Baconalia II Review: Turkey Bacon with Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic

Turkey Bacon with Lindemans Framboise Lambic

One of my long-standing beliefs is that people who claim “turkey bacon is just as good as pork bacon” probably don’t eat much pork bacon.  (Henceforth, pork bacon will be referred to merely as bacon.  Because it is.)  I paired turkey bacon with Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic, a Belgian fruit beer.  Thanksgiving inspired this pairing, hence why I’m posting it now.  I know cranberries are the traditional Thanksgiving fruit, but I think this is a better beer and using the terminology “inspired” allows me a fair bit of leeway for play and fun – both vital to a successful Baconalia.

Turkey bacon is too lean to be properly delicious.  It doesn’t yield enough fat to fry itself, so its resulting texture is blah and inconsistent.  The preliminary slices produced at Baconalia II confirmed my above prejudice.  However!  In a baco-centric kitchen, there’s plenty of available rendered fat.  My helpful friend, ABK, flipped the sad little slices of turkey bacon into a frying pan only just vacated by beef bacon. (Like real bacon, beef bacon is suitably fatty.  Also, I loathe frying bacon, so whenever I can, I totally delegate the task.)  With the extra fat, the texture and taste of the turkey bacon was much improved.  I still wouldn’t choose it over “bacon” of another animal – along with pig, boar and cow are both tastier to me – but I didn’t feel like I needed to spit it out.  Subsequent conversations about turkey bacon revealed to me that other people already knew the secret to making turkey bacon not suck.  Some folks use butter.  One friend, who keeps somewhat kosher, uses olive oil, so as not to mix meat and dairy.  There are plenty of options for a frying fat.

My feelings regarding lambics are mixed.  See, I know I am not supposed to like them, but sometimes I do.  It’s totally a mood thing.  Color wise, this was the prettiest beer of Baconalia II; it’s a deep ruby with a pink head.  That pink foam coupled with its 2.5% ABV and sweet-tart flavor do make it kind of a girly beer in my head, although I witnessed at least a couple of my Real Man guests drink some.  Taste wise, it tastes more like raspberry juice than beer.  The tartness easily cut through the little fat of the turkey bacon and the sweetness lingered, but didn’t last overly long – i.e. it dissipated before my next sampling.  The raspberries are the sweet and tart kind, exactly why I thought this would be a suitable substitute for cranberries.  (I’ve had this beer before, straight up and mixed with Hoegaarden.)  The beer of this pairing overpowered the bacon; I decided this to be acceptable as I still don’t really think turkey bacon is bacon.  (Because it’s not.)   

Overall, this pairing was all right.  Honestly, it wasn’t going to be great.  I wanted to feature “bacons” of different animals at Baconalia II, and turkey bacon was a part of my greater plan.  I think this was one of the best beer options to pair with it (a light IPA would have worked as well) – turkey bacon just doesn’t stand up to beer the way, say, a BLT does.  My opinion of turkey bacon was much improved by frying it in additional fat, but straight-up turkey bacon still isn’t something I would seek out.  Honestly, the pairing was kind of doomed from its inception and “all right” was about as well as it was going to rate.

I think that last paragraph was super passive because I don’t want to talk about turkey bacon.  I’m not going to fix it.  Sorry turkey bacon; I’m just not that thankful for your existence.


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