OTTUMWA — Every bacon enthusiast got to indulge in bacon galore at Saturday’s BaconTown at Bridge View Center. Residents ate different bacon foods from beer-battered bacon on a stick to maple bacon cookie dough truffles.
Wray’s American Smoked Meat participated in their third BaconTown, choosing beer-battered bacon on a stick because of its unique flavor.
“When you cook with alcohol, kids can have it,” Jerry Kaster from Wray’s explained. “It’s self-rising flour, sugar and a bottle of beer and it makes beer bread.”
Justin Wray discovered the beer-battered recipe 10 years ago when he was catering. He discovered sweet bread and decided to take that concept and turn into pancakes and serve it to his children.
Wray, a hardcore bacon enthsuiast, cannot stop thinking of bacon recipes so coming back for his third BaconTown was a given. His favorite part of this year’s BaconTown?
“Exciting faces of eating and trying the different bacons,” he said.
Kory Wright from the BrickHouse Cafe in Oskaloosa said one of his favorite foods are jalapeno poppers, which inspired him to create Mac and Cheese jalapeno poppers with bacon bits. The other dishes he created was cajun shrimp on a stick. Not to panic. Bacon enthusiasts didn’t have to worry about shrimp without bacon.
“I found out that if you saute the bacon and shrimp — [it’s] next level,” Wright said. “I threw it all together; it was a lot of fun.” For his second BaconTown, Wright added pork belly tacos with coleslaw and sweet chili sauce. He said they were so popular they ended up selling out quickly.
The pork belly tacos dispersing wasn’t the only highlight Wright had from BaconTown. “I love to meet new people,” he said, “get their take on everything that they had. I went around and visited different ones myself, and I’m an outgoing in-the-public kind of person. I get to sit here and serve my food, listen to music all day. This isn’t work. This is play.”
People who did visit Wright asked if his food was spicy. His answer?
“My kids will eat it. The flavor palate is there, but not the heat. I can make it hot with my sauces, but I didn’t ask if they wanted hot or not. They really enjoyed my different outlook on it. There was a lot of sweet stuff; I wanted something more savory. The savory is supposed to stick with you instead of hurt your stomach. I want to fill people up.”
Cody Cutler from Warehouse Barbecue said she emulated the Texas twinkie, a jalapeno stuffed with cream cheese wrapped in brisket and wrapped in bacon. She decided to turn that into a slider, topping it with popper cream cheese. She smoked the jalapenos before putting it into the cream cheese. She not only got positive reactions, but there was another benefit, too.
“Whatever proceeds we make today, we’re donating to Heartland Humane Society,” she said.
Bridge View Center Executive Chef Bob Newell made bacon-wrapped Kielbasa, puff pastry straws with bacon, bacon-wrapped chicken taquitos, barbecue macaroni and cheese balls, maple bacon chocolate chip cookies and even bacon-flavored vodka.
Paige Fiscella helped out Newell saying the chicken bacon-wrapped chicken taquitos were her favorite.
Makayla Bennett and Jennifer Wave had other favorites.
“I liked the spiced up Clamato tomato juice,” Bennett said. “It was this non-alcoholic Virgin Mary topped with bacon.”
“I liked the maple bacon donuts from Main Street Donuts,” Wave said.
Andrea Broccolino and Patty Walker from Appanoose Rapids served Executive Chef Thomas Roberson’s maple bacon cookie dough truffles. Broccolino couldn’t get enough of the truffles before she could answer, Walker took the words right out of her mouth. “It’s one bite of everything people love — it has the bacon, the cookie dough, pretzels and the chocolate,” she said.
At the 6 p.m. mark, the bacon galore didn’t end. More people searched for more bacon dishes, drank and smiled and waved at the person walking around in a bacon costume.