March 30, 2009 -- When it comes to bringing home the bacon, literally, that is, Americans are near-professionals. Last year Americans ate more than $2 billion worth of bacon.
Lisa Haas, a "baconographer," told "Good Morning America" the pig product's popularity should not come as a surprise.
"It's inexpensive, it tastes great and you can put it in anything," she said. "People just love it."
But the fact that someone would proudly identify themselves as a baconographer is more telling of the food's current popularity than most anything Haas could say.
Matt Timms is one bacon-lover well aware of the trend. He is the founder of a Brooklyn-based competition called Bacon Takedown in which contestants enter their favorite homemade bacon recipes.
"I just wanted people to enjoy food, to get together and to fight about it," Timms said.
Some of the entries are odd, to say the least. He has seen bacon ice cream, a bacon cake and bacon tamalies.
"Good Morning America" asked its viewers to send in their own homemade bacon concotions. Check them out on the next page, then head here for some more of our delicious recipes.
Caramel Apple Bacon Cookies
By Kimberly Wadsworth
Ingredients for Cookies:
¼ pound bacon, chopped into ½ inch pieces
About ¼ to ½ cup brown sugar, or to taste
1½ cups sugar
1½ tablespoons molasses
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2¼ cups flour
½ cup apple juice
½ to 1 cup pecans, or to taste
Directions for Cookies:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the chopped bacon with enough brown sugar to coat, then spread it in a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking. Remove from oven and spread on paper towels to cool and drain. When cooled, whirl them briefly in a food processor along with the pecans to chop fine.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 again. Cream together the sugar, molasses, shortening , and egg, and then sift in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and flour. Stir in the apple juice until the batter is well blended. Then fold in the chopped bacon bits and pecans.
3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Let cool, and then frost with caramel glaze (recipe below). Yields 7 to 8 dozen.
Ingredients for Caramel Glaze:
¼ cup butter*
¼ cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons milk or cream
Pinch of salt
1 cup powdered sugar
Directions for Caramel Glaze:
1. Melt together butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in milk or cream, salt, and powdered sugar. Thin with more milk if desired.
*For extra bacon flavor, add just a little reserved bacon drippings to taste.
By J.J. Proville of Brooklyn, N.Y.
Yield: 40 to 50 slices of bacon
Ingredients for Cure:
3 pounds salt
1 pound sugar
1 pound brown sugar
5 bay leaves, ground
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme
½ tablespoon freshly ground allspice
1 tablespoon red chili flakes
Ingredients for Pork:
1 4- to 5-pound pork belly
Cure, as needed
1 pounds applewood chunks
2 pounds cherrywood chunks
2 cups agave nectar
½ cup ground Szechuan Buttons
Directions for the Cure:
Combine salt, sugars, bay leaves, pepper, thyme, allspice and chili flakes.
Directions for the Pork:
Submerge the pork belly in the cure for 3.5-4 days. Remove from the cure. Rinse thoroughly twice. Let the bacon air-dry uncovered in the refirgerator for 24 hours. In a smoker of grill over indirect heat, smoke the bacon using a mix of cherry and applewood chips or chunks for 6 hours. Remove from smoker and reserve in a chilled place.
Directions to Serve:
Using a meat slicer, slice bacon. Preheat a hot grill using hardwood lump charcoal. Brush or drizzle agave nectar onto slices. Grill the bacon slices for 1 minute per side or until crispy. Sprinkle evenly with Szechuan buttons and serve.
Kevin Bacon's Last Meal: Bacon Sloppy Joe's With Tangy Mexican Crema on Baguette
By Nick Suarez; tied for Second Place in the Audience Award at the Bacon Takedown
12 pounds ground pork, beef and veal
8 pounds slab bacon
1 large (28 ounce) can crushed New Jersey tomatoes
2 Cans tomato Paste
8 large carrots
5 large onions
6 large shallots
4 large red bell peppers
2 cups ketchup
1 cup white wine
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup Piri-Piri Pepper Sauce
⅛ cup cilantro
⅛ cup peanut bButter
Sprinkling Old Bay
5 cups Mexican Crema
14 baguettes, sliced into thin slices
1. Sear beef, pork and veal in large stock pot.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 hours (Yes, it takes a long time!!).
3. Slice 14 Baguetttes into thin slices.
4. Put Crema in Squeeze Bottle.
5. Serve 1 Tablespoon of Sloppy Joe Mix with squirt of Crema on individual piece of Baguette.