The Bacon Awards were judged this week and the winner was Cantabrian Chris Brown from Ellsmere Butchery, Leeston Christchurch so I thought we could chat bacon.
To find out what makes the best bacon, I spoke to Chief Judge, Anita Sargison, President of the NZ Chefs Association to get the bits on bacon.
All of the entries were cooked with a the same amount of cooking spray, over a medium hot flame in a pan. Whilst this does not always allow for the crispy that some customers seek, it gives us a standard to work to and the cooking process allows for the flavours to come out, rather than the saltiness or carmalization that may change the flavours when grilled or oven cooked.
We use the philosophies of the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) Marking, in that all entries start with 100 marks and marks are deducted from the entry as faults are found in the particular areas.
Eg: if the raw bacon comes out and if poor in colour, or the ratio of fat to meat is undesirable, or the slices are not consistently thick/thin then we would take the marks off correspondingly tot hat sections weightings.
The bacons that are left with the highest marks are then put forward for the cook off.
70-79.9 Bronze Medal
80-80.9 silver medal
90-99 gold Medal
100 gold with distinction
He scored a 100% in the uncooked it was picture perfect and, what made this entry so fantastic well, what it promised in the raw state transferred directly into the cooked product - which is often not the case, sometimes what we see is not always what we get.
All entries must use 100% NZ Pork. The Awards were established to celebrate NZ's finest cured pork products and to help customers identify and appreciate local, sustainable bacon and ham and support NZ pork producers.
Pat dry if too moist. Place in a lightly greased pan and pan fry over a moderate heat to cook. Do not cook over too high a heat as the bacon burns before it is cooked.