Hold the eggs, hold the lettuce and tomato, because the third annual Bacon Takedown is back in Brooklyn — and this sloppy, salty side is taking center stage.
The concept is simple: 20 bacon-crazed meat lovers will convene at the Bell House on Sunday, Oct. 16, and compete to create the most-delectable dish they possibly can.
There is only one rule: bacon must be the main ingredient.
“Bacon is luxurious, it’s decadent. People are ravenous for this stuff,” said Matt Timms, co-creator of the “takedown” franchise that now includes chili, taco, avocado, fondue and cookie cook-offs. “Bacon’s taken over throughout the country; people are infusing things with it, and are turning it into ice creams, bacon macaroons, bacon jam — I even saw bacon popsicles. There’s a bacon craze.”
After last year’s Bacon Takedown, Timms was approached by Hormel meats, which offered to act as sponsor, supply the goods and take the Bac-down on the road. After a five-city tour — Portland, Chicago, San Francisco, Austin and Boston — the successful traveling takedown is coming home to Brooklyn for the final bacon face-off of the season. All over the US of A, amateur chefs are eager to experiment with bacon because of its intense smoky flavor and high fat content, but Timms says of all the cities he’s seen, the chefs in Brooklyn are the sharpest, and their recipes the riskiest.
“I’ve never seen talent like Brooklyn,” he said. “The level of cooking is seriously, seriously, out of control.”
Last year’s champ, Jen Wanous, took the fatty breakfast meat and turned it into a creative confection fit for carnivores: avocado ice cream made from goat’s milk, and topped with candied bacon. The judges were wowed, and so was Wanous — so much so that she quit her job, went to culinary school and became a full-time chef.
“Don’t be afraid of bacon,” Wanous said. “Bacon changed my life.”
Wanous will join George Motz, author of “Hamburger America,” and Alex von Buron from foodie website Chow to determine this year’s winner — the creations are also subject to a popular vote for the coveted People’s Choice Award — and the competition is bound to be stiff.
“Here’s my advice: be ridiculous and over-the-top,” Timms said. “I want you to punch me in the face with your bacon.”
The Bacon Takedown at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowansu, (718) 643-6510], Oct. 16, 2 pm. Tickets, $15. For info, visit www.thetakedowns.com.