Baconfest Chicago The premier food fest featuring all-things-bacon! Tue, 31 Mar 2015 21:43:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Feeling Wobbly? The Fifty/50′s “Wobble Stopper” Bacon Bloody Mary Is Back! Tue, 31 Mar 2015 21:42:34 +0000


The Fifty/50 is back as a Baconfest Chicago Sponsor for 2015.  Owners Greg Mohr and Scott Weiner are bringing back their patented Bacon Bloody Mary - the Wobble Stopper.  This is a Bloody Mary so delicious that we’ve named it the Official Bloody Mary of Baconfest Chicago.  It never fails to let us down – most delicious Bacon Bloody Mary ever.

The “Wobble Stopper is The Fifty/50’s upgrade on the traditional Bloody Mary and is comprised of New Amsterdam Vodka; fresh & housemade Bloody Mary mix; and garnished with Nueske’s bacon. The Wobble Stopper’s glass is rimmed with a finely-ground, salty corn rim.

Thanks Fifty/50 for joining us again and sharing the Wobble Stopper with our guests.

Visit The Fifty/50 at 2047 Division Street, Chicago IL 60622 – Phone: 773-489-5050

More on them, and some Photos from Baconfest Chicago below.

The Fifty/50



Dining scene vets Greg Mohr and Scott Weiner co-own this Wicker Park tri-level restaurant and 20+ flatscreened upscale sports bar with a 65-seat outdoor patio that was voted the best sports bar in America by Yahoo! and Thrillist and was also named best sports bar in the country by Maxim magazine.

Open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, The Fifty/50 specializes in fresh, scratch-made elevated comfort fare ranging from the tri-meat blended “The Triple Secret Burger”, to in-house smoked pulled pork and ribs with housemade BBQ sauce, to its massive chicken wings recently voted “Best Wings In Chicago” by RedEye, Metromix, and WGN. The Fifty/50 is also known for its 24oz cocktails served in red “keeper” cups and irresponsibly low-priced bottle service.

Located at 2047 W Division St, additional info, full menus, and complete booze lists are available at Become a fan on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and YouTube.


About Baconfest Chicago:

On April 17th and 18th, 2015, 4500 ticketed guests will come together at the UIC Forum to celebrate bacon at the seventh annual Baconfest Chicago.  Over 150 celebrated chef-sponsors will provide tasting portions of creative bacon-inspired dishes.  An assortment of liquor sponsors will provide bacon-themed beverages to compliment these dishes.  Over twenty bacontrepreneurs will sample and sell bacon merchandise in the Baconfest Vendor Expo.  The event will feature the presentation of the Golden Rasher awards, the “Oscars” of bacon.  The Greater Chicago Food Depository will run a non-perishable food-drive at the event and will receive a portion of the ticket proceeds.  More information about the event and the organization can be found at


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The Prize So Nice, We Gave It Twice – Best Bacon Poems Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:39:11 +0000 Hello Bacon Nation:

For the first time in Baconfest History, we are pleased to announce that there are TWO winners of the Bacon Poetry Contest.  Congratulations to Kiely Dolce and Sean Cooper.  Their poems “Bakin’ Memories” and “Porkalujah” have been selected as co-winners for 2015 by the BFC Literary Panel.  We’re pleased to award them with two tickets to Baconfest Chicago on April 17 or 18.  A big thank you to all those who entered the contest.  We received so many great entries.  Judging poetry is very subjective and in our eyes, you are all winners.  But there can be only one  two – and for 2015, their names are Kiely and Sean.  Enjoy their poems below.

Thanks Bacon Nation for your enthusiasm for this contest.  Baconfest Chicago begins two weeks from Friday!!  If you haven’t bought tickets, your choices are slim – Friday night is your only option for general admission; if you’d like to spring for VIP, a few remain for Friday and Saturday dinner.

Click here to purchase your all inclusive tickets and don’t be left out in the cold… without bacon.


Andre, Michael and Seth


Winners of the 2015 Bacon Poetry Contest:

Bakin’ Memories by Kiely Dolce

He wakes early, padding barefoot into the kitchen.
Through half-closed heavy lids
he grinds the coffee, carefully pouring water from the carafe
as not to spill.
The oven springs into action
all his life bacon was made in a pan
his own father peeling the slices from the packaging
placing it into his grandmothers old shallow frying pan.
But now,
he is the man
now he is the dad
and for his family he’s discovered the art of baking bacon
on Sunday mornings for his sleeping wife and child.
The house slowly fills with the sent of melting pork fat
the aroma his only companion for these few minutes he has alone
before the house wakes
and the sizzling strips in the oven become a dazzling display
for the child’s face pressed to the oven door
making new memories
of the meaning of home.


Porkalujah by Sean Cooper (an homage to Leonard Cohen)

I heard that there was a certain meat
That certain people wouldn’t eat
But you wouldn’t know what ham hocks are
Now would ya?
With cloven hooves and stubby snout
It’s piggy meat that makes me shout
The happy cry that echoes Porkalujah!

Porkalujah! Porkalujah! Porkalujah! Porkalujah!

I walked inside. My legs were shakin’.
The entire room was filled with bacon.
And then I knew that Baconfest was true, yeah.
With rows of tables piled high
With meaty treats for me to try.
And in that room I cried out Porkalujah!

Porkalujah! Porkalujah! Porkalujah! Porkalujah!

The pork was pulled and barbequed
I’d never seen such amazing food
I can’t even start to try and explain it to ya.
And on the tables, far and near
Bacon, ribs, whiskey, and beer
And from my lips there came the Porkalujah!

Porkalujah! Porkalujah! Porkalujah! Porkalujah!

Now that all that bacon’s gone
It’s time for me to stumble on
And next year
I know just what I’ll do, yeah.
And sad I was to see it end.
But BaconFest will come again.
Another year till I cry, “Porkalujah!”

Porkalujah! Porkalujah! Porkalujah! Porkalujah!


photo by Ben Collins-Sussman.

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Candid Wines Brings Back the Bubbles – Tenuta Santome & More Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:47:18 +0000 “Wine and Swine, together Divine” – Dante’s Inferno (canto xix)

Greetings Bacon Nation:

We at Baconfest Chicago are pleased and proud to welcome back long-time Baconfest supporters Candid Wines who will be on hand April 17th and 18th with their vino.  They’ve been with us almost since the beginning of this great adventure back in 2009 and every year their wine is a hit with guests and organizers alike.  We could not ask for better ministers to this happy marriage of Bacon and Wine than Damien and the Candid crew.

Viva la Candid Wines and read more about them below:

Damien Casten and the Candid Wines gang will be on hand pouring Santome Sparkling Wines -  The Official Bubbles of Baconfest Chicago including Santome “Santhomas” Sparkling Rose and Santome Prosecco Extra Dry.  Need a glass of red or white? Girasole wines from Mendocino CA will be flowing as well.

About Candid Wines:

Candid Wines is Illinois’ first distributor to focus exclusively on organic, biodynamic and family grown wines. Our roots run deep in the world’s finest vineyards, kitchens and restaurants where we picked, cooked, pruned, and served prior to joining forces in Chicago to focus on our mission: We make wine lovers happy. Candid Wines is proud to be the original and unique wine sponsor of Baconfest Chicago. Our wines can be found on the wine list of the city’s finest restaurants, so it only makes sense that we are here to pour the Official Bubbles of BaconFest Chicago, the 100% solar powered Santome Prosecco and Santhomas Brut Rose and Girasole wines with the Bacon-tastic offerings from Chicagoland’s best chefs.

Interested in pouring Candid Wines at your restaurant or selling them at your retail shop? Contact us at (630) 485-0860 or fund us on the web at

Santome Prosecco’s William Spinazze and Baconfest Chicago Cofounder Seth Zurer.

Did we mention Santome Vineyards in Italy are all SOLAR POWERED.  Read more about this amazing company here:  Tenuta Santome

Also on hand will be Girasole Vineyards.  From their webiste:

Girasole Vineyards wines are made from certified organic grapes grown in the rolling benchlands of the Redwood Valley, CA appellation of Mendocino County. All of the grapes that go into our wines are estate grown, and hand-picked from family owned and operated vineyards that date back to the 1950′s and made from 100% Certified Organic Grapes – and “Vegan” (now there’s some irony).  We welcome you to learn more about our wines and “experience the fruit as it was meant to be”.

Recent awards for Girasole Vineyards wines:
87 points from Wine Enthusiast/2010 Pinot Blanc
San Francisco Chronicle Gold Medal Award winner & Silver Medal at Mendocino Wine Competition/
2009 Hybrid Red
Next Gen Wine Competition Silver Medal/
2009 Sangiovese
San Francisco Chronicle Silver Medal & “Best of Class” at CA State Fair/2009 Merlot
“Recommended” by Chicago Tribune, Silver Medal at Mendocino Wine Compatition/
2009 Pinot Noir

Welcome aboard to the Baconfest Chicago Family!


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Goose Island & Baconfest – A Perfect Pairing Wed, 25 Mar 2015 22:44:49 +0000 Well Bacon-Nation,

Baconfest Chicago is pleased to announce Chicago’s own Goose Island Brewery as a returning veteran of the Baconfest Chicago Sponsor family.

On April 17th and 18th at the UIC Forum, they will be pouring an assortment of Goose Island brews.

HUZZAH to the entire Goose Island family for joining us to celebrate bacon for the fifth straight year and for their support of our charity beneficiary THE GREATER CHICAGO FOOD DEPOSITORY!


About Goose Island Brewery:

Founded in 1988, Goose Island is one of the Midwest’s first craft breweries, and is acclaimed for creating world-class ales made with the pure waters of Lake Michigan and the highest quality Midwestern malts. Goose Island has captivated the hearts, imaginations and palettes of beer drinkers with award winning ales – including 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Honkers Ale, India Pale Ale, Matilda, Pere Jacques, Sofie, and a wide variety of seasonal, draft only and barrel-aged releases including Bourbon County Brand Stout, the original bourbon barrel aged beer.

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LABATT BLUE to Sponsor Baconfest Chicago 2015 Tue, 24 Mar 2015 16:34:39 +0000

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Baconfest Chicago is pleased to welcome back our friends from the country that gave us Rachel McAdams, Neil Young and Ice Hockey (among many other great things).  Labatt Blue is joining us as a Beer Sponsor for Baconfest Chicago on April 17/18!  Plus, they’re lending their support to Bacon Month by providing beer for our Kickoff Party on 3/31 – tickets available here.

Thank you Labatt Blue for your support of our event and our charity partner the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  We’re so glad that we can overcome our national differences regarding the definition of the word bacon. :)

Labatt Blue is the best-selling Canadian beer in the world and the No. 1 Canadian beer sold in the U.S. Introduced in 1951, fans of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers football team nicknamed the beer “Blue” for the color of its label and it stuck. Labatt Blue offers a clean, refreshing taste, light color, slight hop aroma, good balance, fruity character and a slightly sweet taste. Fondly referred to as the Good Stuff by its loyal fans, Labatt Blue is imported daily from Canada.


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Whole Foods Market Returns to Sponsor Baconfest Chicago 2015 Mon, 23 Mar 2015 21:21:21 +0000


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Whole Foods Market is back as a flagship sponsor for Bacon Month and Baconfest Chicago 4/17 & 4/18.



Let’s Bring Home the Bacon and Ditch the Antibiotics

At Whole Foods Market, we carry the highest quality natural and organic products, and that includes our bacon. We only sell bacon that is cured with naturally occurring salts, rather than the usual method of curing the meat with synthetic sodium nitrates/nitrites. In fact, all of our processed meat items, including bacon, start with meat from our approved producers and must adhere to our Quality Standards, which include:

  • No synthetic nitrates/nitrites
  • No artificial ingredients
  • No antibiotics
  • No added hormones*

We make it easy to make informed choices when it comes to all meat. For example, choose either grain-finished beef from cattle who roamed the range for at least 2/3 of their lives or grass-fed beef from animals that never set foot on a feedlot. Or choose our pork, all from pigs that never lived in crates, or our chicken from birds that had room to flap their wings and run about. No matter what you choose from our meat department (and from the deli, too!), you can count on the fact that our standards for meat and poultry prohibit the use of antibiotics and added hormones.*

*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork.


Our friends at all nine area Whole Foods Markets will be throwing a free store-wide bacon party on Saturday April 11 from 12 noon to 3:00 PM, including complimentary samples of their natural, organic bacon. Come sample all things bacon, and see how versatile the breakfast meat can be.

Plus, Whole Foods Market is teaming up Lagunitas Brewing Company and a pair of our most distinguished Baconfest chefs to offer two Baconfest Master Classes.

On Saturday April 4 from noon to 1:30PM, Chef/Owners Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp of Honey Butter Fried Chicken will be demoing bacon recipes at the South Loop Whole Foods Market.  You can call 312.435.4600 to save your spot or click here to purchase tickets.

On Saturday April 11 from noon – 1:30PM, Chef Rodolfo Cuadros from Carnivale will be showing off his bacon chops at the Lincoln Park Whole Foods Market.  Call to register: 312.587.0648 or click here to purchase tickets.

And in case you’ve yet to get yours, a dwindling supply of tickets for our Friday Dinner session (4/17) remain for sale.  Buy them here!

Baconfest Sampling Events at Whole Foods Market
Saturday April 11, Noon-3:00 PM
Chicago Locations of Whole Foods Market

Lincoln Park  – 1550 N. Kingsbury St.

Lakeview – 3300 N. Ashland Ave.

Halsted – 3640 N. Halsted St.

Gold Coast – 30 W. Huron St.

South Loop – 1101 S. Canal St.

Sauganash – 6020 N. Cicero Ave.

Streeterville – 255 E. Grand Ave.

DePaul – 959 W. Fullerton Ave.

West Loop – 1 N. Halsted St. (opens 3/25)

Baconfest Master Classes at Whole Foods Market


Saturday April 4, Noon – 1:30 PM
Whole Foods Market – South Loop
1101 S. Canal St.
Call to register: 312.435.4600 or click here to purchase

Swing by Whole Foods Market South Loop for a chef-led cooking class all about bacon! Chef/Owners Josh Kulp and Christine Cikowski of Honey Butter Fried Chicken will explore inventive and delicious new ways to serve the smoky salty treat. Alongside tastes of each dish, participants will receive expertly paired beer samples from Lagunitas Brewing Company. Space is limited, so please register in advance by calling 312.435.4600. Cost: $5


logo wfm carnivale

Saturday April 11, Noon – 1:30 PM
Whole Foods Market – Lincoln Park
1550 N. Kingsbury St.
Call to register: 312.587.0648 or click here to purchase

Whole Foods Market Lincoln Park is celebrating Bacon Month with a bacon master class. Join Canrivale’s Chef Rodolfo Cuadros as he explains how to get the very most from the bacon you love. Alongside tastes of each dish, participants will receive expertly paired beer samples from Lagunitas Brewing Company. Class space is limited, so please register in advance by calling 312.587.0648. Cost: $5


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The Six Finalists of the 2015 Nueske’s Amateur Cook-off are….. Mon, 23 Mar 2015 18:03:28 +0000

Dear Bacon Nation:

In the spirit of the impending mayoral run-off election, we are here to report the winners of our own “internal” democratic process!  Due to a combination of circumstances, no Facebook voting was required this year to narrow down the field.  But, before we do, a few reminders:

A dwindling supply of tickets for our Friday Dinner session remain for sale.  Buy them here!

A new contest was announced last week – The Baconfest Chicago 2015 Bacon Poetry Contest.  See the details and enter here to win!

Speaking of cocktails, have you bought your tickets yet for the 3/31 Bacon Month Kickoff Cocktail Party at The Berkshire Room?  No?  You can! Buy those here!

Alright! That’s enough of that!

We we are pleased to announce the 6 finalists of the Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats Baconfest Chicago 2015 AMATEUR COOK-OFF.

Ranked alphabetically:

2015 Finalists:

Rebecca Duxler  - Bacano Italiano

Joe Goz – Bacon Apple Vol-au-Vent  w/Maple Bacon Hot Cocoa

Andrea Naseef – Double Dark Chocolate Chip Bourbon Bacon Cookies

Hipolito Sanchez – Smoked Duck and Honey Bacon Pie with Bacon Crust

Diane Tesmer – Grand Mariner BACON Jam

Amy Wozniak - Bacon Scallion Pancakes

A Reminder to the 6 Finalists.  You are required to do the following:

  • Attend Baconfest on April 17th (Friday Dinner Session) as guests of Nueske’s and Baconfest Chicago.  (You will be given one contestant pass and two GA tickets for your friends).
  • Arrive at 6:30 pm for contestant orientation and you will be escorted to a private backstage room for prep.
  • Bring 5 or more tasting portions of your dish to be served to a panel of selected judges.
  • Be present for the Golden Rashers Awards ceremony circa 9:00pm when the winner of the Nueske’s Bacon Amateur Cook-off will be announced and presented with a Golden-Rasher Trophy (plus some prizes from Nueske’s t.b.a. – but I bet Bacon will be involved.)
  • NOTE New for 2015:  Nueske’s will provide you with bacon a week PRIOR to the event to use in your dish (if you want it.)

Parameters of your dish:

You are welcome to bring any equipment you may need with you (please run large, plug-in, or fuel powered devices past us first).  In the prep area you will NOT be given facilities to cook your dish on site from scratch.  We will have a microwave on site for heating, and you will be given time to set presentation prior to serving.  Take this into account when planning your recipe!  We will provide plates/flatware for serving.  Beverage pairings are acceptable.

One more shout-out to our Sponsor Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats.  Their generosity (and great bacon) fuels this cook-off and Baconfest Chicago!

Thanks Nation.  And thanks to all those who took the time to submit.


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AMY WOZNIAK – Bacon Scallion Pancakes Sat, 21 Mar 2015 18:19:53 +0000 Woznial

Bacon scallion pancakes

Scallion pancakes are a savory take out classic made so much better with our hero bacon.


Hot water dough:
2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 c boiling water

1/2 lb Nueske’s smoked bacon,crumbled
Reserved bacon grease
1/4 c chopped scallions

Dipping sauce:
1/2 c soy sauce
1/4 c vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp chopped scallions

To make hot water dough:
Combine salt and flour in a bowl and mix well. Add boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon until ragged ball forms. Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Take 1/4 of the dough and roll into flat circle.
Brush dough with bacon grease and sprinkle with bacon and scallions.
Roll into long snake.
Starting at one end. Wind dough into spiral. Roll into flat round.

Using neutral oil,fry pancake on both sides until golden brown.
Cut in wedges and serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping sauce:

In a small bowl combine soy, vinegar,ginger, sugar,scallion and red pepper flakes

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DIANE TESMER – Grand Mariner BACON Jam Sat, 21 Mar 2015 18:16:58 +0000 Diane T

Grand Mariner BACON Jam

This Jam can be served on anything. Crusty Bread, Eggs, Ice Cream are just a few ideas.
Or eaten by the spoonful because I know you want to!!!

Makes one jelly jar

1 1/2 lbs Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon chopped
1 Sweet Onion diced
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
1/3 Dark Brown  Sugar
Tsp Crystalized Ginger chopped
I cup brewed Cafe Du Monde Chicory Coffee
Chili powder
Orange zest

Preheat oven to 300
Sauté the chopped bacon in Dutch Oven until browned
Remove bacon and leave about a tablespoon of fat
Add onion to bacon fat  and sauté until browned
Add remaining ingredients and bacon stir and bring to a simmer
Cover and place in 300 degree oven
Check and stir every 30 minutes adjust spices to taste
Keep checking until thickened
Transfer to food processor and pulse a few times until you get a jam consistency

Then put it on ANYTHING!

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HIPOLITO SANCHEZ – Smoked Duck and Honey Bacon Pie with Bacon Crust Sat, 21 Mar 2015 18:13:16 +0000 hipo 1

Smoked Duck and Honey Bacon Pie with Bacon Crust



2 Cups Flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup lard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 egg
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 lbs thinly sliced bacon (think prosciutto)


1/2 lbs duck breast with skin
1/2 lbs Nueskes Slab Bacon
1/2 cup Yukon Gold potatoes cubed
1/2 cup carrots chopped
1/2 cup celery chopped
1/2 cup shallots
1/4 cup chives
1 cup chicken stock
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
Juice from one orange
Black Pepper
Cayane Pepper
1/4 cup sweet peas

How to Prepare:

Brine duck breast 1 day before with salt, pepper, cayane, paprika, and the juice from one orange.  Smoke duck breast for 2-3 hours @ 225 degrees.  Cut and set aside.  Remove duck skin and crisp in bacon fat to be added to the pie later.

Prep 1/4 thin bacon on a baking sheet at 350 until done.  Remove and allow to cool.

For the crust mix dry ingredients together.  Add butter and lard in small chunks.  Whisk 1 egg with water and lemon juice.  Slowly add to dry mixture.  Crumble and mix in prepared bacon.  Set to fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Prep slab bacon into 1/2″ pieces and set on baking rack to bake @ 350 for 30 min glaze with honey and cinnamon every 10 min.  Set aside.

Add vegetables, chicken stock, fresh thyme, and rosemary to a pot and bring to a slow boil.  Add your duck and bacon during the process. You can thicken mixture with a little flour as desired.  Allow to cool down.

Roll out your pie crust and top.  Fill pie pan with base and then your filling and add top crust.  Dont forget to add duck skin.  Bake for 30 min @ 350 until crust is golden brown.  Brush crust with honey and crumbled bacon.  Allow to cool a little then serve.

Bon Appétit!

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