Woodinville, WA—In the beginning there was smoked bacon.
Then came maple-smoked bacon.
Now, an adventurous butcher in Woodinville has given the world (or at least Eastsiders) chocolate espresso bacon. But first, a few bacon bits of history.
Bacon has been a popular food since 1500 BCE. In the 12th Century the phrase, “bring home the bacon” is believed to have begun from a village competition to see which husband could get to the end of a year without fighting with his wife. The winner received a prize of bacon. Bacon is now so popular it is said to be the one food vegetarians fall off the wagon for.
Bacon is being put in all types of food products these days, from chocolate bars to vodka to bacon salt (with the motto: “everything should taste like bacon”). Ryan Kraetsch of Woodinville’s Bill the Butcher has gone old school, bringing new flavors into bacon rather than the other way round.
“I started creating new bacon flavors in culinary school, mainly because I like bacon, it was a natural fit for experimentation” said Kraetsch. “But I can’t take credit for the chocolate espresso bacon; that was assistant butcher Beth Gilliam’s idea.”
Kraetsch did come up with Honey Truffle Bacon and Sage Pepper Bacon. He also makes pepper bacon and straight smoked bacon. “I love smoking the bacon, it reminds me of camping,” he said.
Best way to cook bacon? According to Kraetsch, bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until it reaches your personal preference for crispness.
Some of the bacon is smoked in the traditional manner, with a small smoker there at the Woodinville shop; other flavors are ‘wet cured’, a marinade-type process where the bacon soaks in the flavor mixture. None of Kraetsch bacon has nitrates or other chemical-curing additives. Regardless of process, bacon takes time to prepare and because of that, Kraetsch can only make about three to four pounds a week. He therefore limits each customer’s purchase to one pound.
“Otherwise, I’d have one customer buying all the bacon and have lots of unhappy customers who came in after,” he said.
Pairing with a good Woodinville wine
Here’s an idea for serving some of Kraetsch’s bacon: Pair it with an appropriate wine to complement the taste of both. To help with recommendations, Woodinville Patch turned to local wineries. Here are the suggested pairings:
- : “We featured it with a dark chocolate, sea-salt crunch bacon chocolate and it soared,” said Jill Meyer of Dusted Valley.
- : “It’s mostly Tempranillo [which] seems to have a smokiness that pairs well with bacon,” said Brian Carter. “I would recommend it with all these bacon options, especially the sage pepper.”
- Chocolate Shop Red Wine: That was the choice offered by Shaun Segraves of
- Zinfandel: “For the chocolate espresso bacon,” stated co-owner Cindy Lawson. “[With the] Honey Truffle Bacon – Truffles are fabulous with Barolo and Barbaresco; however if you are trying to stay WA wine specific, Grenache or Chardonnay would be my choice. And the Sage Pepper Bacon – Syrah.”