For those of you that follow the Kits food scene but don’t subscribe to Macleans Magazine, Amy Rosen’s piece on Bacon size is worth a read. Fuel Restaurant takes the title for Kitsilano’s Thickest Bacon.
At Fuel Restaurant in Vancouver, chef Robert Belcham and his young sous-chefs work away in his restaurant’s open kitchen, everything on view from the streetside windows. That includes butchering whole pigs: they have their own charcuterie hanging from rafters in the back. They also make their own bacon. “We don’t have a slicer here,” says Belcham, “we do it by eye, but it’s got to be at least a quarter-inch thick.” With the waning of the Atkins diet phenomenon, bacon sales may be down across North America, but bacon thickness is up. Way up.
Back at Fuel in Vancouver, a few slices of extra-thick bacon are being thrown into a hot pan by a sous-chef who is about to make us sandwiches. “When it’s thick like this, you get a good chew,” explains chef Belcham, “nice fat, and good salt too. If it’s too thin it just melts away.” But he says it’s all about the flavour of the pork first. Belcham’s is dry-cured, making it much more “porky” than regular bacon. To make their bacon at Fuel, the chefs butcher and bone a heritage-breed Sloping Hill Farm pig, then rub the bacon slab with salt and sugar and let it sit for about a week. Then they clean it off and let it dry for a couple of days, after which they smoke it over applewood and maple for eight hours. They dry it again from the rafters in the cold room at the back for a couple more days, smoke it again, dry it again, then hang it until it’s all used up. “It doesn’t hang around for long,” says the chef.
A taste of his efforts is enjoyed in a pimped-up bacon and egg sandwich (“not a light dish by any means,” jokes the chef) that is made from Italian bread, house-made mayo, bacon, butter lettuce, a fried egg and more mayo. “When you wake up and smell bacon you know it’s going to be a good day,” says a beaming Belcham.
Last modified: March 17, 2008