08
Sep
10

Baconalia Review: Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple Chunks with Bruery Hottenroth Sour Ale

bacon-wrapped pineapple chunks with sour ale

Pineapple.  Bacon.  Beer.  This offering involved a trio of independently tasty bits; it was simple, yet strong, in its statement.  My inspiration for this matching was “sweet and sour” ala a (stereo)typical Asian dish, but with a beverage upgrade.

The label bacon-wrapped pineapple is entirely self-descriptive: chunks of pineapple wrapped in strips of bacon.  Personally, I am not a fan of canned pineapple.  I don’t care for its defective taste or texture, especially when fresh pineapple is so superior.  Fortunately, grocery stores in the tundra carry fresh pineapple and I am flat-out amazing at cutting those buggers.  (Using a baller knife helps a lot.)  You probably could use canned pineapple, but you are definitely worth fresh pineapple.

In addition to recommending fresh pineapple, I also recommend making sure to avoid the woody core. I know it’s edible and it’s probably just loaded with fiber, but it is not as delicious and I doubt it would produce the optimal texture for this recipe.  If wasting is a concern, toss it in the freezer for now to throw into a punch to chill and adds some pizzazz at a future, non-bacocentric time.  When cutting the pineapple, remember that the pieces should be large enough for bacon to wrap around and it will shrink up a bit during the baking process.  It needs to survive a baking process long enough to cook bacon. Depending on the size of your pineapple chunks, you will want to cut each strip of bacon into two or three pieces.  This is a great opportunity to use kitchen sheers.  When wrapping things in bacon, it is pretty vital to remember that bacon shrinks up quite a bit as it cooks, so more is better than less.  My bacon shrank considerably more than my pineapple.

Each chunk of pineapple gets wrapped in its own slicelet of bacon, then secured with a toothpick.  In addition to keeping the bacon in place, the toothpick also makes these ready for serving, straight from the oven.  As with the majority of my “oven roast” or “baked” Baconalia offerings, I placed these on a broiler pan and put them in the oven at around 400F, probably for around twenty minutes.  One of my goals for personal growth and development is to actually write down cooking times and temps.  Realistically, since I only have one oven, the majority of Baconalia things that go into it are going to have to be cook at around the same temp. Items that are particularly particular (e.g. cookies) are pretty much forced (by me) to be cooked ahead of time (e.g. cookies).  

I liked the final product, as did my guests.  I personally waited until they cooled a bit, as overly warm pineapple kind of freaks out my face.  Salty and sweet is one of my favorite flavor combinations, so my enjoyment of this was no surprise.  Just like the ingredients are as you might expect, so is the finished result.  This was by no means my favorite, but it wasn’t a labor to eat and not everything is going to be my favorite.

On to the beer matching!  Bruery’s Hottenroth Sour Ale was the first sour ale I ever tried.  We met at a beer class at my local grocery store.  (Aside: My grocery store is pretty great.)   This beer was so different and so unique to me, that I purchased a couple of 750mL bottles, without any sort of plan for them.  Well, my general plan was to drink/share them, as beer is for drinking and sharing, but that was the extent of my plan.  I trusted myself to know when and what would be the right thing.  Fast forward a couple of months, to me trying to create a beer list to compliment my food list. 

I didn’t want to do another standardly citrus-y beer and I had (likely legitimate) fears about how my poor little roast pineapple chunks would stand up to extreme hops.  Suddenly, an epiphany struck me: sweet and sour.  I love sweet and sour chicken, so why not sweet bacon and sour beer?  In terms of alcohol content, this beer is almost an O’Douls, with its 3.1% ABV.  Its bitterness clocks in at 2 IBU.  This is not a bitter beer.  This is a sour ale though, so it is rather tart.  Think green apple – which I coincidentally also like with bacon.  It is light, fizzy, and highly drinkable.

This pairing seemed to be another hit.  Its preparation was simple and the sour ale was a fun way (for me, at least) to shake things up a bit.  Some of my guests did not like the sour ale at all, so beyond further insight into my wit, this pairing didn’t move moons for them.

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