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Bacon

Me and my crew are a pack of old school,hard rolling G's who love our bacon.After Big Ray at Ray's Steakhouse bit the dust we were out of pocket for a minute[who can forget their deranged chef who would chicken fry bacon,stuff it into a big pork chop then chicken fry that?].Subsequent to the fate of Ray's we've found consort with a few different local joints that give out a good fix.But now it's time for something new.Tell me about your bacon fixation:You might be a bacontarian...you might be a vegetarian who steps into the Clearlight from time to time or you may have a casual relationship with bacon that still produces memorable bacon moments.Tell me where to go to find life-fullfilling,delicious,wonderous,misty water color bacon memories...

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  1. You and your hard rolling G's should roll over to Shanghai for dim sum. They have a roasted pork belly dish that is intense. I guess it's not really bacon as it's not smoked.

    1. I've read your opinion about bacon in tacos (barely cooked, not crispy), so I'm not sure that we're seeing the same platonic ideal. Nevertheless...

      Not EVERY visit, but the best traditional breakfast bacon I've had in Austin is Eastside Cafe. Some orders are too crispy, which ruins it. But usually, it hits the ideal. Due to practice over the past year, I can now do about as good at home. But all things considered, my fave breakfast bacon option in Austin.

      I'll also throw out the obvious Bacon Steakie at Uchi. It will rock your face. Actually, two of three orders will rock your face. One of three will be slightly too fatty to rock anything other than your dreams at what might be. But the perfect Bacon Steakie -- ideal meat-to-fat ratio, perfectly cooked -- is my fave bacon item in the world.

      1. I've heard tale of the sandwich at Freddie's Place (I don't go there often because it is quite far from my neck of the woods, but did enjoy it in the past). I looked it up on Foodhawk and it might be right up your alley: Freddie's Heart Attack-Toasted texas toast served open faced with tomatoes,10 slices of bacon and queso

        Has anyone else tried this?

        1 Reply
        1. re: ashes

          I have. It isn't bad, although you can get a sandwich of the same quality (and volume) from Sonic, with some special ordering.

        2. Hi scrumptiouschef,

          This may not really be what you're looking for, but one of my favorite bacon dishes in town has been the apple-bacon pudding served as a side dish (with the lamb, I believe) at Jeffrey's. I thought their version was wonderful, but I don't know if it's a menu staple. If only I could find a good bacon-potato gratin.

          Unfortunately, none of the other bacon-specific dishes that come to mind are particularly noteworthy. They're mostly your standard bacon-wrapped items (jalapeños, shrimp, scallops, steaks, and even hot dogs), bacon as part of a sandwich, or bacon as a breakfast side. You didn't really ask about pork belly, but you probably already know about much-discussed dishes featuring it (at Asia Cafe, for example). Along those lines, there's also the bacon-steakie at Uchi, mentioned above by tom in austin.

          Even though I didn't answer your question, maybe you'd care to share where your crew and you currently go to satisfy your bacon cravings? I mean, other than chowing down on the egg, potato, and bacon tacos at Taquería el Rinconsito. (By now I'm guessing that you've sweet-talked those señoras into making pozole especially for you?)

          Best,
          MPH

          3 Replies
          1. re: MPH

            More thoughts on bacon: I noticed today that Spec's sells Nueske's Bacon, for a pretty good price. It's located in one of the refrigerated cases in the deli section.

            Thanks to this post, I was craving a BLT all day and finally had one at Sandy's Frozen Custard (which was the choice of a co-worker who wanted their Thursday burger-combo special for $3.19). The sandwich was your standard white-bread, tomato, and iceberg-lettuce version, but the thin bacon was quite sweet (not salty), broken into halves, and not crunchy at all.

            1. re: MPH

              MPH...wandering far afield one day a few years back I found myself on the top floor of an office building on the Northeast corner of Hwy 290 E and I-35.There was a small cafe located on a wing of this big pink,stone structure...I didn't expect too much but with my nose to the ground I entered and was summarily blown away[Deep Chow style]
              They had somehow secured the services of a chef who,in his wisdom had decided to run the following as his sandwich special:"Smoked Outside Slice Bacon,Havarti and Sriracha sauce on Grilled House Sourdough Bread"
              The man was a fiend,clearly,but this one epic sandwich has haunted me ever since.
              I was thinking of this dish[a one off...I never went back] when I wrote my original post.

              1. re: MPH

                Glad to see others know of Nueske's. My sister moved to Milwaukee a few years back, and when I went to visit she said I had to try this bacon. It was terrific, and every christmas she sends me a gift package of Nueske's. It really is fantastic bacon.

                For something more local, I am a HUGE fan of the bacon that they sell at Granzin's in New Braunfels. If you are ever driving up the corridor, I do recommend stopping by.

            2. Oh...just thought of one other bacontastic experience I've had recently. At Vespaio, about a month or so ago, the risotto for the night was served with or rather covered with delicate strips of lamb belly bacon. This was like bacon to the nth degree and bordered on the bacon coma level. It was fantastic--fatty, rich, with tender lightly pickled onions and the creamy risotto. I wouldn't suggest it to just anyone (the lamb had a taste I can't quite describe that was different from your average slab o' pork and the meal was likely too rich for many palates), but I think it fits your wants.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ashes

                Whoa, lamb bacon. How often is this served?

                Speaking of which, Katz's has beef bacon, but I doubt it's as good as lamb.

                Oh, you know you can buy jowl bacon from Peach Creek Farm at the Austin Farmers Market (the downtown one, not Sunset Valley).

                1. re: Mersenne twister

                  It was a nightly special (the risotto rotates every to every other night) so I'm not sure how often it is served. None the less, I'm sure if you called them they might have some idea of if and when it might reappear.

              2. scrumpt must've read the same article I did on chow regarding the coinage of the term bacontarian, no? Ha. I love that, as I have been veg. on and off for 13 years, and yet, I have always told my friends that bacon is the "gateway drug." So true. That said, traditional breakfast bacon is a weakness, and I will second the rec for East Side Cafe's, though I prefer it nice and crisp, and order it that way. I like it to crisp off in my mouth and then melt there... No real substitue. Another weakness (someone just brought this up on another thread) are refried beans cooked up in bacon fat with a few bacon niblets too, in a well seasoned cast-iron skillet. Even when I was a strict veg I' look the other way and just pretend not to notice the bacon flavour that practically made me drool. I will prob be ragged on for this but I actually had some amazing ones at El Chile a couple months ago, though the experience wasn't duplicated on my last visit.

                1. Peach Creek Farm sells wonderful bacon (and other pork products) at the Austin Farmer's Market at the Triangle on Wed and downtown on Sat. Definitely recommended.

                  1. Haven't tried it myself (and probably won't in this lifetime), but I'm a mite surprised nobody has mentioned the infamous bacon brittle frenzy of a few months back.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: MobyRichard

                      I tasted a vosges chocolate bar with bacon at the nyc fancy food show. It woulda been awesome with peanut butter. PB and bacon is a mean sandwich, fyi.

                      1. re: LeroyT

                        I have the Vosges bar in my chocolate drawer right now. At first, I didn't love it, but I think it had just been in my bag in the heat of the day too long. Now that it's been in my drawer, I am enjoying it, though I think I'd like a 65-70% dark chocolate better than the 41% in this bar.

                        In Atlanta I had a dish at Element that was something like crisp chorizo sliced super thin and fried and topped with a dark chocolate drizzle. It blew my mind.

                        1. re: foodiegal71

                          I disagree... I am usually a dark chocoholic, but the saltiness of the bacon would be too savory against a bitter chocolate backdrop. I think the alder smoked salts also balance the smoothness of the milk chocolate with slight crunches of crystals. You should really give it at a try. It's called Mo's Bacon Bar by Vosges and I think they're available at Whole foods and Grapevine market.

                    2. We just returned from vacation, and dined out for breakfast at a place that served Allan Benton smokehouse bacon. It was a revelation, like eating a slice of Lockhart brisket after a lifetime of Bill Miller. Rich, smoky, utter genius.

                      Is anyone in Austin serving (or selling) bacon that good? No "uncured" bacon need apply - it's an infrequent luxury, and we'll risk the nitrites.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: brentwood

                        Foreign and Domestic serves Benton's ham. I think some of his stuff shows a bit too much smoke, but his bacon is great for cooking. I haven't found anything comparable locally, but it's easy to mail order.

                        1. re: Steven Dilley

                          Strongly considering mail order, both straight from Benton and from the Grateful Palate. I think we're just going to have to try some of the folks at the Farmers Markets and see how they are.

                        2. re: brentwood

                          Brent,
                          Thanks for the trip in the wayback machine.

                          I keep Benton's in my freezer and cook it once a month or so. It's the real deal. I had some in a bag I was delivering to a friend of mine once with a different lesser bacon. The Benton's mugged the weaker bacon.

                          Foreign and Domestic serves the Benton Ham and I believe the bacon as well but in dessert form. The desserts are better than the savory items there anyway.

                          Benton's has had a good long moment in the sun now with all the national media attention but you're about to start hearing about Fudge Farms out of Alabama.

                          Madisonville Tn ain't that far of a piece to drive for good bacon maybe a thousand and fifty miles or so. I do it about once a year and stock up. If I run out I just do the mail order https://bentonshams.com/order/index.php

                          Prices are good for the level of quality. Too bad about Preservation bacon going on hiatus. That guy was starting to put out some artisan quality bacon round here.

                          Now that we've got the thread going again: What's your favorite Austin area bacon?

                          Any local chefs doing interesting things with bacon like making it in house?

                          I know Perla was making some good stuff in house til the big dustup over there awhile back.