Slogan: “A Colorado Creation. Made Here. Enjoyed Here.”
The Denver Bacon Company’s artisan maple slab bacon has recently been making its way onto Colorado restaurant menus and into specialty store meat counters. It was one of just eleven bacon companies in the country chosen to participate in the 6th Annual Iowa Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival on February 9. Some 450 pounds of DBC bacon were sampled and reportedly received raves from nearly 8,000 attendees who showed up at the state fairgrounds in Des Moines to taste some of the nation’s best bacon brands.
In the same spirit as the annual Presidential pardon given to a designated turkey on the day before Thanksgiving, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad pardoned one lucky pig the day before the festival, but other pigs, in bacon form, ended up on tasting tables. “Festival attendees lined up to try DBC’s artisan maple slab bacon,” said Brooks Reynolds, chairman of the bacon board for the Iowa Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. “If we had a ‘People’s Choice Award’, it would have gone to DBC.”
The product has two pairs of progenitors. The humans are Justin Brunson, executive chef of Masterpiece Deli and Old Major Restaurant (opening later this month), and Eric Clayman, a founding partner of Udi’s Granola and Gluten Free Foods. As for the porcine progenitors, the dams (females). are a Large White and Landrace cross and the sires (males) are Durocs. I know nothing about hog breeds, so I’m just passing on this information from a DBC press release, which also says that the dam gives the animal muscle structure, while the sire provides marbling. After slaughter, the meat is not pumped full of water and is dry-aged, ultimately allowing for more yield per pound and very little shrinkage when cooked. Brunson devised the DBC bacon recipe. The meat is cured with a blend of such spices as coriander, yellow mustard, juniper, thyme, bay leaf and black pepper, and then sweetened with maple sugar. It is then smoked with Colorado peachwood, sourced from Fruita, Colorado.
DBC isn’t done with just one product, no matter how well received. The company says that is in the process of receiving USDA approval to be able to sell via larger grocery stores — but I don’t know whether that will mean natural grocers like Whole Foods or Lucky’s, or mainstream chains like King Soopers and Safeway. Coming up is a new breakfast bacon sausage that will be again available at Masterpiece Deli and other Colorado restaurants and specialty stores.The partners foresee more cured and smoked deli meats and products in the near future.
As far as I know, the sold-out Denver Beer & Bacon Festival this past December was DCB’s debut. It expects to be showcased again at the 3rd Annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival tour in Keystone on June 22-23.