A fascinating trend is starting to develop in the local food scene. Increasing the very best meats in town are coming out of breweries and tap rooms across the city. Somewhere a genius discovered that good beer and good meats belong together and it is spectacular.
There are several examples of great meats. Flyway is starting to smoke pork shoulder for example on special occasions, it makes sense considering owner Jess McMullen is a championship bbq-er. Lost Forty has been into cured and smoked meats for a long time with owner Scott McGehee even recently upgrading to a mammoth smoker for the facility.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some other great meats around town. However this sudden rise in meat quality has given way to breweries producing one thing better than anyone else. Bacon.
It seems only natural, bacon and craft beer go together in a hipster universe like flannel shirts and beards. We now have three groups in town curing and producing some of the best bacon around however.
Owner Scott McGehee is no stranger to cured meats, still his latest bacon took us a bit by surprise. The new bacon charcuterie board is like nothing you’ve ever seen.
The three slices of house cured bacon are cut so thick they really are more like fried pork belly than bacon. These huge bacon sticks are seared off on all four sides for a nice crunch with a very meaty and flavorful inside.
Since this is a charcuterie board it comes with a variety of other things such as cheese, pickled veggies, and toast. Make no mistake though, this is really all about the bacon here, and it is one of the most unique takes on bacon in the market.
Rebel Kettle recently brought on Beast Food Truck owner Gwen Jones to co-manage the kitchen with Tovya Prince. Gwen’s main roles are developing menus, controlling food costs, optimizing efficiency, and making bacon. Gwen’s bacon is stuff of legend, she has occasionally served it out of her food truck and it sells out almost instantly. It is quite honestly the best bacon we have had.
The absolute first question I had for Gwen when she joined Rebel Kettle was “Will there be bacon?”. The answer is yes, now with the new menu update that rolled out this week, Beast bacon can be found on a number of items and is available as an add on to anything. Personally I will just start ordering my beer with a side of bacon.
NWA based Core Brewing got off to a rocky start on the food side when they opened up their Argenta tap room. They quickly made up for it by hiring in Jeff Wetzel known for his “french cowboy” food truck in Bentonville called Le Bouvier.
One of the first things Wetzel did was start curing bacon in house. It is a great cure, and a nice thick cut that he is currently using on burgers, BLTs, and a few items like their deviled eggs. Wetzel says there are plans to expand the bacon being cured which will allow for even more items using their bacon.
Get out and enjoy some craft beer, but most importantly, get it with bacon.