Chicken fried bacon
|Place of origin||United States|
|Region or state||Texas|
|Main ingredients||Bacon, batter dip|
Chicken fried bacon consists of bacon strips dredged in batter and deep fried, like chicken fried steak. It is an American dish that was introduced in Texas in the early 1990s. Frank Sodolak of Sodolak's Original Country Inn in Snook, Texas, states that he invented the dish; however, a similar recipe in the Louisiana Cookery cookbook by Mary Land uses salt pork, the bacon of its day. It is usually served as an appetizer with cream gravy or sausage gravy for dipping and sauce.
Sodolak's version of the dish acquired enough of a reputation to be featured in Texas comedian John Kelso's Texas Curiosities. The entry states that "Things are not only bigger in Texas, they're greasier" and that "it's hard to imagine a more artery-clogging food."
Sodolak's version serves six strips of bacon, battered and fried, with a bowl of cream gravy. He and his restaurant were featured on a Texas Country Reporter episode; the web video has been watched hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube.
Chicken fried bacon made by Glen Kusak of south Texas won the Big Tex Choice Award for Best Taste in the 2008 State Fair of Texas in Dallas. In recent years, the dish has made its way across America and it is served in Chicago at the Risque Cafe in Lake View. The Risque Cafe's version of "country-fried bacon" is served with white gravy and sells for $6. It is prepared using an egg wash, dredged in heavily peppered flour and deep fried in vegetable oil. The café's chef, Andrew Niemeyer, said he "played around with the idea" while a student of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (he graduated in 2005).
Since the dish is rich in saturated fat, the majority of health experts who favor low-fat diets suggest consuming it in moderation or not at all. Sally Squires of the Washington Post acknowledged chicken fried bacon's appeal to the palate, but suggests moderation. Other experts note the dish's low nutritional benefits: "They've taken fat, they've double-coated it in fat, they've fried it in more fat, and then they've served it with a side order of fat." Jane Hurley, senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C., stated she's "never heard of anything worse."
While critics of the dish denounce its blatant negative health effects, enthusiasts speak as passionately about its qualities:
|“||The moment when the crackle of the crust gives way to the fatty, salty taste of the pork is truly transcendent.||”|
- Kelso, John (January 16, 1999). "Would you like double grease with that?". South Coast Today. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
- Kelso, John (2006). Texas Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff. Globe Pequot. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-7627-4109-0.
- The Austin American-Statesman reported that the restaurant burned down in February 2001 (possibly as the result of a grease fire) to the dismay of chicken fried bacon lovers; it was to be re-opened in mid-July. Kelso, John (2001-06-08). "Grease: It's not just a food, it's a way of life". Austin American-Statesman. p. B1. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
- Phillips, Bob (2006-10-19). "Chicken Fried Bacon". Texas Country. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
- Meyers, Jessica (2008-09-02). "Chicken Fried Bacon? State Fair of Texas reveals winning fried foods". Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 6 September 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
- "Winners named in Big Tex Choice Awards" (Press release). BigTex.com. 2008. Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
- Donovan, Lisa (2008-11-05). "Does bacon get any better than this?". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
- Response to "Guilty in Virginia," in Squires, Sally (2001-12-27). "The Lean Plate Club". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
- "Grease: most of us were practically weaned on chicken-fried steak, but why limit yourself to a tough cut of meat when there's a brave new world of cowboy cooking out there? Please pass the chicken-fried bacon. And lobster. And foie gras. And ..." Texas Monthly. Retrieved 2009-02-09.