Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bacon and Wine Pairing?

Seriously. I was forwarded a note today from a writer who is fishing for suggestions of wine pairings for bacon. The mother of all pork products, bacon is smoky, salty, chewy, crispy, porky goodness. I think they were kidding when they sent it to me.

Make no mistake friend, bacon is no joke.

I immediately fired off a sincere response. That is what they were looking for, wasn't it? In my view, nothing quite says "I'm a friend of bacon" like a Northern Rhone, such as a syrah-driven St. Joseph or Croz Hermitage. These wines, and their earthy-funkyness along with a fruit-n-tannin balance that is, in my view, just right for smoky swine.

Which brings up another point: bacon's origin. No, not the first time Thog the caveman first put fire to pig, but rather where on the pig the bacon comes from: the belly.

If bacon is the mother of all pork products, then pork belly is, uh, the mother of all bacon. It is also nearly impossible to find in unadulterated form in Bozeman. "Side meat" as pork belly is also known is best roasted, skin-on. When done properly, the pork belly eater gets the whole package: crispy pork skin, tender pork meat, all infused by the flavor of the fat that slowly rendered out during the cooking process.

One of the best presentations of pork belly I have had was in Missoula, MT, at a place that sadly no longer exists: 515. The chef, Paul Myers, who had just been nominated for a James Beard award prior to closing, made a dish he casually referred to as "ham and eggs." The dish contained a generous slice of roasted pork belly (crispy skin, tender pork, etc...) atop a sweet onion puree along side a bit of lightly-dressed frisee - and topped with a crispy hen egg. The egg had been poached, then (presumably carefully) rolled in bread crumbs and fried - just enough to make the outside slightly crispy, but still yielding a deliciously gooey yolk upon fracture.

Yum.

Okay, back to the whole question - wine pairing for bacon. I'll have to do some more "research" and get back to you on that.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Yes, yes, yes -- more research is needed! For years, we bacon and wine lovers have had to rely on the ubiquitous aphorism that "everything goes better with bacon." Notwithstanding the truthfulness of that statement, many of us would like a better definition of "everything."