This last weekend, instead of doing homework like I should have, I went to Des Moines to attend Baconfest '09, at El Bait Shop. I regret nothing. That is my entire motto about this festival.
I was tipped off about Baconfest (BF) by Jim Duncan, who mentioned I should just say I am "media" and they will let me in. I was skeptical, but I did know of the generosity of Iowans and their desire to share bacon with everyone. However, I needn't have worried: I had friends here.
I walked past the ticket counter into a bar overflowing with people and bacon;a glorious heaven. The sign above showed it all.
Jim Duncan and Steve McNeal escorted me back into the fortified bacon area, outside the kitchen. From here we escorted bacon to the table which ringed us. It also meant we could check out the behind the scenes action.
I started the day off with these puppies: mini bacon sliders with bacon wrapped hush puppies on top. I had unfortunately missed the BLT served before, but this started the day off correctly. It was not a revelation, but a decent bacon burger. I approved.
Above, you can see those bacon wrapped tater tots better. They were OK- they just tasted like bacon. Not that's a bad thing.
Throughout the day, bacon would just come out. There was a continual stream of it, from all sorts of different producers and varieties. Iowa Farm Families produced, as always, some excellent product, which I tried in pepper, maple, applewood and hickory varieties. I liked the applewood and hickory the best. It tasted like bacon should taste. Also up was Eden Farms, which was pretty good as well. It had better texture and marbling than flavor though.
The day also included various amuse bouches. The above was bacon wrapped chorizo- very nummy. The spiciness of the chorizo complimented...
I can't even feign pretension. It tasted like bacon. Delicious, delicious bacon.
After that, we went outside to the smoker, where the bacon explosions were smoking. Above is Brook, the organizer of the event, as well as my good friend Jim Duncan.
I mentioned that my camera would smell like bacon for a week, and some smiles came out.
A bacon explosion, by the way, is bacon, wrapped in italian sausage, bound together with a bacon weave. Burnt Finger BBQ, who was also in attendance at BF09, provides a good overview.
Here you can see the torpedo-shaped calorie logs smoking.
The bar was packed with people. It was a great old time, and I met some really nice new friends.
There were always eager young lads diving into the bacon tubs, which were always filled with hot and fresh bacon of different varietals.
Every so often, I ventured into the kitchen, just to be overawed by bacon. As you can see, every hot surface was grilling up bacon.
Here is some Eden Farms bacon sizzling under the broiler. Let me repeat: everything that could cook bacon was being used to satiate our unending hunger!
Later in the day the Bacon Explosions came. They were first coated in Burnt Finger BBQ sauce...
And then sliced. To be put on biscuits.
Back in the front, more people enjoyed their bacon. Look at those smiles!
When the bacon explosion sandwiches hit, people were digging in by the handful.
Some more amuse bouches: pineapple wrapped in bacon. Just tasted like bacon.
Fongs also donated their bacon popper pizza. I could see having this more often. Whereas the explosion was a lot of "fun", this was legitimately good. It had a far better crust than it needed to, and the toppings were most excellent. Two slices of this went down the hatch.
As the afternoon wore on the crowd became more lethargic. The Bacon Explosion sandwiches did not go at such a high rate.
Brook kept on trucking though. Shown here devouring bacon ice cream.
Some of my friends from Burnt Finger BBQ, as well as Mr Baconpants. Check the link for his excellent website.
For desert, we had bacon ice cream with bacon truffle, topped with a little of Templeton Rye's excellent whiskey.
I think that picture sums the event up: booze and bacon. Thanks to all that made this such a success!