Bacon lovers across Chicago united for the sixth annual Baconfest, held at the UIC Forum on April 25th and 26th. Spread across three sessions, almost 4,500 attendees pigged out on dishes from 160 Chicago-area restaurants. Over 7,800 pounds of bacon was used, provided by Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats.
Baconfest also made a huge donation to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, providing the charity with $75,000 from the festival’s proceeds. On top of that, a food drive run during each session, as well as a raffle, drummed up extra support for this important organization.
Some chefs let their imaginations run wild, serving up quirky and unique iterations of the pork favorite. The Golden Rasher awards for most creative use of bacon went home with a restaurant from each session. For Friday Night, Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse won the prize for their Carmelized Bacon with Clams Casino Broth. Lillie’s Q won the Saturday Lunch session with a Bacon Float, and the Saturday Night winner was Farmhouse with “Pigs in Mud,” a play on the dirt cup dessert of childhood made with chocolate bacon custard.
Here are some other delicious bites from this year’s Baconfest:
The rutabega bisque from Big Jones, topped with candy apples, pumpernickel, and bacon croutons, was creamy, rich, and very satisfying.
Straightforward and undeniably delicious, Carnitas Uruapan served up crispy and cravable traditional carnitas.
Showing off a dish from their new brunch menu, Carnivale wowed with their bacon-wrapped dates served with blue cheese and a lavender honey vinegarette.
Firecakes had a perfect sweet fix with their maple-glazed pineapple & bacon donut.
Bacon garnished this treat from Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro. The candied bacon root beer float had bacon and chocolate cherry stout ice cream floating in homemade root beer.
Red Butter's bacon and paneer samosa was brilliantly paired with a rhubarb and pecan chutney.
The Signature Room presented a rich option: smoked bacon meatball stuffed with foie gras.