Once the liquid begins to evaporate and the mixture turns syrupy, transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until it reaches a chunky, jam-like consistency.
• Let the jam cool to room temperature and store, covered, in the refrigerator. Eat within 2 weeks.

Bacon wins at St. Louis Bread Co.’s Sandwich Showdown

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

102611_paniniBack in August, we told you about a new promotion St. Louis Bread Co., was holding that prompted sandwich-loving St. Louisans to design a new sandwich to appear on the menu at all area St. Louis Bread locations. Portions of the proceeds from the sandwich’s sales would go to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and the creator of the winning ‘wich would take home a $2,500 prize.

Today, The Great Sandwich Showdown concluded with four judges (including Sauce publisher Allyson Mace) tasting their way through the top five sandwiches chosen from more than 800 entries. So, which ‘wich won the prize? Well, no surprise here, bacon won the race. The BLTT touts Gouda cheese, chipotle mayonnaise, apple wood-smoked bacon, baby spinach and vine-ripened tomatoes all on two slices of tomato-basil bread. The creator of the BLTT, Lauren Day, took home a hefty check –and bragging rights every time she walks into a Bread Co., of course.

Just more proof that bacon makes everything better.

Niche, Zingerman’s have St. Louis in bacon daze

Friday, May 7th, 2010

050710_nicheGerard Craft devotees are well aware that the chef has an affinity for bacon. So, too, does Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Ann Arbor, Mich., institution Zingerman’s Delicatessen and author of Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon. Pair the pork paramours, and you can understand why the bacon dinner held last night at Niche sold out within six hours of its announcement.

After having snagged seats at this four-course bacon bonanza, Sauce agrees with Craft and Weinzweig that bacon can, indeed, secure a spot in any meal – from start to finish. It began with a melt-in-your-mouth house-cured lardo drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with walnuts, then moved to the innovative Hangtown Fry (pictured above), made of an egg-ramps purée, fried oyster and bacon caviar (the preparation for this alone deserves an article unto itself) all stuffed into an eggshell. Next was our fave of the night, bacon hash, a composition of crispy jowl, locally grown micro greens, peas and a poached egg, placed atop toasted Companion bread. Bits and Grits Waffles involved a grits-based waffle topped with smoked pork belly, and a touch of maple jus served with clam chowder, an airy clam foam, baby carrots and pea shoots from Claverach Farm. Suffice it to say that dessert – bacon ice cream rolled inside chocolate cake, drizzled with bacon chocolate gravy and served with a wedge of pork fat brittle – was hardly a gammon.

An animated Weinzweig led the bacon enthusiasts through the annals of bacon and the storied beginnings of Zingerman’s. He’ll be doing the same today from noon until 2 p.m. at Straub’s at 8282 Forsyth in Clayton, where customers can pick up a signed copy of Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon and grab a bite of Weinzweig’s Cheese-Bacon Scone, a recipe featured in the book.

– Ligaya Figueras

Photograph by Ligaya Figueras

Homer Simpson would squeal with delight

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

011210_baconStarting tomorrow, the folks at The Wine & Cheese Place will launch a major offensive in the war against vegetarianism. More specifically, they’ll announce the first artisan bacon to be featured in what they deem “the year of the BACON at TWCP.”

But this is just the beginning: TWCP has huge plans, as you may have gathered from the quote. Monthly (or more frequently, depending on demand – c’mon, biweekly!), the stores will feature a new and different artisan bacon in what’s basically a bacon-of-the-month club … except you don’t have to sign up for anything, do any research or pay shipping costs. All you have to do is arrive in time to buy some before it sells out.

According to TWCP, the fastest and surest way to get details is through its blog or Facebook page. As for the bacon to be announced Wednesday? It sounds like a very worthy debut; this will be its initial offering in St. Louis, and it’s gotten rave reviews elsewhere. Otherwise, I’m not telling – because I want to be first in line.

– Dennis Lowery

High-powered pork

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Have you ever thought, “I’ve made bacon ice cream and bacon vodka and eaten bacon wrapped in caramel hanging from a trapeze, but I’ve never melted a cookie sheet in half using a welding torch made from bacon”?

(That last one caught your attention, didn’t it?)

Well, in my personal quest to bring you all things porcine, I’ve unfortunately found that you just can’t melt a cookie sheet in half with a welding torch made of bacon. But PopSci.com proves you can do it with a torch made of prosciutto – and that’s totally from the same animal.

This is the ultimate don’t try this at home kitchen technique. It is supercool, though.

Sure, people who don’t share your passion for the magical animal will ask stupid questions like, “Why would anyone do this?” and “What kind of moron would even dream of this?” Your answer: Who cares? They just melted a cookie sheet with pig!

So go here to get your swine on. There’s a video about halfway down.

– Dennis Lowery

Big Red

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

If you like pork – and we know you do – you’ll want to dine at Maplewood’s Monarch Restaurant and Edwardsville’s Erato on Main soon. Chefs Joshua Galliano and Kevin Willmann have started working with their respective halves of a locally raised Red Wattle, a heritage breed pig making its area debut. The beef-like meat, Willmann reported, is amply marbled.

Galliano will be serving dishes like boudin noir with mashed potatoes and roasted apples topped off with a crème fraîche-mustard sauce. Pork loin is likely later on. Willmann will likewise have loin chops seasoned with apple-cider brine along with a cold-smoked, Louisiana-style andouille sausage with hefty pork chunks. Also watch for bacon, ribs, hocks, snout, fatback – the works. Having weighed in at about 220 pounds, this big Red Wattle promises to go a long way.

– Photo courtesy of Marian Van Beever of Five Ponds Farm

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