Tag Archives: bacon

A Great Deal on Bacon

Our local Bashas grocery store here in Flagstaff has some outstanding bacon with a great price. It’s apple wood smoked, big thick slices and not center cut.    This bacon is also very cheap at 4.99 a pound;  Not a sale price just the everyday price. It is found at the butcher counter. It would be even better if it were sliced to order so a whole slab could be had for recipes but they get it already sliced.

This bacon is also available as ordinary cured, but the apple wood smoked has a wonderful flavor. You can smell the smokey aroma as soon as its unwrapped. This bacon is really good just all by itself as breakfast slices.  Also very good as a burger topper because of the nice smoke flavor. The quality and low price make this one of my all time favorites.

A Day of Beer, Bikes & Bacon – Flight of the Pigs 2011

Some spend the day after Thanksgiving waiting at malls and big box stores and driving around.  I spend it riding, riding some more, having a can of beer on the trail, riding still more, eating bacon, yep still more riding, then at last arriving at Jim and Kim’s house for a tasty keg of Four Peaks beer and some more pork.  What a day.  What exactly am I talking about?  The Flight of the Pigs (FOTP) is a really unique group ride in the Phoenix valley that has been running for 16 years.  Every year for the last five years, this makes number six, I have participated in this ride.

AM rider check in-yep still dark

All riders check in to get the pig tail (pink ribbon) to attach to the back of their bike.  You also weight in with the heaviest rider and bike receiving a rubber pig snout.  At 228 lbs fully ready with bike I was basically dead average.

Flight of the Pigs in South Mountain Park

the riders entering South Mountain Park as the sun rises

The Flight Plan: This is a large part of what makes the ride so great, just riding National or Trail 100 is a bit of an epic, but making a huge loop including even more singletrack at Papago Park and some long stretches on canal paths and roads is a super epic.  For scale, South Mountain Park alone is the largest municipal park in the world at 23,000 acres.  Starting with National Trail in South Mountain Park is perfect, because it’s long, steep and incredibly challenging.

National Trail

We ride as a group to Pima Canyon trailhead, then take the dirt road to National Trail. Ride National Trail all the way to its end at San Juan (using Mormon Trail is allowed). Regroup and ride northwest to the Western Canal. Follow the canal to 7th Ave near Baseline Rd. Go north on 7th Ave. Stop for lunch at Sacks on Thomas and 3rd Ave.

After lunch, continue north on 7th Ave to the Phoenix Mountain Preserve entrance. Ride Trail 100 to its end at Tatum Blvd. People are really tired at this point. The end of trail 100 is known as the grassy knoll. There are at least 75 riders sprawled out on the lawn.

Grassy Knoll

This is where random people, either riders who couldn’t make the whole ride this year or significant others of riders, have provided things like bacon and cans of beer.

Regroup, then go south on Tatum to McDonald Dr, west on McDonald to 44th St, then south on 44th St past Camelback Rd to the Arizona Canal.  Go east along the canal to the Old Crosscut Canal at 48th St.  Follow the canal south to McDowell Rd.  Go east on McDowell to 52nd St, then south on 52nd until you reach the Papago Park entrance.  Ride this road until you can jump onto the trail that goes to the ramada.  Then head east across Galvin Pkwy.  Pass Hole in the Rock on its north side, then ride down to the Phoenix Zoo.  Ride up to and around Hunt’s Tomb (the pyramid).  Regroup, then ride down to the
east and take trails to Curry Rd just east of Mill Ave.  Go to Mill and head south across the bridge.  Go right on University, left on Hardy, right on Guadalupe, left on 48thSt, left on Olney, right and right again onto Pearce back the start.  Here they give out awards and celebrate.

The Vibe:  This is so much fun for all that participate.  Everyone is trying hard to finish and helping each other along the way. There is a lot that can and does go wrong early on along National Trail, this year Chris Gardner suffered a broken frame. He was able to cobble it together and make it home to switch out bikes to finish out the whole ride. The finishers party at Jim’s was especially lively this year as it turned out to be a fast group and it was still light out by the time I started my second beer.  It was Four Peaks Brewery’s Kilt Lifter again if I am not mistaken. Many times I have returned to Jim’s well after dark.

Thanks to Sharon who picks me up and drops me off.

Bacon and Pork Come From the Same Wonderful Animal

bacon wrapped pork tenderloin

The bacon wrapped pork tenderloin before it went on the grill

While we were staying in Avon, CO. we had a room with no stove but it did have a nice gas grill on the balcony so cooking was no problem.  I made a bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin.

bacon wrapped pork tenderloin

The finished product

I placed the tenderloin on a big plate and let it sit out to warm up some so it was not right out of the fridge cold. Then I rubbed it down with some Cajun style seasoning mix from our friends (the Wimmers) and a little bit of McCormick Montreal steak seasoning.  Next up was the bacon wrap.  I stretched the bacon tight around it using several pieces in a spiral and then tied it up.  Meanwhile I had a large cast iron skillet sitting on the grill heating up to about 400 °F.  Once that cast iron was good and hot I put the tenderloin on and let it cook about two minutes on four sides.  This scortched it just a little bit and sealed in the flavor.  Then I turned down the heat and covered it and let it cook about 15 minutes on one side.  Next, I threw some sliced red onions in the empty space on either side of it in the skillet.  Turning it over, I covered it again and let it cook at 300 °F with the lid down for another 15 minutes.  I did quickly turn the onions a few times while it cooked.  Finally, I took it off of the cast iron and let it rest for 10 min.  It was delicious.

A Bacon Dessert

While in Moab, Sharon and I noticed something special on the menu at Eddie McStiffs / Wake and Bake cafe, (they share a kitchen it seems). This was the maple bacon parfait. It consists of maple ice cream, abundant chunks of candied bacon and spiced candied nuts, with whip cream on top. This thing was delicious. It sounds a little weird at first, but the flavors really do work together and the bacon really does make it better.

jay with bacon parfait

About to eat the Maple Bacon parfait

Stevens Locker – local bacon

Stevens Locker is a meat processor located in Loa, Utah. When we passed through Loa it was not open, in fact nothing was that Sunday. However, further down the road in Torrey Utah, we stopped in at the only store that appeared to have groceries and discovered that they were selling meat from Stevens Locker. We got some bacon, and I later regretted not also getting some steaks. The steaks looked perfect and were reasonably priced. However we do not have a grill with us on our travels. Ok, now back to the bacon. This stuff was classic, average leanness somewhere between fatty end pieces and center cut, average thickness too. This bacon would go well with any recipe. The curing was light and not overdone and the natural flavor really came out. There was also an overall quality of freshness. This stuff is basically classic typical bacon. Good stuff. It definitely makes me want to try other meats and different, more extreme bacon cuts from Stevens Locker.

International Bacon Day

A real quick post kind of late in the day on international bacon day.               Of course on this day I am reminiscent about some of the best bacon I have had. These bacon photos are from way back when Sharon and I were in Canada. Not your typical Canadian bacon, classic center cut double smoked, this sliced. We picked up this meat candy from the Sobeys grocery store in Canmore Alberta, Canada. I grilled this bacon which worked well because it was so lean and center cut. Using smoked bacon also seems to help with grilling it because it doesn’t seem to cause grease flare ups as easily.

Happy Bacon Day!

Bacon: This post brought to you by Terri Tupper

While visiting Terri Tupper in St. Paul she informed me that their local grocery store has a bacon I have to try. Terri was even kind enough to provide a package of the bacon. Its called Elliots Up North Smoked bacon. This bacon is very likley salt cured and then smoked. It is thick sliced fatty ends as opposed to a more lean center cut. Right on, I always prefer that center cut bacon to be sliced thin and served crispy. Ends are much better thicker sliced and cooked until just the slightest bit crisp. Thick bacon should, in my opinion, be pan fried so this is how I cooked it. This stuff is good, one of the best store bought bacons, if not the best available for sure. Good saltiness at first and a strong smokey flavor at the end.

Thank you Terri.

Time to Talk Bacon

Why talk about bacon?  Because, bacon makes everything better.

smokehouse at Andrew Jackson's home

While in Tennessee, we visited Andrew Jackson’s home. I of course liked the smokehouse (pictured right).  Why doesn’t every mansion have one of these?  In the days before refrigeration everyone did have a smokehouse.  Virtually all pork was salted and smoked. Still a pretty good way to do it if you ask me. You could still kind of smell the smoke when poking your head inside.

smokehouse at Belle Meade

The Belle Meade plantation, a famous site of thoroughbred breeding, still produces or at least sells some ham slices on site. This smokehouse (pictured above) is noteworthy because in its prime, they processed over 20,000 pounds of meat. It’s two stories high.

crab cakes and bacon breakfast

Crab cakes Benedict and bacon breakfast

I had this for breakfast at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. It was quite good and as usual, “bacon makes every thing better”. I am really never disappointed with bacon, but this bacon was a pleasant surprise because it had clearly been smoked and then slowly cooked to perfection.

eggs in a bag with bacon

eggs in a bag with bacon

On the road, we always carry bacon in the cooler and include it in as many meals as possible.  Pictured above is what I call “eggs in a bag”.  Many years ago in Boy Scouts I learned the easiest and most simple method ever to prepare a nearly perfect ommlet. You simply scramble up some eggs and throw them in a sturdy one gallon zip lock bag with your favorite mostly cooked omelet filling. Of course bacon, onions and cheese are recommended filling options. Next, grab the bag with tongs and hold it in some boiling water. When you’re all done you can even use the leftover hot water for dishes.

french toast and bacon

french toast and bacon

Wright brand bacon is what is pictured on the griddle (right), and it’s one of the better widely available bacons found in grocery stores. It’s thick sliced and salt cured, making it good for breakfast slices.

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