A few new drinks and a whole lotta eatin’ at Bacon Bros Public House
What better way to spend a fall day than eating my way through the menu at Bacon Bros Public House and trying their new fall drinks. I took my chef friend, John Malik, along for the noshing and Chef Anthony not only tried to feed us until we were stuffed like big fat Thanksgiving turkeys, the General Manager and Beverage Director, Jason Callaway, put John to work.
Eleven in the morning isn’t too early for booze, right? Jason walked us through his recipe for Eggnog that he’ll be serving up at the restaurant this holiday season. He put Chef Malik to work whipping egg whites into stiff peaks while he whisked together egg yolks, whole milk, heavy cream, Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream, and grated up fresh nutmeg to top it all off. He topped off our glasses and then poured it up into big Mason Jars to be served at the bar later. I have NEVER in my life had homemade eggnog. Nope, never. And it was freaking amazing and pretty dang easy, especially if I get my Kitchen-aid mixer involved.
The next drink was a beautiful holiday Cranberry-Ginger Bash made from Farmer’s Organic Small Batch Gin, crushed cranberries, ginger, and this amazing concoction called Allspice Dram. It’s white rum with allspice, cinnamon and brown sugar. I’m not so much a gin drinker, but liked the spice and the tartness to the drink, and as far as that Allspice Dram goes, I could sip on that all day long. I’m dreaming of all the things I could mix it with… cider? So yum.
I couldn’t leave without trying some of the things on the menu I haven’t had the pleasure of eating yet! Do not think for a second that John and I were able to eat all of this food. We dang tried, but Chef Anthony was on a mission to kill us by means of food. Yes, there are worse ways to die.
First to be delivered to our waiting forks was a giant plate of smoked dry rub chicken wings with Alabama white sauce. The flavor of these things was incredible! I fork and knifed my way through the first wing, then abandoned all refinement, picked up the second one and attacked it, then sucked the juices off my fingers with absolutely no shame. Damn. Just damn.
Then Chef delivered a plate of beautiful light and fluffy Buttermilk biscuits with cheddar and thyme sidled up to a little Bacon Bros housemade apple butter. (Housemade is so redundant at Bacon Bros. Darn near everything is housemade. And if he hasn’t done it yet, he’s trying to figure out how.) We broke off delicious hunks and dipped them into the jam.
The bread was accompanied by a Heirloom Red Frisee Salad with roasted shiitake mushrooms, bacon lardons, and a bread crumb topped duck egg. When John cut open the egg, it created a nice rich addition to the flavor of the mushrooms and the fatty bacon pieces. Eye rolling good. I am not a fan of runny eggs for breakfast. Sunny side up? Gag! But dang, I will gobble up some warm runny egg on a salad. What is wrong with me?!
I think at this point I asked John if we could quit eating now, but then this came out:
Chef Anthony is a master at cured meats. From left to right: Fennel Spiced Capo. Apparently it comes from the muscle out of the Boston Butt, is cured 90 days, then aged for two more months. Genoa Salami, aged 7 months. Carne Salada, a spiced pork from the cushion meat or sirloin spiced with clove, allspice, and cinimon. 9 month aged Country Prosciutto, the first ham started at the restaurant. Nice! There was also pickled eggs, pickles, pickled okra, cherry mustard made from Sprecher Cherry Soda and then a beer mustard and cheddar crackers. Every inch of the toppings on this board are house made. And if you ever go to Bacon Bros Public house and don’t order the Charcuterie or Meat Board, you’ve missed the whole point of the place. This is pure meaty, fatty, silky, buttery cured bliss.
I have been dying to try the waffles at Bacon Bros. I stacked cornbread waffle, molasses barbecued boston butt and slaw up on my fork and it was awesome. I put my fork down, looked over and realized that John had hunks of Country ham in his waffle! What?! I went back in for more and found lovely pieces of sliced country ham scattered in the waffle batter. Okay, a couple more bites… then I sat back. Done. So done. We poured up some of the Sprecher Cherry Cola to sip on and chat for a while. Satiated. Full. We are done, right? Nope. I’m telling you: death by food.
You’ve seen this before on the blog, the Peanut Butter Moonpie. The only thing not made in-house is the nuts. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Chef Anthony didn’t sit back there and shell them and chop them up himself… maybe even dug them out of the ground from somewhere. I’m not joking. And really, I’m not poking fun. He’s a 100% all in chef. He sources locally. He makes his own…everything, it seems like, down to the hot sauce on the table. And if he didn’t make whatever it is, an ingredient, or whatever, he’ll probably be able to tell you what you want to know about who did.
Chef Malik made a comment while we were eating. He said, “We live in a time of local this and local that. Now black eyed peas are much more interesting than caviar.” He’s right. We’re a “where’d you get it” society focused on local, local, local. Shop local. Make it local. Grow it local. And from the standpoint of someone who watches chefs very closely, it really connects these chefs to what they are putting on the table, more than ever, I think. They are deeply connected to the process from the dirt to the table. Actual farmers were coming into the restaurant to drop off their goods while we were grazing. I met them. Shook their hands. It’s maybe a new relationship with food that just wasn’t there before.
Then, we ate this very nice Mexican Coca Cola cake. A little bit of it, anyway. And this time. We were really, really, really done.
Big thanks to Bacon Bros for feeding us, and to my friend Chef John Malik for joining me for lunch. Go out and support these guys at Bacon Bros, folks. You won’t have a better meal in Greenville.