"Baconfest 2010: A Bacon Odyssey" By Chef Lance Avery

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Another successful Baconfest consumed and completed. One word can describe the trip, kindness. Iowans are the nicest people around. Baconfest should be called lovefest, with a love for that smoky salty pork belly.

The day started off with many of the premium high-end bacon suppliers around the country showcasing their top notch bacon.  My personal awards for the best bacon go to Iowa Farm Families (www.iowafarmfamilies.com), La Quercia (http://www.laquercia.us/home/ ) and Eden Farms (www.edenfarms.net ).  Their products out shined their competitors in flavor complexity and overall satisfaction. 

After the bacon tasting, we headed upstairs to hear a lecture on Templeton Rye Whiskey, another Iowa original.  Scott Bush, owner and creator of Templeton Rye, described the secret recipe dating back before Prohibition times in Templeton, IA.  This Rye also has ties to Al Capone, Chicago, and to the Prohibition trade.  Still made in Templeton, IA this six year old company sells all 5,000 cases in Iowa and Chicago.  Often in Iowa there is a 3 month waiting list to get a prized bottle or two.  They have expanded their operations to try and support demand (and hopefully expand beyond those two states) but since the aging process is 5 years, they are handcuffed to their estimated projections 5 years ago.  They ended the lecture with a small tasting, hardly quenching the thirst of this bacon crazed crowd.     

Back downstairs the event was in full bacon tilt.  There were Maple Glazed Bacon Donuts from Dahl’s Foods (www.dahlfoods.com/), the original Bacon Explosion on a Bun from BBQ Addicts (www.bbqaddicts.com/), Chocolate-Coated Bacon from Chocolate Story Book (www.chocolatestory.com), and the crowd’s favorite, Bacon Bananas Foster from Charlie Baggs Inc. served with Maple Bacon Butter Pecan Ice Cream from Bauder’s Pharmacy (3802 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309) Video of Baconfest, Lance prepares Bacon Bananas Foster

Bacon Bananas Foster

Yield:  4-6 Servings                                                                 
Ingredients        Amount
Butter, salted      2 Tbsp.
Bacon fat     2 Tbsp.
Light Brown Sugar   ¾ cup
Templeton Rye Whiskey   ¼ cup
Pure Vanilla Extract    2 tsp.
Cinnamon, ground    ½ tsp
Bananas, yellow, no black, sliced    3
Bacon, Iowa Farm Families, cooked crisp, coarsely chopped    ¼ cup
Maple Bacon Butter Pecan Ice Cream (Bauder’s Pharmacy)   1 pint
Method of Preparation

  1. Melt the butter and bacon fat over a large sauté pan over medium high heat.  Add the sugar and let cook until the sugar completely liquefies. 
  2. Let the sugar cook over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add whiskey and flambé. 
  4. Add the vanilla, cinnamon and banana and cook for an additional minute.
  5. Serve over ice cream and top with bacon.

The day was finalized by the bacon eating contest where each competitor is given 3 lbs. of deep fried bacon.  The reigning champ won again, consuming nearly 2.5 lbs. of bacon in the five minute competition. 

In summary, the fest was a complete success from start to finish.  If you have a love for bacon as much as I do, I’d consider Baconfest in Des Moines, IA sometime late February 2011.  

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