VIP ticket holders at Baconfest Chicago’s Friday Dinner session on April 5 are in for a special treat – a limited-edition, VIP-only sample-size bowl of bacon-ramen crafted by the notorious Mike Satinover, the mastermind behind Akahoshi Ramen, whose series of occasional ramen popups have sold out in seconds at Paulie Gee’s Logan Square and Momotaro. His ramen obsession has been chronicled by the media in the Chicago Tribune, on Serious Eats, on the Takeout.com and elsewhere. Only a few Chicagoans have been able to sample his creations – and now a few lucky VIP ticket holders (get tickets here) will get to try his take on bacon ramen, available only at Baconfest.
This ramen is a unique addition to the Baconfest menu and will not be available anywhere else in the world. “I will never make this dish again,” he tells us. “I’m not going to make this for another popup. I’m not going to make this for another event. This is a Baconfest specific ramen and then that’s it. It’s gone forever. It comes in … and it goes away.”
Mike (aka u/Ramen_Lord on reddit or @ramenover on instagram), is the most notorious ramen-maker in Chicago. By day, he is a mild-mannered marketing research consultant; by night, he’s an obsessive experimenter, crafting and re-crafting his signature bowls of ramen, refining each component …. from the aroma oil that he floats on top of each bowl of broth, to the tare, the glutamate-heavy soy syrup that provides the salty backbone for each spoon full of soup, to the noodles, sometimes provided by Sun Noodles, the national leader in restaurant ramen noodle supply, often created himself using imported Chinese noodle machines – countertop consumer-grade pasta machines didn’t produce nearly enough pressure to form the tight springy noodles he’s fond of.
He shares his experiments with fellow ramen nerds on reddit, exhaustively chronicling each iteration of each style, sharing his knowledge to “advance the art of ramen” worldwide. His Instagram feed is a mouthwatering alternation between glistening photos of his own bowls and those he finds in the city and beyond. His travelogue of a recent ramen research trip to Sapporo was remarkable, both as a source of noodle-porn and as a trove of insight into the ramen arts, each serving carefully dissected, lovingly described, and rigorously critiqued. I learned more from that set of instagram posts than I had from years of ramen-eating in Chicago restaurants.
We’re delighted that he’s turning his rigorous mind and boundless enthusiasm for ramen toward bacon. Nueske’s is on board – they’ve sent three slabs of the finest cured pork ever made in WI to his uptown apartment / ramen lab. And he’s been tinkering ever since, circling toward a bacon-ramen that reflects all that he’s learned about the noodle arts.
Mike’s current iteration of his Baconfest ramen starts with a tonkotsu broth, pork bones boiled hard under pressure till they’ve given up every iota of flavor. To flavor the broth, Mike’s created Bacon Tare, a murky salty soy sauce syrup infused with applewood smoked pork and bacon aroma-oil, rendered bacon fat, spiked with onion and garlic. Taking the role of chashu is sous-vided and seared slices of Nueske’s apple-wood smoked bacon. The final recipe has not yet been decided – a version we tried earlier in January was topped with traditional green onions and brimmed with springy noodles from Sun. An attempt at granulated bacon-dust was discarded as not bacony enough.
Whatever formula he arrives at is sure to be delicious.