The January/February copy of Ohio Pork Line, the publication of the Ohio Pork Producers Council, just arrived. It has the most beautiful photo of a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich you have ever seen. OK it’s lunchtime for me and I need to get this written before I can get something to eat. And right now I am leaning towards a BLT. I don’t see a caption telling who took the photo, probably came from the National Pork Producers Council as part of the overall effort to market bacon. Whatever, it’s done the job. I am pretty particular about my bacon. I like it carefully sizzled with no undercooked fat or overcooked meat. I like a little hickory-smoked taste. This looks pretty near perfect.
I recently finished the February issue of Ohio Farmer, which also features bacon on the cover. It’s not quite aged or smoked or processed or slaughtered. In fact it’s bacon on the hoof at about 50 pounds -- one of the pigs from the Heimerl’s feeding barn near Johnstown. Actually, I got quite an education about bacon in the process of writing the story. It something the Ohio Pork Producers are featuring to sell more pork. Check out their Web site OhioPork.org. They are doing a nice job with it. If you live near Cleveland, you may have noticed the organization’s Super Bowl ads for “bacon farming.”
As part of my story I delved into all the things that people are making with bacon. I didn’t take much Internet searching to find bacon that was maple flavored, pepper covered, pecan crusted, onion caramelized, brown-sugar glazed, green-bean bundled and asparagus wrapped. Not to mention a bacon martini and a bacon milkshake and bacon cola. In one recipe it is simply referred to as “pig candy.”
So just when I thought I had researched just about every possible bacon mixture in the world, this morning I wandered over to the “4 Reason Deli” next door to my office here in Lancaster. As I was explaining to the owner Therese Ryckman all the delicious ways people are serving bacon and she says, “Well, have you tried one of our bacon no-bakes? We call them Bacon Squealers.”
Sure enough there on the baked goods display case was a big sign offering “Delicious Bacon Squealers.” Therese says they have been a big hit. “People really like ‘em,” she says. “We’ve been selling them ever since just after Thanksgiving.”
Ryckman says the deli uses a lot of bacon. It comes in precooked strips which they throw on the grill and sizzle up for sandwiches, soups, salads and of course cookies. “We use 8 strips on a club sandwich alone,” she says. “Using pre-cooked strips saves us from having to deal with a lot of grease.”
She offered me a chocolate bacon no-bake and while I am a huge fan of bacon and mega-huge fan of chocolate, I am not so sure that I can really support the “Bacon Squealers.” For me it is not that classic match like bacon and eggs.
That said I can’t wait to get over there and have a BLT --maybe a cup of bacon-flavored coffee to go with it.