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How I became addicted to Fatted Calf bacon...

Carb Lover Sep 11, 2006 06:42 AM

I blame it on you hounds like Morton the Mousse and Sixy. You just HAD to keep raving and raving about FC bacon until I could bear it no longer. Then I blame you, Nathan P. for being so kind and offering to pick up any products for me on your sojourn to the Berkeley farmer's market. Hounds' raving of favorite FC products is evidenced here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/310698?user_name=&query=fatted+calf

I don't like to make "best" claims often, but this was truly the best bacon I've ever encountered. I knew it was special from the moment I saw it sealed in plastic. The extra thick cut bacon was striated w/ gorgeous ribbons of fat and had a fresh pale glow. Upon opening the bag, the intense smoky aroma was released. As I fried it on low-med heat, it slowly exuded a clear pool of fat (the most I had ever witnessed from 4 strips of bacon) w/ very little sputtering from water one sees w/ bad bacon.

I can't think of a better way to feature this phenomenal bacon right now then in a BLT. In my case, it was a BST (w/ spinach). I cooked it to very crispy the first time and just shy of crispy the second time. Preferred the latter. It's a very assertive, meaty bacon, so I liked it better in the sandwich than on its own. It also tasted really good mopped up in some maple syrup alongside sourdough pancakes...

Photo of bacon taken to very crispy:

Photo of BST:

Photo of bacon taken to shy of crispy w/ pancakes:

BTW, I reserved the bacon fat for cooking! Nathan, husband, and I sampled many other goodies and enjoyed them all. Mortadella, duck rillettes, and ciccioli were particularly outstanding. Seems like you can't go wrong w/ FC, and now I must get me more bacon! About $10/lb. and worth every penny.

Does anyone know from where FC sources their meat, particularly their pork? And if you think there's another bacon (bonus points if in South Bay) that I can transfer my addiction to, please share!

  1. s
    Sixy Sep 12, 2006 12:42 PM

    Aha - i wasnt sure if there was an official name for it so I made mind up. If I was in a deli I would actually ask for a "BLT with Avocado"
    I can't really call my own version guac since i just mash the avocado with a little lemon and salt and pepper or do nothing to it and just slice it and put it in the sarnie..

    Last week I made my "BLATs" with lightly toasted Acme bread (sweet for me, levain for him)
    Heirloom Tomatoes from Eatwell (http://www.eatwell.com/produce/tomato.html
    )Fatted calf rind on bacon (http://www.fattedcalf.com/
    )Gwen Avocados from Brokaw (willsavocados.com)
    (these GWEN avocados are amazing - don't miss out on them whilst they are in season)
    Homemade mayo
    Frisee from Star Route (http://www.starroutefarms.com/index.html


    My French other half is totally crazy about "frisee Lardons" and I make every one or two weeks with the FC bacon and the Star Route Frisee as long as they have it. Yes, FC bacon even manages to make boring old lettuce taste goood!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sixy
      lexdevil Sep 12, 2006 03:57 PM

      Really just a lame attempt at humor. I think you'd get a puzzled reaction in many places if you ordered a GLBT, though I'm surprised I never saw it on the menu at Hot'n'Hunky.

      1. re: lexdevil
        Gary Soup Sep 14, 2006 06:02 AM

        I think LGBT would be the politically correct designator in SF.

    2. s
      Sixy Sep 11, 2006 11:40 PM

      I know its hard not to eat it all at once but don't forget you can FREEZE the bacon - and so if you limit yourself to one "BLAT" at a time (I have to have Avocado in mine too) then one pack of Fatted Calf bacon could last you a few meals, which evens out the cost.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sixy
        lexdevil Sep 12, 2006 06:14 AM

        I've always called it the GLBT (Guacamole, Lettuce, Bacon, & Tomato), but it seems its identity is even less fixed than I'd imagined.

      2. Ruth Lafler Sep 11, 2006 09:35 PM

        Your description sounds very much like the Neuske slab bacon I've been buying from Baron's Meats. If you can find a butcher in the South Bay who carries Neuske, that might be an alternative when you can't get the Fatted Calf.

        I agree with your observation that good quality bacon actually tastes better when not as well done. Maybe because it does have a distinct meat flavor as well as fat, and overcooking it mutes that flavor (as cooking meat well-done always does).

        1. m
          MuppetGrrl Sep 11, 2006 08:31 PM

          BLTs are truly one of those special, perfect sandwiches that are only right once a year.

          And y'all are tempting me to try the FC bacon, although the price is a bit of a turnoff for me.

          3 Replies
          1. re: MuppetGrrl
            JasmineG Sep 11, 2006 08:39 PM

            The price is well worth it, especially when you consider that it really means that the package of bacon that you get is only a dollar or so more than any other good quality bacon. It's really that amazing.

            1. re: MuppetGrrl
              Carb Lover Sep 12, 2006 08:17 AM

              BLTs and versions thereof are hands down my favorite sandwiches. Perfectly simple and balanced.

              I am a frugal foodie (alright, cheapskate), but FC's bacon is a very good value IMO. Two slices go a long way, and that's all you need in one sandwich to make it explode w/ flavor! I believe there were 10 slices total in my package, which is 5 very delicious and satisfying servings.

              Just for comparison, anyone know the average price per pound of Nueske? And yes, I will sacrifice myself in the name of a Dittmer's bacon showdown...

              1. re: Carb Lover
                Ruth Lafler Sep 12, 2006 04:30 PM

                I don't know the average price, but the Nueske is $8.95/lb at my butcher, with the added value that they'll cut it to order so it's exactly the way you want it.

                I agree that higher quality bacon is a good value, because I'm satisfied with a lot less.

            2. d
              DrBiggles Sep 11, 2006 06:26 PM


              It used to be Niman, this I know. But Taylor is a wily butcher and likes to play. If you're a fan of bacon, you must at least try it once. Variety is the spice of life!

              I found Dittmer's a solid performer, but it's never been outstanding. And the last 2 pounds I bought a few months ago was mostly fat. Belly bacon can vary an awful lot so I don't hold it against them.


              1. g
                gordon wing Sep 11, 2006 03:52 PM

                Now that's a good looking BST! makin' me hungry.

                1. s
                  Sixy Sep 11, 2006 03:42 PM

                  I am not going to say sorry for your new addiction. But I guess I might be sorry if you get to the market before me and buy out their entire stock. Thank goodness they have pre-ordering available.

                  Have you tried the Fatted Calf rind on bacon too?
                  Be careful not to overcook it because it gets really hard if left too long in the pan.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Sixy
                    Carb Lover Sep 12, 2006 04:50 AM

                    No, haven't tried the rind on bacon. Can you describe the difference in flavor, cooking, serving, etc from the rindless? Now I know how FC bacon "behaves", so I won't run the risk of overcooking again.

                    Thanks for everyone's comments. I still need to try Nueske and need to make a revisit to Dittmer's soon. Oh, a side-by-side bacon tasting would be fun...

                    1. re: Carb Lover
                      Porthos Sep 12, 2006 05:22 AM

                      GENIUS! A bacon showdown. When you do Dittmer's please do all the different types of bacon that they have. Do report soon. I can't wait.

                      1. re: Carb Lover
                        Sixy Sep 12, 2006 05:24 AM

                        As I am english and we like our back bacon on the rare to medium side and are used to the rind on, i was foolish to try and cook my first batch of fatted calf rind-on the american way - til really crispy. the rind is like a thin pork crackling and it got really really hard (to the point i thought i would break my teeth on it). I was just trying to please the BF who likes his bacon well done, but next time I am going to do it my english way. Apart from the rind it tastes exactly the same.

                    2. a
                      Alan408 Sep 11, 2006 02:35 PM

                      I have not tried FC's bacon. My go to bacon is from Corralitos Market.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Alan408
                        Carb Lover Sep 11, 2006 02:47 PM

                        Thanks for reminding me about Corralitos bacon. I've purchased it from their farmer's market stand but never been to their store. It's good, but not as exceptional as FC's.

                      2. Porthos Sep 11, 2006 06:48 AM

                        Another knockout place for bacon is Dittmer's in Mountain View. I just got some over the weekend. The stuff is thick cut, leaner than FC bacon, smokey and utterly delicious. I had it with a loaf of ACME italian batard, scrambled eggs, and sauteed garden tomatoes in bacon fat. Since Dittmer's bacon is less fatty, the drippings are a little more scarce.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Porthos
                          Mick Ruthven Sep 12, 2006 12:20 AM

                          I'm looking at Dittmer's website and they list several different types of bacon. Do you know which one you like so much?


                          1. re: Mick Ruthven
                            Porthos Sep 12, 2006 03:02 AM

                            The regular smoked bacon. The Schinkenspeck looked good also but the owners son recommended the regular smoked bacon for breakfast and to render for the braised short rib that I would be making later.

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