If you pay attention to food news—or the Internet—you’ve probably heard of the Bacon Explosion by now. If not, let me bring you up to speed. The Bacon Explosion is a log of meat, constructed out of two pounds of bacon, two pounds of sausage, and a whole lot of barbeque sauce. You can cook it on the grill, in a smoker, or in your oven.
Sadly, I haven’t had the chance to taste a Bacon Explosion yet, mostly due to a dearth of other willing test subjects. In lieu of that, I offer you a short and by no means comprehensive countdown of the best places to find bacon in or near Grinnell. How is this healthy, you may ask? Bacon has protein—and that’s good enough for me.
Number three: the Dining Hall. Extra points for convenience, since it requires almost no travel time. Dining Hall bacon varies widely in quality, but with a little care in your choice of strips, you should be good. Try it dipped in a little jam or syrup if you are a sweet-and-salty fan like me.
Number two: Perkins. Take Exit 164 off I-80 for Newton, and you’ll see the sign from the freeway. They serve thin-sliced bacon, rather than thick-cut (my personal favorite), but they’ll cook it any way you want it. Bonus: Perkins is open from 6 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday-Thursday, and 24 hours on Friday and Saturday. If you’re really desperate during the week, the Iowa City and Des Moines branches are always open … uh, not that I know anyone who would drive an hour just for Perkins. Certainly not me. Moving on.
Number one: A&M Café. The holy grail of bacon in the area. If you’ve never had A&M’s bacon, I sincerely hope that you’re either kosher, vegetarian or brand-new to the area. The A&M cooks thick-cut bacon (I believe in crisp bacon, but their bacon is so perfect that it’s even good limp) and doesn’t charge much, either. Plus, you can walk there, so no need to worry about finding a car. The only downside is A&M’s fairly limited hours— 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 7 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sundays.
You can make bacon yourself, of course. Grab a frying pan and a package of store-bought bacon, separate the strips, and lay them out in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat to your preferred level of doneness. Just remember that because it is deliciously fatty, you probably shouldn’t eat it every night. If you start going into withdrawal, try turkey bacon. Despite being Jewish, I’ve always eaten real bacon, but turkey bacon isn’t bad if you’re desperate. Kind of like those fake-bacon doggie treats.
If you’ve overdosed on bacon and lost the love, I recommend working your way back slowly. Crumbled bacon on your Dining Hall cheesy fries. Bacon chocolate from Vosges. Bacon salt, available at both HyVee and Fareway. If you’re daring, bacon chocolate chip cookies with maple-cinnamon glaze (god, I love the Internet).
And if you’re truly hardcore, you can find the recipe for the Bacon Explosion at www.bbqaddicts.com/blog/recipes/bacon-explosion/.