The last heat of summer bakes down, giving The Great Big Bacon Picnic an appropriately heavenly glow as local chefs scoop fresh, sizzling bites onto steamy trays. Just a few steps in, and we’ve already tasted twelve varieties of gourmet bacon – all while sipping a cold and tangy Bacon Bloody Mary and chugging a perfectly milkshake-y Bacon Egg Cream (both alcoholic, of course, to start the day with a bang).
The paper plates in the hands of the picnickers stay mostly empty with all the rapid snacking – no self control to be had around crumbles of fruitwood-smoked bacon dust from Master Purveyors, the smoked Berkshire hog bacon from Catskill, or Nueske’s seductive applewood-smoked pepper bacon. Dear God…was that just the Bacon Bar? Did that only count as one tasting? It was time to start hitting the tents, and there was no way in hell we were skipping a stop.
That’s when things got intense. The Rocky theme song came pumping through speakers over the meat-flavored haze, the carnivorous instincts grew animalistic, and longstanding diets were quickly reevaluated. Even the cops were pigging out between shifts. How could anyone resist such delicacies as Chadwick’s braised bacon Bahn Mi crostini, freshly layered with Nicolosi Fine Meats? Not to mention our tied-for-first favorites: the juicy Master Special Blend Slider, mixed with the same fruitwood-smoked bacon dust from Master Purveyors; the sweet and sticky bacon marmalade buns from Kingsley and Nueske’s; and the caramelized apple bacon pastry from Feast and Vande Rose Farms. (I believe the knee-jerk response to all three was “get the fuck out of here.”)
And the non-food highlights were clear-cut for us too: music and whiskey, for the win. Brooklyn’s own High & Mighty Brass Band were right at home outside Williamsburg’s Old Pfizer Factory, where all the bacon-fueled joy was simmering in the sun. They formed a circle and, as always, an instant crowd, who danced off the heavy treats to the sound of “So Fresh and So Clean.” We sat back, comatose, enjoying Rattlesnake Rosie’s (70-proof) Apple Pie Whiskey, and what tasted like the most refreshing Sixpoint in existence (sodium will do that to you, but a Bengali is no joke).
Of course, not every ingredient works with a bacon pairing, and there were some burnt ends we would have burnt twice if we’d had the chance. We were surprised to find that the booth with the longest line was the one serving up funnel cake hamburgers – a mashup that gets points for ingenuity, no doubt, but really just made us long for an old-fashioned, meat-free funnel cake. But no matter how full we were for the next 3-4 days (seriously), and how much physical stamina went into tasting every tent, there’s nothing that could persuade us from doing the Great Big Bacon Picnic all over again.
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley