18
Jan
11

Baconalia Review: Beef Bacon With Delirium Tremens

beef bacon with delirium tremens

 

Beef bacon is sort of like the East German swim team of bacon.  It’s a bit huskier, a bit hardier, and bit more muscled.  While it’s clearly a cousin of bacon, there’s not much dainty about it and you’d best not offend it in a dark alley.  Whatever though – I am much more interested in eating my bacon than in offending it.  I bought Wellshire Farms beef bacon at my local Whole Foods, so I am sure it is quite ethical.

Unlike turkey bacon, beef bacon renders plenty of fat while cooking.  It cooks down quite a lot actually and I employed some of its fat to get the turkey bacon started.  I totally save my rendered bacon fat (Baconalia 3 Plans!) and found beef bacon fat significantly huskier and muskier than normal bacon.  Since I could tell the difference by smell alone, I did not mix the fats.  What can I say?  I’m a purist of sorts.

Since I just proclaimed myself a purist, let me clarify: I know beef bacon is not technically bacon; that is why I qualify it with the “beef” versus just calling it bacon.  (I did the same thing with turkey bacon, although turkey bacon is more a punishment than anything else…there’s a pound of it in my freezer, in case I ever feel inclined to do penance via poultry.)  Visually compared to pork (real) bacon, beef bacon is darker in color, shrank more during cooking (lost less width, but way more length and total surface area), and its fat is more delicate and stretches kind of annoyingly.  The taste profile of beef bacon is identifiably bacon, but it’s bacon with an edge.  Think of it as a hybridization of bacon and beef jerky, in which the bacon dominates – 60-40, probably.  Texture-wise, it’s chewier and denser than bacon strips of similar uncooked thickness.  This is not a good choice for the toothless.   I don’t plan to switch to beef bacon on a regular basis, but I would serve it to someone kosher or with a pork allergy without hesitation and definitely before I’d serve turkey bacon.  

I ended up making the leftover beef bacon into bits which I used baking.  That worked out super swell – in a side-by-side taste test with traditional bacon cookies, the beef bacon cookies had a subtle, but pleasant, smokiness to them and the texture was different as I ended up with smaller, but stronger bits due to the shrinkage issue.  The verdict was beef bacon cookies = man cookies.  For the dieting bacophile: Depending on brand purchased, beef bacon contains 5-10 fewer calories  PER SLICE than its traditional counterpork.   It’s a good source of protein too!  HEALTH FOOD.

I paired beef bacon with Delirium Tremens, a strong and solid Belgian beer.  At 8.5% ABV, this strong pale ale isn’t kidding around, although it will trick you as it tastes deceptively light.  It’s light and fruity, crisp and sweet.  To keep with the beef bacon, it tastes like the field where Ferdinand the bull frolicked.   Both the beer and (beef) bacon are similar to things I know, but with subtle complexities that I enjoyed.  Both are hearty without being IN MY FACE.  Solid independently, solid as a pairing.

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