St. Crispy Bacon’s Day, or I Feel Sorry For Jews

Well, I haven’t posted in about 48 months, due to laziness, a breakup, a layoff, and laziness.  The good thing is that I have a lot of stored up pics and potential posts.  Too bad nobody reads this thing.  Maybe if I post more than once a year people will check it out.  I feel sorry for them if they don’t, because they’ll miss this one.  In the credit where credit is due dept, I saw this on another site sent to me by a friend.  They call it the Bacon Explosion, and it’s all the rage with the kids these days.  I call it the Bacon Log, or “Blog” for short (that’s a new word I just made up).  Anyway, I had to try it.  So I called a few guys I know who love bacon flavored anything and told them to come over one Saturday.  I’ve never tried to smoke anything on my little Aussie Bushman elite grill, but I figured it was worth a shot.  So I went to BBQ Galore and got a meat thermometer, some rub (Bad Byron’s Butt Rub), a smoker box (cast iron, small) and some hickory chips.  Oh, and a tin foil pan to catch drippins.

So I started off by soaking the wood chips in the pan.


Next I cooked up a batch of bacon (one package).  I like it crispy, so that’s how I made it.



After snacking that entire package of bacon and chasing it down with a box of salt, I made another one.  Then I chopped it up.


Next, I made the bacon weave.  If you had interrupted my Dungeons & Dragons game at age 13 to tell me I would someday master bacon weaving, I probably would have laughed about that for days.  I’m not sure what that means.



Hannibal Lecter would be proud.

By this time I have the grill on super low heat, the lowest it will go, and I put the drained hickory chips in the smoker box and put it on the grill off in the corner (I used the lower rack for the smoker box, and the top rack for the blog).  I had also bought a surface thermometer, and that went on the top rack.  The guy told me that the surface temp would be about 150 degrees hotter than the general climate temp inside the grill, so I was planning to use that as a gauge.  Next comes the sausage layer.  I used a mixture of hot and sweet Italian sausage.



Next I added the chopped up cooked bakey bits.  Then I seasoned it with the rub and some Italian dry seasoning I had.


A Porkaleidoscope.

Last came a drizzle of BBQ sauce.  I used a mix of Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ and Trader Joe’s, which has a little kick to it.


Now for the roll.  I carefully rolled the sausage forward…


Someday I will build a bacon fence that you can eat.

Then tucked in the ends and sealed the seam and carefully rolled it back.


I've washed my hands 13 times by now.


That's right.

Last, another coat of rub.


Then off to the grill.


I put a drip pan under it to catch the fat runoff.  Do NOT skip this step, as I’ve heard tell of bacon logs catching on fire from flaming fat fallout.


This pleases me to no end.

Ah, so clean.  Not for long…


And later…

100_0886 pig sludge....

That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

Next I let it rest for about ten minutes.  It was REALLY hard not to cut into it right away.  In the meantime I busied myself with brushing a good thick coat of BBQ sauce on that sumbitch.


How could this get any better?


Oh yeah, that's how.

Here it is being served.  Explicit content warning – the narrator works a bit blue toward the end of the video.  You’ve been warned.

And the finished product:


Do you see the steam? It was almost a sin to eat it. But not.

It took a little longer than normal, about 3 hours, because I kept checking it and letting all the heat out.  And the temp never got hot enough to produce any smoke whatsoever from the wood chips.  So it wasn’t really smoked at all.  But I have to say it was spectacular.  Being the cook, I went for seconds.  Only a few of us pigs got two pieces, and it was actually a mistake.  We could literally feel our sodium counts go up as the blood pressures rose and we started hearing each other’s heartbeats.  My buddy JT actually had to take a knee, and a couple of us hallucinated.  I wish I was kidding.  But it was the best thing ever.  You had to be there.  In fact, here’s a poem dedicated to those happy few who took on the challenge (my apologies to The Bard).

How to Prep a Pineapple

On a recent visit, my aunt asked me what I usually ate for breakfast. Yogurt, a piece of fruit…I began to reply. “Canned, preferably?” she said. She wasn’t kidding. Why would anyone prefer canned fruit? I don’t know, it doesn’t make sense to me. Fresh fruit is the only way to go. So every once in a while, I buy a pineapple, chop it up, and store it in the fridge.

There are probably many ways to do this. You could buy one of those fancy corer things in the produce department. You could use regular knives. I’m a big fan of the Miracle Blades, though, and now that they’ve been out for years they’re pretty cheap. I highly recommend them. My sister insists on using the “Rock ‘N Chop” for everything. She’d skin an almond with this thing, I swear. I think she does it to make me nervous.

Anyway, I’ve replaced this monstrosity with a regular chef’s knife. So to begin, start with a whole pineapple.

Twist the top off with your hand. It’s easy.

Next I use the slicer and the filet knife.

Quarter the pineapple vertically.

Next, cut away the center portion. You’ll notice it’s different – it’s much harder. You’ll see where the separation is. This will get rid of the core.

Now I switch to the filet knife. This thing is great, because it bends quite a bit with little pressure. Insert it and cut along the length of the piece. Don’t cut into the skin. You don’t need to press hard. Repeat for all four quarters.

Now I just cut each of these with a chef’s knife, first lengthwise twice and then a cross cut to get chunks.

Seems like a lot of work, but it’s not. After a couple of times you can do it lickity split. And it’s totally worth it, because fresh pineapple is worlds away from the canned crap. If you want, you can even go back with the filet knife and get what you missed from the skins. It makes a kind of “pineapple carpet” that you can chop up, or just scarf right there.

While I’m on the subject

In keeping with the theme of my last post from 8 years ago or so, I thought I would let everyone know that the wheel, fire, sliced bread, and bottled beer have now been surpassed.

Bastards.  Why didn't I think of this?

The Bacon Bar

Well, I must apologize to all three of you for not posting in a while. I had surgery 2 weeks ago for a deviated septum, and didn’t feel too much like doing anything except wishing I could start breathing and stop bleeding. Too much information? Well allow me to make it up to you by telling you all about the greatest thing on earth.


That’s right. Go ahead, read it again. I’ll wait.

My friend informed me a while back that such a thing existed in the form of a candy bar. I was skeptical. She was kind enough to find locations near me that sold such a mystical treasure. I chose The Cheese Store of Silverlake, because I’ll take any excuse to go there. Personally, I would have called it The Silver Lake Cheese Shoppe. That way the quality of the wares would be obvious from the old world spelling of the word “shoppe.” I learned that from growing up in Kankakee, IL. There was a place there, called simply “The Shoppe.” You’d probably guess they plied their trade in ice cream floats or sensible hair cuts. You’d be wrong though. It was car stereos.

Anyway, The Cheese Store of Silverlake (or TCSS, as those in the know call it) rocks the friggin Casbah. I don’t care what kind of punk rock, anti-establishment, screw-the-man swearing off of corporate jobs you’ve done in the past, this place will make you wish you made more money. Within seconds of being inside, I am learning about myself. Namely that I will sell my soul to someday be able to walk in this place and plunk down a $95 bottle of Cabernet, half a pound of aged Gouda and a pile of the oldest, hardest, driest salami I’ve ever seen without batting an eye. For now all I could manage was this:

sadly, the $95 cabernet is currently represented by crackers.

sadly, the $95 cabernet is currently represented by crackers.

Just look how they wrap things:

the irresistable wrapping.  I feel European.

the irresistable wrapping. I feel European.

But I digress.

Not only does TCSS carry the bacon bar, they carry other exotic flavors by the same company, Vosges chocolates. There’s a curry bar. There’s a ginger wasabi bar. There’s a Tibetan Goji berry and pink Himalayan salt bar. There’s a kalamata olive and white chocolate bar. I’m digressing again.

the seemingly perfect bar.

the seemingly perfect bar.

Anyway, these are big bars, but they are by no means cheap. Vosges sells them for $7.99 and at the TCSS they were TEN BUCKS. EACH. But I bought one anyway. This is not something you’ll do every day, week, or even month. But for a new experience, I’d say it’s worth it.

Here’s the deal though. I can’t totally rave about this thing, because in my opinion there was one drawback. The bar has real bacon in it, but it’s in little tiny pieces. Remember Nerds candy? Well the pieces are smaller than those. They still manage to be crunchy and have a bacon flavor, but it’s just not what I imagined. I pictured a bar that tasted like chocolate AND bacon in every bite. This is a really good chocolate that occasionally tastes like bacon in miniscule bursts. I think they went to gourmet with it. In an effort not to offend, they interspersed the bacon in acceptable amounts.

can you see the bits?  they\'re tiny.

can you see the bits? they're tiny.

Here’s what I’d do: I would take whole pieces of bacon, fried to a crisp, and dip them in chocolate. Chocolate covered bacon is much closer to what I want than this bacon flavored bar. I would still recommend trying it though. I’m just more interested in some of the other flavors. I’m sure over time I’ll try them all. I’ll report back as I do so.

Shhhh…I’m Hunting Rarebit

The phrase “A Bachelor Cooks” in this blog’s title is somewhat of a misnomer, because while I do cook, I also intend to just write about food, whether it’s a food item I saw in the store, a restaurant excursion, or even something someone else cooked. I also fully intend to start each post with an incredibly long run-on sentence. Check.

My friends Mike and Marcia invite me over for supper far more often than common courtesy would require. And yes, I say supper. My dad was from the East Coast, ok? Anyway, I suspect they may be entering that phase of their relationship where they are sick of each other’s faces and welcome any distraction. Or I suppose they could just be really nice people. But they like me, so that can’t be the case. It’s a paradox.

I love their kitchen dynamic. I’ve told them on several occasions that they should have a cooking show together. I suggest the following titles:

Cooking & Fighting With M & M

Let Me Show You Why You’re Doing That Wrong

Get The Hell Out Of My Way

Do You See The Mistake You Made?

No, Really, Don’t Get Up. I Think You Stopped The House From Burning Down Last Time.

Um…My Wine Glass Is Empty. Ahem.


Um, Babe? That’s On Fire. BABE.


I kid, I kid. It’s actually quite fun to watch them. It’s not serious fighting. Mostly. They have learned to take a barb and hurl it right back without batting an eye. It’s kind of what I want in a relationship, actually. Without the knives.

Right here I have to say that M & M are such good sports, they hopped right on board and took all the pictures for me since I hadn’t brought my camera. Mike even had to charge the thing in between shots. I guess they are good people.

Last night they had me over for Welsh Rarebit. Since you’re too lazy to read the Wikipedia article I worked so hard to link to for you just now, I’ll give you the rundown.

1. It’s widely accepted that the term Welsh “rarebit” comes from the term Welsh “rabbit.”
2. There is no rabbit in this dish whatsoever. Rarebit is a cheese sauce.

There are a couple theories on this. One is that the Welsh were too poor to eat rabbit, which was a dish reserved for nobles with money. Paupers had access to cheese, so they used that. Another theory is that the cheese dish was called Welsh rarebit because cheese was inferior to meat (debatable) and all things Welsh were considered inferior by the Brits. I hope this doesn’t come as a shock to my old roommate from Chicago, who’s name is actually Briton and who moved to Wales to marry a Welshman.

Now there are ways to make this key ingredient (the cheese sauce) from scratch. It sounds pretty damn good, actually. It involves mustard, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and beer. But that takes, you know, work. I may try it some day, but in the mean time, there’s an excellent option from the Stouffer’s brand line of food products.

It’s even mentioned in the Wikipedia article, so it must be true. While I’m maybe not the typical bachelor in that I mostly avoid frozen foods, this one is highly recommended. And if you REALLY want to go the bachelor route, you kick the convenience up a notch. How do I do that, you ask?

With READY TO SERVE BACON. That’s right, folks. We can put a man on the moon, we can give you microwaveable bacon. I can’t begin to tell you the skepticism with which I faced this. I was not a believer. But you know what? It ain’t bad! And you don’t have a big ass pan of grease to deal with afterward.

So, here’ the recipe. The traditional Welsh Rarebit is just cheese sauce on toast. Good, but boring. This much more interesting arrangement comes from Marcia’s late mother. I wish I could have met her to tell her it’s delicious.

First, prepare some trimmed, healthy asparagus stalks. I usually saute asparagus to keep it crispy, but M & M slowly blanch them in a pan of water. They’re still firm, but a bit less crispy than if sauteed. It actually works out better for this dish.

Microwave the bacon while the asparagus is in the Jacuzzi.

Now heat up yer rabbit. Mmmm….cheese rabbit…..

Next, cut up a baguette into slices and toast lightly. Arrange on sides of plate. Put the asparagus in the middle.

Cover the bread with bacon…

and sliced tomatoes.

If you’re asked to bring one or two medium-sized tomatoes over and you stop at the Asian market and the only fresh ripe ones they have are hobbit-sized, bring four of those and smile when Marcia mocks them.

Cover the whole thing with the piping hot cheesy goodness. Enjoy.

Thanks to M & M!

Project Pork Shank

It’s been my goal to post here much more responsibly than I do to my personal blog, which goes decades without an update. However, it’s been only weeks since this blog was born and I’ve already dropped the ball. To make up for it, I’ve decided to share with you something so appetizing and delicious that you’ll always want to come back for more hardtack and swill.

Monday some friends and I met at the Red Lion, a local fake German biergarden in Silverlake. I say fake just because the beer garden is kind of like drinking in the Germany section of Epcot Center. It’s full of faux ivy and painted on bricks and a semi-working fountain and signs pointing out the direction and distance to Berlin. But despite its facade, it actually makes for a quaint little sun-dappled place to sit and have some good beer. And the service is authentic. They’ve brought in actual Germans in full costume to ignore you completely all afternoon. Monday being labor day, I called ahead to make sure they were open. Here’s a transcript:

Mean, heavily accented German bar wench: RED LION, WHAT.

Me: Oh, uh yes – I was just calling to see if you were open today.


Me: So, you’re open?


Me: Because it’s Memorial Day and you were closed last Fourth of July.


Me: Jesus, yes, ok. You don’t have to yell at me. (click)

Happily, the same cheery and loving beer wench who answered the phone was also our server. I call her Sunshine.

They serve what I can only assume is fairly authentic German food, meaning flavorless sausages of varying kinds. One comes hanging limply out of a giant glass stein filled with dishwater-flavored pea soup. We call it the Lipton Cup ‘O Dong. It is a sight to see. I’ll order it next time just for the photos and post them.

This time I didn’t eat, but my friend Nick bravely ordered the pork shank. Here’s what arrived:

Now, if you’ll notice, there is a small patch of hair protruding from the skin in one spot:

Nevertheless, Nick soldiered on. He cut that baby up and went to work. And actually, the meat looked pretty good. Then again, Nick has a fascination with bums. So who can say.

The final result: Nick 1, Pork Shank 0.

My favorite server, Sarah, a very attractive and hard-working red-headed American girl, wasn’t there. However, a very pretty slim blonde woman showed up and began WORKING the room. I’m telling you she was focused. I was instantly smitten. Perhaps 25 years of terrible reviews have finally led to a change in service staff policy. Or maybe two or three girls have figured out that they can earn 138 times the tips of a German by simply trying a bit. Sorry, but Germans, you build a fine automobile. You are not cut out for the service industries.

Of course we were forced to leave at that point because another friend with us (the only female – I’m just sayin) wanted to go immediately. I never get to stay for the pretty shift. Ever. I really need to stop hanging out with couples.

Perhaps next time I’ll bring more than my camera phone and take some pics with the wenches. I’ll say I’m a food critic. A bachelor food critic. I think I’m onto something here…

I just won’t order the pork shank. I don’t think it’s a very “sexy” food. Then again, neither is the Cup ‘O Dong.

The Gentleman Bachelor

As it’s the Friday before Memorial Day weekend and I’m feeling particularly lazy, I’m going to do a cop-out post today. Some friends and I have started another blog to rant, gush, and/or generally spout off about sports, the movie business, L.A. in general, and other nonsense. One feature, the brainchild of my friend Mike, is “The Gentleman Bachelor,” wherein my cohorts and I school the uneducated on how to be a more “classy” single guy. Or a more classy guy in general. Or at least give the appearance of more class. Or something.

In any case, Mike likes to cook as much as I do, so TGB will often involve food. I suppose I could just rip the post straight from the Peach Basket, plop it here, and claim it as my own. But Mike knows where I live. So hop on over why dontcha and check out his very informative piece on shallots. I’ll bet you didn’t know they were an aphrodisiac, did you? See, you need The Peach Basket in your life. And don’t forget to read the comments!

Teriyaki Chicken Salad with Gaysian Dressing

My friends had a bbq at their place, and they bought a new grill for the occasion. They asked me if I wanted their old one, and then just gave it to me! Nice, huh? It’s an Aussie Bushman Elite, and it is my new favorite thing in the world. First of all, I love the audacity of the name. It takes balls to name a propane fueled grill after a group of Aborigines. Sure, they were bushmen. They figured out how to live by making fire with two pieces of wood and their hands. But had they just gone that one step further and mastered electricity, steel manufacturing, sheet metal pressing, propane storage, and the push-button ignition, they could have been elite bushmen.

Anyway, for this dish I marinated some chicken breasts over night in a mix of Wonnie’s spicy hot korean bbq sauce and House of Tsang regular stir fry sauce. You can get both at the regular grocery store, and any stir fry nonsense will work. I find the Wonnie’s too be a bit too heavy on the heat so I mix it up. Once upon a time I was into making things as hot as humanly possible and then some, but nowadays I’m kind of getting into the whole “flavor” thing. Maybe I’m old.

So I grilled the chicken breasts on the Aussie, and then just chopped ’em up and put ’em over a bed of spring mix from a bag in the produce section. I cut up some orange sections and added red grape tomatoes. If I had some orange grape tomatoes and scallions I’d have used those too. Top with some crunchy chow mein noodles.

This is basically a variation on a salad my sister makes. She puts goat cheese in it, which I love. So I wanted to do that, but the first few times I made my own dressing and it sort of melted all the goat cheese. Then I thought, why not put the goat cheese in the dressing? I know it’s that kind of dangerous thinking that will get me in trouble one day, but I went for it anyway. I’m hard core.

I don’t measure anything, by the way. You should know that right up front. So if you’re upset that I haven’t provided measurements here, sorry. You’ll just have to keep tinkering with it until it tastes right. It’ll be good for you to loosen up a little.

The amounts below made enough for two people, or one person who likes a LOT of dressing. You can always make too much and refrigerate it.

Sesame seed oil – I’d say several tablespoons
Pineapple vinegar – slightly less than the amount of sesame oil used. You can get this in the Asian foods aisle, near the stir fry sauce
Goat cheese – about half of one of those small tubular packages is what I used.
Brown sugar – to taste. I would add this last, about a teaspoon at a time until it’s not too tart
Oregano – to taste
Tarragon – same
Ginger – dried powdered kind, to taste

I used one of those “salad magic” carafe thingies you get when you buy the dry package Italian dressing. I shook it vigorously after adding each ingredient, and kept tasting it. The goat cheese will “creamify” (new word) in there if you shake the s#$t out of it. The herbs you can add, omit, or use something else.

What makes this dressing “Gaysian,” you ask? Goat cheese + Asian = funny word. Plus you have to admit, it doesn’t get much gayer than making your own goat cheese salad dressing. It works on so many levels!

With the dressing it’s nice and shiny. And I am all about shiny food.

Let me start by saying

Cracklin’ Oat Bran is the greatest cereal ever made. It is created with honey, nuts, magic, oats, magic, and dewdrops from Mount Olympus. It costs more per ounce than launching something into orbit on the space shuttle. Each box contains only one “O” and costs $48,000.00. It was on sale at Von’s. I backed up six tanker trucks and bought 88,198 tons of it. It looks like dog food and tastes like dog food in heaven. I will be buried in a casket made entirely of Cracklin’ Oat Bran. I will float inside on a silky white river of skim milk deliciousness for all eternity.