Baconalia! Review: Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus Bundles with Brooklyn Brewery East IPA

Uncooked Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus Bundles

As a nanny and someone with a lot of “opinions” about food, I wanted to make sure that all food groups were represented at Baconalia!.  Some of my friends hold nutritional opinions and dietary standards/habits that leave A LOT to be desired – where “a lot” means “a lot of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.” Sadly, their nitrate and nitrite levels probably were already more than satisfied.  Beyond the obvious protein and sodium, I committed to Baconalia! being something of an example of healthful eating.  I needed color.  I needed green.  I needed ASPARAGUS.

Let’s put it out there: asparagus is delicious.  It also has a novelty factor as a party food, due to that whole pee thing.  It wasn’t until recently that I learned about the genetics and percentages behind that.  For some reason, almost all of my friends produce the odor and are able to smell it.  Apparently I associate with a group of sensitive overachievers.  We do what we can.  That’s more than enough about asparagus pee (although I do have more), so we now return to our regularly scheduled bacon and beer review.

I found a few recipes for bacon-wrapped asparagus bundles.  As per my usual operating procedures, I read through them and then did my own thing, which I did not properly record.  I can’t remember what the recipes told me to do, but I do (mostly) know what I did and what I did was delicious.  This offering actually got two votes for “favorite dish” of Baconalia! and was the only savory vote getter. 

I probably turned my oven on to 400F, although you know: +/- 50F on that.  Since I was preparing a few pounds of asparagus, I went for the easy route, both for prep and clean-up.  I washed a bunch of stalks, laying them on a paper towel as I went.  I then snapped off the woody ends, as my mom taught me to do with asparagus.  I threw a bunch of stalks (maybe batches of half a pound) into a gallon Ziploc, along with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.  It got a shake-shake-shake, until they were lightly coated.  I used less olive oil than when normally making asparagus as I (correctly) suspected the bacon would provide some grease.  Ditto that thought with the salt, but only minorly, as I am a big fan of salt. 

Once the stalks were coated, I took them out a couple (2-3) stalks at a time and wrapped half a strip of bacon around them.  They looked so pretty!  I then put them on a rack in a broiler pan, so the bottoms of asparagus didn’t end up sitting in grease.  I like my asparagus to stay a bit crisp and as previously explained: I should enjoy my own parties. 

I roasted them in the oven for my usual “awhile, you know, until it was done” which I’m guessing was probably around twenty minutes.  They are done when the bacon is done.  Because asparagus cooks a heck of a lot more quickly than bacon, I’d suggest using thicker stalks of asparagus and thinner strips of bacon.  You can “stretch” bacon a bit too, to make it a bit thinner.

These were really good.  Admittedly, I am a big fan of all of the components, so that I liked them together was no surprise.  My neighbor friends REALLY liked these.  In every picture I have of one or the other of them, they are eating this treat.  Unlike some other options, this one tastes exactly as you’d expect it to and that’s dang delicious.     

I paired this with Brooklyn Brewery’s East India Pale Ale.  I’ve tried other beers by this brewery, but this was my first experience with their EIPA.  It was all right, but I’m not rushing out to buy more.  There are definitely better beers – IPAs and others – out there.  I like lemon with broccoli and would have preferred this beer be a tish stronger on the lemon and backed waaaaaaaaaaaay off the sweet.  A little more carbonation would have gone nicely with my bundles, as I was successful in my mission to keep them slightly crisp.  The beer flopped (literally) and failed where the meat-wrapped vegetables did not.

The brothers at Beer Advocate rated this as “decent” and that pretty much sums it up.  I would still keep these bundles matched with an IPA, but not this one.  With so many wonderful beers available, I am not a fan of settling.  This beer was settling and I can do better.


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