"Awesome!" A Blog.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Burgers' Jowl Bacon (bacon #2)

A few days ago, the dog started barking and a corn-fed man in a brown uniform strode back down my sunny driveway, having just deposited a hearty parcel of pork on my doorstep. Is there any tableau so quintessentially American? I nearly stood at attention, hat held proudly over heart, humming the Pledge of Allegiance. (I quickly remembered that the Pledge of Allegiance is not the national anthem, and sat back down.)

That is correct: Bacon of the Month Club shipment No. 2 is here. This one is Burgers' Smokehouse "Sliced Country Pork Jowl." It comes to us from the curiously named California, Missouri.

Being face bacon, rather than belly bacon, I suppose it's akin to guanciale, the mythical product that Mario Batali has been espousing for so many years. What I notice is that it's nearly pure fat, with very little meat. This is no bad thing. It's a cooking tool like any other, and I can see it as a sort of "final jammies," wrapped around so many different grilled foods, basting them while protecting their tender flesh from direct heat. I think of using it like caul fat, like the fancy fellows do on Iron Chef. To hold things together. Will I finally buy a weird little frozen quail? Will I finally do a scallop wrapped in bacon? I think all of these horseshoes are at least leaners.

I've only had a small sampling of Burgers' -- my typical "control group slice," done plain in a pan. It was pure fat, without any streak of meat, though most of the rest of the package does have a pencil of pink in it. It's nothing like Father's bacon. Tasting it does not bring to mind scenes of a randy redneck taking advantage of Ned Beatty in the woods while a cross-eyed hillbilly plucks a banjo on a porch. This product has none of that dense hickory perfume, and is just itself, pure pork essence. It's a much more subtle flavor.

I'll keep you posted. As ever, thanks for the recipes and techniques that continue to flow in. I read them all, and mull over them, and on occasion have even had them recur to me as I stood in a line or waited at a traffic light.