Making my own bacon has been one of the top things I wanted to try since getting a smoker. I've always craved the thick-cut, salty, and smoky flavor you'd get from the bacon served at restaurants and specialty meat delis. The regular bacon from the grocery stores cannot even compare to the taste and texture.
The reason why I never made my own bacon is because I was a little nervous of the curing process. I read about the dangers of using curing salts (sodium nitrite and sodium nitrates) and researched alternative methods that did not use them. Some restaurants, such as Burger Lounge, do offer nitrate-free bacon.
After asking around and reading articles, I've decided to just go with the sodium nitrate curing. The first reason is that vegetables actually have higher levels of sodium nitrates than the amount used for bacon. The second is that people reported non-cured bacon did not taste like bacon... and who wants that kind of taste?
Saturday May 31 was the 1st Bacon and Bacons event in San Diego. I've never volunteered for an event before but decided to sign up myself. A group of us helped during the morning shift which started at 8am!
Once our shift was over, we were set free to raid the event! Early bird admission allowed us to get into the event at noon and regular admission started at 1pm. Since I was starving by this time, I decided to visit all the food booths first! At the entrance we were given environmentally friendly dining tools: a compostable plate, biodegradeable plastic cup, and the wrapped utensils we made earlier. The event is a zero waste event so all trash was divided into compost, waste, and recycle bags.
My first stop and closest to the front was the Duck Dive booth. They were serving their Three Little Piggies sandwich from their menu. I thought it was a little dry, maybe because the applewood smoked bacon, roasted pork loin, and pork belly were overpowered by the ciabatta bread. Cooked spinach and white cheddar rounded out the rest of the sandwich.
The Pork Belly and Waffles from West Coast Tavern immediately caught my eye! It even contained a dollop of BACON BUTTER! The combination of fatty pork, batter, butter and sweet syrup together was heaven to me and one of my favorite samples that day. I wish I had gotten a second helping later but was too busy exploring all the other tents!