Monday, April 26, 2010

Spencer's Jolly Posh

I was fortunate enough recently to get tickets and attend Baconfest Chicago 2010. I got to indulge in all sorts of porcine deliciousness, and as the event was winding down, me, The Sadie, and our friend Ally realized that we'd spent the majority of our time in the tasting area and the bar.

This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, as we made new friends and were able to devour leftover bacon from The Fifty/50 and it was delicious!

But we realized that we were missing out on the vendors, who brought the gamut of bacon products from actual bacon to perfume and lip balm. So we hustled downstairs to the vendor area, and began looking around as most of the folks were packing up to go home.

As we’re walking around, we come across a plate of delicious British-style bacon, and another full of rounds of bangers. Speaking with the owners-proprietors (Nicholas and Connie Spencer) we learned it was a hunger for a taste of home that drove Nicholas to begin recreating the classic tastes of British cured and encased meats, and as of now he has three products: Traditional Pork Bangers, Pork and Herb Bangers, and Traditional Dry-Cured Back Bacon.

What we in the U.S. consider bacon differs a bit from the British breakfast meat. Since U.S. bacon is cut and cured from the belly of the hog, the British generally refer to it as “streaky bacon”. British style back bacon is taken, as the name implies, from the back of the hog and includes the tenderloin and quite a bit less fat, though there is enough for that lip smacking unctuousness we all know and love.

Nicholas slipped me a sample of the back bacon to take home, and a couple of days ago for Saturday morning breakfast I broke out the pack and the frying pan along with the notepad and camera.

Simple packaging, vacuum-sealed, containing fruit of the swine!

Pre-cooked: Grassy aroma, beautiful translucent pink color.

Fresh in the pan!

About ready to serve!

I found Spencer's to have a nice rich pork flavor, less bacony. It's very light on the salt, and no smoke at all, but there's a delicious flavor that’s like a nice subtle pork chop. The flavor is also redolent of Virginia country hams. Which makes sense as Virginia was an English colony.

Definitely serve it as part of an English-style breakfast, or go Southern-style on some buttermilk soda biscuits with fresh butter and preserves.

You can find Spencer's online @, and you can purchase their products at Provenance Food and Wine (2528 N. California, and 2312 W. Leland)

Thursday, April 1, 2010