the ultimate bacon smackdown menu! aka 8 courses of delicious pig.

i am virtually comatose from bacon overload, but the first annual top iron chef bacon invitational showdown competition was a huge success. the pork belly has never been showcased to such creative heights. both kwame and i produced four dishes – an tiny amuse bouche/starter, an appetizer, and an entree, as well as a bacon related dessert, for a judging panel of our serious foodie friends. kwame was a formidable opponent and i’m proud to have been a part of this culinary extravaganza.  to give you an idea of the level of competition, the preparation included, but was not limited to, a blowtorch, brining with juniper berries, homemade icecream, bacon-infused bourbon, white truffle oil, chocolate-dipped bacon, and that’s just the beginning. continue reading to get a brief overview of the menu with some food porn orgasmtastic photos. i dare you not to read further after seing part of kwame’s dessert below…

bacon french toast

i knew you wouldn’t be able to resist that sugary and creamy goodness. most of the following photos are of kwame’s dishes, since i took more photos of my own dishes throughout the cooking process, but i’ll do another post tomorrow on my preparation. i’ll cover all the dishes here though, with as many photos as possible. first off, the amuses. kwame prepared a spoon of perfectly scrambled eggs with a sprinking of bacon dust on top. i made a bacon-wrapped jalapeño stuffed with a jalapeño-chipotle-bacon cream cheese. this is not a particularly good photo, but check it:

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for course two, i made a white bean soup rendered with bacon fat, poured into shot glasses and topped with a sprinkling of fresh chives, a drop of truffle oil, and a spoonful of crispy pancetta. kwame made an truly unbelievably delicious trio of pork nigiri, something i’ve never really seen before. i think the three pork cuts were a wet-cured prosciutto that was basically a straight up slab of fat on sushi rice, a dry cured prosciutto that was more typically striated like bacon (i.e. had actual meat involved, not just uber-fattiness) and finally some sort of dark sweet almost candied bacon.

dry-cured-prosciutto-nigiri

that’s a photo of kwame torching the fat on top of the nigiri. holy shit, pig fat tastes delicious. salty and surprisingly not that greasy, a perfect complement to the understated taste of the sushi rice. you can’t even imagine how good it was.

for our third course, i made fried pork belly dumplings with trumpet mushrooms and napa cabbage on top of a bacon fat fried rice with eggs, scallions, and crispy pancetta. kwame made one of the tasties pieces of pig i’ve ever had, a brined pork belly with seared crispy skin and the most tender meaty belly meat ever. apparently he brined it with a whole ridiculous assortment of spices i can’t remember for the life of me, except i do remember that it included star anise and juniper berries. WTF? who is this guy? several of us said, in all seriousness, that it might have been one of the best pork dishes we’ve eaten in our lives. here’s a picture of the belly cut:

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and here’s a photo of kwame searing up the skin into an amazingly crispy outer layer like a sweet lacquered candy shell:

pork-belly

good lord. there were a couple of vegetables involved – brussels sprouts with pancetta and both purple and and orange-y roasted cauliflower, but, while delicious, they defiinitely couldn’t compete with the porky perfection brined , roasted and seared to deliciousness. finally, we finished with a multi-part dessert offering from each of us. i’m glad that both of us independently decided to get all intense and make a dessert of several components, otherwise it would have been embarassing for the person who showed up with a twinkie and a piece of bacon poking out.  kwame made an insane french toast with sugared bacon strips on top, homemade espresso ice cream (i know, insane) with some sort of steamed milk beverage, and a creme anglaise type of sauce spooned on top. don’t you just want to lick your computer screen right now?

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i made  a warm maple oatmeal bacon chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla gelato (made by ciao bella, i must admit) and drizzed with bourbon bacon fat caramel sauce with a chocolate dipped bacon slice rolled in maple nuts. for an accompanying bacon cocktail, i infused some maker’s mark bourbon with bacon fat, then added a splash of guinness and a scoop of vanilla gelato for a thoroughly bizarre end to the evening of pigginess. here’s a photo of the cookies fresh out of the oven…

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i made bacon-themed judging sheets for the eaters, which was an iron-chef style scoring system of 1-10 points given for taste, 1-5 points given for originality, and 1-5 points for presentation, to combine for a score of total bacon awesomeness.  i’m happy to announce that once votes were tallied, the scores were neck and neck but finally gave the ultimate bacon top iron chef smackdown competition title to….KWAME HARRIS!!!! i was so thoroughly enthralled and overwhelmed by the deliciousness of his dishes and the effort and thought put into his creations that i’m super happy about how it went down and am proud to have just held my own in the competition. i should have known that a dude with 7 cartons of farm-fresh eggs and a whole chicken with feet in his fridge would produce shit that is seriously gour-FUCKING-met. overall, it was a fabulous assortment of food-loving and food-knowledgable friends getting together to enjoy and appreciate the wonders of the pig and the creativity of their friends. next up – the sodium-free smackdown…BATTLE CITRUS. more info to come…

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2 thoughts on “the ultimate bacon smackdown menu! aka 8 courses of delicious pig.

  1. Allan Hough says:

    I can’t believe you didn’t invite me.

  2. […] February 25, 2009 by mei here’s an overview of the recipes i used for last night’s bacon-off, in case you’d like to plan your own iron chef-style smackdown. the full overview of the evening can be found here… […]

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