When you’ve got 15-pounds of bacon, anything is possible.
The Bacon Takedown is coming home to Brooklyn, and more than 20 borough chefs will march on the Bell House in Gowanus armed with 15-pounds of Hormel Black Label Bacon each for a prime-cut pork showdown of near-epic proportions that is sure to stretch the limits of what you thought your favorite breakfast meat was capable of.
“It’s never going to jump the shark,” Takedown organizer Matt Timms said. “There is no shark — it’s bacon!”
Timms is a Bushwick man who organizes culinary battles that thrust amateur chefs into the arena of public opinion, forcing them to cook, bake, and brew for the adoration of urban food lovers. For the Bacon Takedown, competitors are given two days — longer if they plan to infuse booze — to turn the giant sides of bacon into strange concoctions that they serve at the main event to a hungry crowd.
Five years ago, Timms was enjoying modest success with a variety of other takedown events, including a jerky and a cookie takedown, when his first Bacon Takedown debuted in a Williamsburg watering hole, Bar Matchless. The rest, as they say, is history.
“Suddenly I did bacon and I had a line wrapping around the block,” he said.
It was as if bacon had been relegated to a mere omelette garnish and Timms had rediscovered its hidden potential.
The show went national and, as Timms’s bacon contest traveled as far west as San Francisco and as far south as Austin, bacon dishes of all shapes, sizes, and degrees of liquidity emerged from ovens and blenders across America.
New and fantastic bacon dishes were invented and hordes of pork lovers descended on bars across America to taste strange porcine treats such as sarsaparilla-and-bacon gelato, bacon risotto, and even liquor drinks including almond-and-bacon-infused whisky. There is something about the flesh of pigs that fuels creativity, according to the contest’s organizer.
“Bacon drives innovation and, these contestants, they’re tasting blood,” Timms said.
Every contest is officiated by a panel of minor-celebrity judges, but the true contest is for the love of the paying public, who will fork up $15 for a chance to taste and render judgement on the cooks’ bacon offerings.
Judge bacon at the Bell House [149 Seventh St., between Second and Third Avenue in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510, buy tickets at www.thebel