September 21, 2011

Highlights of #KnoxBaconFest

bacon fest

This past weekend was one for the books, including an event on my calendar I had been eagerly awaiting for a quite a while…Baconfest! Taking place in my fair city for the 3rd year in a row, this was the first time the southern beau and I were in attendance. Hosted by Mockingbird Events, Baconfest is a celebration of all things pork, made up of different festive happenings throughout the weekend.

While all the components sounded fun, we decided to attend the Bar Food & Cocktail party, which was Saturday night at Knoxville’s Public House. We ate, we drank, we conquered. {WARNING: gratuitous bacon pics to follow}

DSC03127BLT  Stacks…Bacon, chicken livers, & heirloom tomatoes on rye

DSC03128Bacon cheddar rugelach with tomato jam

DSC03129Chocolate caramel tarts with sea salt & candied bacon

Those first three dishes were created by Ben and Amy Willis-Becker, owners of Harry’s Delicatessen. All their offerings were delish, but the chocolate caramel tarts were absolutely to-die-for.


Next were the creations of Stanton Webster, local chef and advocate of Tennessee Agricultural products. They included a southern style crostini with spicy eggplant & Benton’s bacon relish, Murray’s goat cheese & Benton’s country ham salad on a buttermilk biscuit, and my favorite, confit trout with sweet onion mayo on blue corn chips. You’d have been embarrassed for us if you could have seen the stack of empty cornhusk serving plates on our table at the end of the night! …but when it comes to bacon, we have no shame.


One final treat from Mr. Webster was the cheese straws (a southern staple) made with Murray’s extra sharp cheddar and candied Benton’s bacon, served in those adorable paper cones.


The next chef who treated us with delicacies was Matt Gallaher. He not only cooks for our state’s fine governor, but also tours with/cooks for the band Kings of Leon. His appetizer of Muddy Pond sorghum & Benton’s bacon cracker jacks was the perfect mix of salty and sweet.


Those pictures don’t do justice to his fried green tomato pintxo with Benton’s bacon & cheese (left) and Wedge Oak Farm chicken liver pate with pickled watermelon rind on grilled toast (right).


Last, but certainly not least, we enjoyed small bites from Holly Hambright, chef extraordinaire. Once I realized her pig-shaped shortbread cookies weren’t just for decoration, I made one of them feel right at home on my plate. Other yumminess from Holly included Benton’s ham hock tamales with red eye tomato gravy, a tart with fennel, Vidalia onions, sauerkraut, tomatoes and bacon and s’mores sticks.


You might be wondering how our pants fit after this evening of pigging out, but somehow we managed. If you’ve noticed the common ingredient in many of the dishes I mentioned being from Benton’s, well that’s true too. And if you’re not all baconed out from today’s post, tune in tomorrow for the inside scoop on Mr. Alan Benton…who happened to dine right next to yours truly (my little foodie heart skipped a beat!).

Happy Wednesday pals!