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Morning Meat

January 29, 2012

Tabulating the Tour de Egg Sandwich results is going to take time. Believe it or not, an event that began at 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday, which required its participants to eat an unholy number of eggs, drew over twenty people.

I’ll tell you this right now, Stewart’s did not win.

The full results will be up later this week, I promise. But for right now, I can’t even think of eggs, which makes the Sunday breakfast post a bit challenging. Instead, let’s turn our thoughts over to breakfast meat.

Glen over at Rolf’s eats a steak every morning for breakfast. God bless him. I wish I had his genes. Steak is a lot more common breakfast meat than say, smoked pork chops. And while Taylor ham may be common in New Jersey and scrapple is widely available in Pennsylvania, these options rarely make it this far north. In case you were wondering, I consider corned beef hash in a separate category all by itself.

No, most of the country has to choose from the holy trinity of pork: Bacon, ham or sausage. One of these is clearly superior to the other two. And while you can probably guess which one, my reason may surprise you.

Obviously it’s bacon.

Now before you start flying off the handle, bacon is not always the best choice. If you find yourself in the south and there is a fine country ham on the breakfast menu, it would clearly take the prize.

But breakfast ham can be bad. Some hams are injected with water and heavily processed to the point of producing a salty and smoky sponge. I like my ham to resemble an actual pig’s leg. I like to be able to see the individual muscles, and the layers of fat and connective tissue that divide them. This helps to give me the confidence that I’m eating food and not science.

Sausage too can be amazing. Some restaurants pride themselves on grinding their own sausage by hand. Others, like Dan’s Place Two, may not make their own, but excel at cooking the stuff.

Still, if you don’t know where it comes from, sausage can be pretty scary stuff. Meat requires a certain amount of trust in the first place. Ground meat requires a lot more, because once it’s all ground up and highly seasoned, almost anything could be in there. I’ve been served unappetizingly thin industrially produced sausage patties and factory-made tightly packed links that had virtually no flavor on their own. It’s actually sad that animals had to die to make these horrid foodstuffs.

Bacon, on the other hand, is different.

Bacon always comes from the same part of the pig, its deliciously fatty belly (well belly bacon does anyway). And you can see with your own eyes the red and white streaks of meat and fat, which show the meat has not been adulterated. Plus you are guaranteed that your meat came from no more animals than the number of bacon strips on our plate. A sausage on the other hand could be made from hundreds or even thousands of carcasses.

Plus the downside to bacon is minimal. Ordering it crispy insures against it being undercooked. One needs to trust that doing so will not result in the cook burning your meat, because crispy is not the same thing as charred.

It’s also a good bit less food than the other options. It’s more like a meat cracker than a big old hunk of protein. You know, those crackers that are cooked in their own fat.

Most of the time, I skip meat at breakfast. However, if I’m going to indulge, especially at a place where the provenance of the sausage is an unknown entity, I’m going for bacon. And not because it’s trendy, because it’s not. Bacon is totally played out. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t occasionally order it.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2012 9:50 am

    ‘Meat cracker’ HA! Love it! I am a self-confessed pork lover and I have to say I am so glad that in Australia, free-range pork is now available. We have amazingly good pork near where I live but supermarket bacon is just not even worth it. The bacon is so much nicer and doesn’t leach greyish-pink watery yuckiness in the pan before it starts to crisp up. Hallelujah. Bacon bliss. :) love your blog, by the way. I’m an amateur, and I’m so impressed!

  2. January 29, 2012 10:14 am

    There was both Good Bacon and Bad (well, Less Good) Bacon on the Tour.

  3. January 29, 2012 2:51 pm

    Bacon is also healthier — less calories, believe it or not, than sausage.

    I still don’t really understand rating eggwiches. Maybe it’s ’cause I don’t eat them that often — other than “is the roll stale” and “are the eggs fake,” it seems like they’d all be the same.

    That said, my fiancé had one from Halfmoon Salad & Sub Shop this morning that he said was quite good. (We don’t usually order them, but he was inspired after I told him about your latest tour.)

    • January 29, 2012 3:23 pm

      I understand your view, but having participated in the tour there can be more variables than you’d expect. The roll, how it’s treated, how the cheese has melted, even if it is under or on top of the egg, there are a lot of subtleties…if you’re sitting there trying to find them.

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