Give a little sizzle
Either you love bacon or you’re related to someone who loves bacon, or both. I feel safe in saying this because you’re on a website slavishly devoted to breakfast foods and the culture surrounding them. And it’s good you are, because the holidays are nigh upon us, and you’re going to need some gift ideas, stat. Being your humble Bacon Critic, I’ve gathered up some excellent gift ideas for bacon aficionados, so you can avoid haphazardly giving them shrug-inducing bacon-related schlock like bacon toothpaste, a bacon-scented mustache, or, god forbid, the horrifying “Slicey the Pig Dashboard Wiggler.” Get these bacon gifts instead. Trust me; I’m a professional.
Berkshire Pork Bacon Roses
Ever feel like you should get that special person in your life roses, but they’re more into barbecue than horticulture? One word: bacon roses. This company specializes in hand-curing their own bacon and fashioning it into lovely bouquets of porcine goodness that will make your bacon-adoring honey’s heart swell (perhaps literally). For the pork-inclined, this is quite possibly the most romantic gesture in existence.
Bacon bouquet, $69.99 - $229.99, baconboxes.com
Cast Iron Bacon Press
When it comes to cooking, I shy away from gimmickry, especially when it comes to bacon. Repeat this mantra after me: Bacon never belongs in a microwave, bacon never belongs in a microwave, bacon never belongs in a microwave. That said, if you’re sick of your skillet or plancha-fried bacon curling up into unmanageable tangles, what you need is a bacon press. It’s inexpensive, sturdy, heavy, and it has a wooden handle that stays cool to the touch, a true boon to all of us who sport various bacon-related burn scars. As an added bonus, it also works wonderfully cooking pressed panini, quesadillas, and—if you’re feeling adventurous—brick chicken. But it’s best for bacon, naturally.
Norpro Cast Iron Bacon Press, $17.36, ebay.com
iGourmet Bacon Sampler
The very best gift for the bacon lover in your life? Bacon (duh). But with so many bacons out there on the market—and trust me, I know this from experience, seeing as I’m basically sampling ALL OF THEM—it might seem daunting to find some lovely pig candy for your bacon-adoring friend, spouse, or relative. Worry not; iGourmet has you covered, with some of the best premium-quality bacons in the country available in various sampler packages, shipped expediently and in a reusable cooler bag for only an extra buck. If you need proof of their quality, they carry everything from Peter Luger’s famous thick-cut bacon to pork belly from Spanish Iberico hogs. This is the good stuff, friends.
iGourmet bacons, prices vary, igourmet.com
There are so many items of bacon-themed apparel floating around, it’s useless to even begin listing them here if you’re in the market. I wasn’t even on planning to acquire any of this stuff, and yet I now own a bacon tie, a bacon wallet, and more gag-gifts than you can shake a stick at. Word to the wise: bacon breath mints are just as horrible as they sound. But the one bacon-related piece of clothing I adore are my bacon socks, which are like a bacon superhero suit hiding underneath your staid workaday jeans or slacks until you feel the need to show them off (and possibly conquer evil). Then? BLAM-OH!!! Bacon socks, son! You’re going to get socks for the holidays anyway, so they might as well showcase your love for the hog, right? Right.
Living Royal Photo Sublimation Crew Socks, $10.95, amazon.com
Bacon-of-the-Month Club Subscription
Subscription services are all the rage with the interwebz-savvy kids these days, offering everything from video games to bespoke fingernails to artisanal blue jeans and more. Naturally, there are plenty of bacon subscriptions to choose from, if you truly want to give the gift that “keeps on giving” all year round. Options abound, but here’s a solid guide to some of the better “Bacon of the Month” clubs out there right now. Just remember to spell my last name correctly, m’kay?
Bacon-of-the-month clubs, prices vary, bacontoday.com
Sheet Tray with Wire Rack and Splatter Screens
Again, I urge you not to buy into bacon-cooking gadgetry, especially when it comes to “fast ‘n easy!” microwave devices (see above). But if you really want to get that bacon fanatic in your life a present that will make them—and their bacon—truly happy, don’t get that weird silicone dog cone of shame for your skillet. Instead, invest in a simple pairing of a sheet tray with a nested baking rack, which almost every chef and bacon producer I talk with says is the best way to cook your sliced, cured, smoked pork magic. If you’re partial to frying, an inexpensive splatter screen will keep your stove from becoming an oily nightmare, and also help you avoid those nasty bacon fat spatter-pop burns which hurt like the devil and take forever to heal. A pretty girl once got a set of spatter screens for me as a holiday gift when we first started dating. We’re married now. How’s that for an endorsement?
Checkered Chef Half Sheet Pan and Rack Set, $21.45, amazon.com and Greenful Products Splatter Screen, $19.99, amazon.com
Bacon Pork Sticks from Vermont Smoke & Cure
We love junk food. We’re Americans, and it’s our birthright, dammit. But once you reach a certain point in life, you realize that a Slim Jim, albeit tasty, is basically a cylindrical baton of meat chemicals and six million times your daily suggested amount of salt. You deserve better. Fortunately, you can have both your beloved, all-natural pork products and gas station-style meat sticks in one, thanks to Vermont Smoke & Cure, who use their maple and apple cider-brined, hickory-smoked, uncured bacon (it’s delicious, by the way) to make a gourmet version of that quintessentially ‘Murican treat. If you’re still not sold, they might help you manage your anxiety, to boot. One “snap,” and you’ll never go back to those formaldehyde-tasting meat treats again.
Uncured bacon pork sticks, $32.99 for 24 sticks, vermontsmokeandcure.com
Bacon Ugly Christmas Sweater T-Shirt and Bacon Hanukkah T-Shirt
For some reason, the holidays really do bring out our true love for bacon, whether it’s on our festive menu or literally on our backs. Ugly Christmas sweater parties have been all the rage in recent years, so it’s only natural to combine these two themes into one festive package. Best still, you don’t need to buy an itchy wool pullover that you’ll likely only wear once to do so; you can now get your bacon-themed ugly holiday sweater in T-shirt form! FYI, I’m a men’s large. Well, an XL the closer we get to New Year’s, the way my family eats.
Ugly Bacon Christmas Sweater T-shirt, prices vary, uglysweatersbycity.com and Star of David Bacon T-Shirt, $18.49, spreadshirt.com
Mister Bacon’s Big Adventure Board Game
OK, I’ll come clean. I just put this one on here in hopes that my friends will see it and get it for me. No shame here. I’m genuinely invested in helping Mister Bacon make it through the Mustard Marsh, the Wiener Wasteland, and the Sausage Sea, all the way to the frying pan.
Mister Bacon’s Big Adventure Board Game, $19.95, mcphee.com