What’s the hottest thing going at Minnesota State Fair this year?
From Famous Dave’s (a barbecue restaurant chain in the Midwest) comes PIG LICKERS – a strip of Nueskes, apple-smoked bacon dipped in dark chocolate, sprinkled with sea salt and served chilled. Your brow may furrow but the crisp, smoky-sweetness and the fatty mouth feel of the bacon combined with the smooth, slightly bitterness of dark chocolate enhanced with the crunchy, saltiness of the grains of sea salt is not just good but “foodgasmic“.
It’s all five senses – sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami – all rolled into one. It’s both a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.
It certainly isn’t a Midwest or an American invention. Joseph Marini III, a fourth-generation candy maker and owner of Marini’s Candies, is selling bacon bonbons. Chef Todd Ginsberg of TAP, a gastropub in Atlanta, features a thin piece of bread that is grilled, brushed with bittersweet chocolate, layered with sliced Spanish chorizo and garnished with sea salt and olive oil. Walk through the open air markets of Spain and you will find vendors selling chocolate combined with smoked meats.
I’m not the only one who thinks these are great. Famous Dave’s reported selling 26,000 Pig Lickers in two days. Apparently even vegetarians love them.