Move over, eggs and waffles. Bacon is no longer just your salty sidekick, dressing up breakfast platters with a gratuitous protein. This sizzling little number is headlining menus and stealing the spotlight at the mere mention of its meaty name.
Insatiably popular, bacon is leading trends and inspiring an intense following. After all, it takes more than a casual connection with a food to move you to purchase a bacon wallet, socks, vodka, air freshener or bacon-flavored toothpicks or commit to a bacon tattoo.
Somewhere between the Atkins diet craze and modern smoothie revolution, bacon blazed a welcomed trail to our hearts. Who could resist? Crisp, smoky and marbled with ribbons of forbidden fat, this morning mainstay has become the dish du jour, any time of day. Meats, sweets and everything in between are finding new life with a kick of bacon.
New Twists on Old Classics
Leading the bacon boom, Bricktown Brewery, with four locations, debuted a pork-centric menu in 2011 when it refashioned its downtown digs. True to its menu motto, “Life tastes better with bacon,” this urban hot spot delights diners with two varieties of bacon. Topping the Bourbon, Bacon & Beer Chili and wrapping meatloaf, their sweet peppered bacon also finds creative license on fries. Not just any fries, but the Fat Elvis Fries—sweet potato fries covered in peanut butter, sweet peppered bacon and banana chips. Elvis would be proud.
The Brewery also sports a primo bacon burger blended with half certified Black Angus beef and half Neuske’s applewood smoked bacon. Described as “the Rolls Royce of bacon,” by Rebekka Lucas at Bricktown Brewery, Neuske’s bacon is also nationally acclaimed by the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Cuisine Magazine. And it makes for one righteous bacon burger. Served with maple bacon jam, topped with bacon and finished with bacon aioli, it’s the signature attraction. Feeling adventurous? Order it as a pizza, complete with pickles, all atop a pizza crust!
A Salty Splurge
Other local food gurus are paying homage to this crowd-pleasing delicacy, too. Running Wild Catering excites party guests with Smoked Jalapeno Poppers wrapped in bacon, Broccoli Salad with bacon and Breakfast Cupcakes layered with egg, cheese and bacon served with Chipotle Hollandaise. Other new creations of this fashionable foodie include Maple Bacon Bread Pudding, Salted Caramel Bacon Brownies and Bacon Squares dipped in chocolate. Their creative chefs excel at customizing menu items like the new Glazed Bacon Lollipops.
Owner of Running Wild Catering, Debbie Lowery, has seen an increase in bacon’s popularity. “Bacon is a symbol of the anti-health culture,” she remarks, “not as a lifestyle change but as a short-term bite of something fabulous and comforting to get us feeling warm and cozy again. Bacon is a symbol of freedom in a fight to eat what we want. It’s meat candy. It makes everything better— the quintessential comfort food.”
The Next Level
And comfort it is, in many forms, but liquid…really? Yes! Just ask Marty Doepke, General Manager of the metro’s landmark Pops restaurant on historic Route 66, where visitors by the droves enjoy a tribute to the world’s greatest soda pops. Among them, Lester’s Fixins Bacon Soda bottled by Rocket Fizz has been a consistent top seller for its novel appeal. “With the taste of liquid bacon bits,” Doepke contends, “it may not quench your thirst as much as it satisfies your curiosity.” He’s yet to see anyone finish an entire bottle. Perhaps not everything is better with bacon.
The adventurous soda line also features Buffalo Wing, Ranch Dressing and Sweet Corn Soda. The Chocolate Maple Smoked Bacon Soda bottled by Real Soda is very popular, too.
Making your own bacon creations? The Meat House in Edmond is a food-lover’s paradise, offering the finest meats and gourmet goodies. Their new High Plains Bison Bacon, from a line of bison burgers, steaks and more, is a must-try.
Somehow, the idea of bacon-scented air freshener no longer seems that odd. And a big breakfast with a side of bacon doesn’t seem as guilty. But the bacon tattoo…it’s still off the table.