Everywhere you look, there’s bacon: piled six inches tall on a platter, kneaded into loaves of bread, studding donuts and pecan sandies. And, if that’s not your speed, you can always dig into the whole roasted hog, pork rinds, cracklin’, pork belly bao buns, and even chicken-fried bacon.
This is Zingerman’s Camp Bacon, and no man’s arteries are prepared for it. You’d think that after spending your days surrounded by 150 pounds of bacon, eating it nonstop, you wouldn’t go near a strip for weeks. Not so. If anything, it can reinforce your love of the salty stuff.
“Next weekend, as soon as I got up, I bought two packs of extra thick-cut bacon, and I ate it with every meal,” said graphics editor Vineet Sawant. He ate it straight up, on BLTs, in bacon fried rice, and in poha, a typically vegetarian Indian rice dish that he made carnivorous.
Sawant made the pilgrimage roughly 3,000 people make every year to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they spend five days cooking, baking, and obsessively talking about salted, cured pork. It’s the kind of place that’d make Ron Swanson quiver with glee, featuring cooking, baking, and butchering demos, as well as a bacon-focused street fair, a bacon film festival, and a Bacon Ball, a dinner party that focuses on sharing stories and meals about meat.
After sampling everything in sight, these were Sawant’s top five dishes. Zingerman’s shared the recipes with us, so you can try them, too.
BACON PEPPER BREAD
BACON & APPLE DONUTS
THE OLD BATTLE AXE COCKTAIL
BACON CHEDDAR SCONES
BACON PECAN SANDIES
Zingerman’s has already released its dates for next year’s camp — May 30-June 3, 2018 — as well as early bird pricing for all of its classes. (Unlike traditional camps, you can attend everything, or take classes a la carte.) Some events are free, like the street fair and Bacon Beautiful Music — where musicians and poets perform bacon-y hits — and go all the way up to $295. The priciest option is Friday’s event, the Fresh Taste of Detroit, a noon-to-9:30 food tour of the best (read: most bacon-infused) food Motor City has to offer.
If you’re up for seeing whether your body can handle five days of nonstop bacon-eating and obsessing, visit Zingerman’s Camp Bacon.