8:30am this bright Sunday morning found the Biggles with eyes open, yet still on the foggy side of awake. A moment later the throaty snarl of Black Bart making tracks away from Meathenge Labs at breakneck speed reminded me of my porky gift to be.
Yup, Chilebrown has struck again. Along with the Sunday paper, a pound and a half of slab bacon was resting gently. Moments later found our plucky hero with camera in hand and a 12″ cast iron pan on the warm.
Slice the bacon Biggles !!!
It all started out on the straight and narrow. CB and his wife Ms. Goofy had tickets to see Elton John in Las Vegas. Since they were driving, stop by some smokehouses on the way. Well, they made it down there easy enough, but while dining on a fine meal the waiter informed them the concert had been cancelled. The box office wasn’t any help either, were told that they’d notified 95% of the ticket holders. Suppose our Bacon Heros were among the unhappy few. Mad, pissed off and upset they beat a hasty retreat from the adult playground headed for Gustine California.
There was another smokehouse on the list, but when they arrived it had closed down. The sign was still up, but they was gone. Check the comments, CB will give us the low down.
My first question was, “Where the hell is Gustine?” I ran to google earth and it’s way out in the California central valley, way out there. Not a quick trip from the San Francisco Bay Area, no sir.
As you saw in the first image, I sliced a few to sizzle. This version has the rind on, not too thick though. It smells clean & fresh with a gentle smoky goodness. For this trip I decided to do a slow browning with the press. Bring it to a gentle crispness so the rind would pop ever so gently.
It rendered down nicely and gave a soft, sweet aroma to the room. I flipped it a few times, moved the press around to make things even. No sticky residue from the cure in the pan. This isn’t a good thing or bad, just something to take note of. Remove from pan and pat dry with a paper towel. Man, cooked to perfection. Got some chewy action and the rind popped. The fat had texture, smoonch. Clearly a good piece of belly. Very meaty, excellent texture.
The beginning flavors were very mild, low smoke, low cure. The finish was the same, very mild and clean. While this bacon is most certainly a good contender, I’d like to see more smoke & cure flavors in there. It seems a little 2 dimensional.
CB’s comment was that he’d found a gold mine. After perusing their flyer I think he’s right. They sport over 60 kinds of sausages both smoked & cured. All spice blends were developed on site and on Saturday they have barbecue take-out. The best part though? Under the Fresh Sausage heading they tell how they’re fresh and need to be baked, fried, steamed, barbecued or broiled. Then right below that, on one line, centered is the sentance, “We do not recommend the microwave.” YEAH !!!
So, if you’re passing through the area or even remotely close, make a point of stopping by to visit Wolfsen’s. I know I will.
Wolfsen’s Meat & Sausage
358 South Avenue
Gustine, CA 95322
Oh, pooh! Elton canceled. Pooh-head.
But I do drive through Gustine at least once a year on my way to visit my parents…
Wow. Cool. That Chilebrown is a fun guy.
Elton may have cancelled, but it did not stop us from going to Hubert Keller’s ‘Burger Bar’. I had a Black Angus,Swiss,and Jalapeno Bacon burger. It was the BOMB!. I now have a new quest, to find, Jalapeno Bacon. Peace,Paul
I do like ChileBrown’s way of making a silk purse. Unfortunately I have just had my morning ruined by reading this post, seeing that bacon, smelling it in my imagination and realizing that I have nothing remotely resembling it in my kitchen. I feel so pitiful.
Maybe Cookie can take orders for delivery on her next trip to visit the folks!
Yes, I’ll rent Cookie a refrigerated trailer and we’ll get what we need. Certainly !!!
Gustine ain’t far off I-5 is it? I know I pass a sign for it several times a year because I always think that the name is appropriate for that area due to the strong gusts……I’ll have to venture into town sometime for something other than gas.
Dear Dr. Biggles,
It has been bothering me for a couple of days. I would think that with your credentials and being a Dr. you would know that leaving the rind on, is just wrong!. You said it popped. It popped because it is not supposed to be there. Thankyou, I feel better now!
Please ask Chilebrown if it is all right to leave the rind on if you slash it (little diagonals) to keep it from popping???? Then you still get the good chewy rind-y part.
Dear Kudzu, Yes you can leave the Rind on with slashes. Bacon is a product that needs Reverence! The Rind is a ‘by product’; goodness of the Bacon Dude in the Sky! The rind is leftover crap. I am sorry. You should never cook or eat bacon rind unless you are homeless or stuck on a glacier with no other choices, Peace, Paul.
I like the rind though! I say removing the rind is akin to having pie without the ice cream or whippy creams. Rind on baby.
This is my Great-Uncle’s shop and it ROCKS!!!!!!
Best hotdogs in the world!
Love your Article!
This is my Dad and Grandfather’s store and food, sausage and sandwiches are to die for!!! My favorite sausages are Jalapeño Cilantro (spicy) and of course the Portuguese Linguica!! Everyone must go on a Saturday. The BBQ take-out is delicious! Ribs, tri-tip, chicken and of course Papa’s homemade beans! I currently live in Arizona and cannot find a market out here that is as good as my Dad’s. IT’S THE BEST!!!
The summer sausage rocks! I drool just thinking about it!! 🙂
JESSICA! When are you taking me to this hog heaven?
I gotta have some of that linguiça! …or let me know when old man Wolfsen comes in to town so that I can place an order :d
Jessica, Hi! This is Taylor. I’m guessing you’re Vance’s daughter. My mom is Vance’s cousin so i guess we’re related! i love his sandwiches!
I finally made it to Wolfsen’s and they told me about the sausage tasting they are having infront of there store. Apperently they do it every year, anybody can come and try all of there sausage for only 5 bucks. I live about an hour away but it was so good, i dont mind the drive, thanks for suggesting it.
HOPE TO EVERYONE AT OUR SAUSAGE TASTING OCTOBER, 6, 2007 12 NOON TO 6 PM. WE MAKE OVER 60 KINDS OF FRESH AND SMOKED SAUSAGE, COME HUNGERY.