When I throw out the term “Pig Lickers,” what comes to mind? An all-male adult movie produced by Hot Desert Knights, or the most anticipated food fad at this year’s Minnesota State Fair? Sorry, but the correct answer is the latter.
Chocolatier Mary Leonard, owner of Chocolat Celeste, has joined forces with the owners of Famous Dave’s Booth at the Minnesota State Fair, Chef Charlie Torgerson and his partner, Randy Jernberg, to combine what most human beings would consider the best of both worlds: bacon and chocolate.
First, Torgerson fries Nueske’s Applewood Bacon, a premium product with low shrinkage. Next, “paintin’ on the pig,” he uses a pastry brush to coat both sides of the bacon with rich, melted, Wilbur Dark Chocolate. Finally, he sprinkles the strips with coarse sea salt, then chills them. Four to five of the five-inch strips are served in a cone cup for $5 at the Famous Dave’s Booth. For those not on diets, try the Pig Licker with cheese.
Torgerson, honored as a National Celebrated Pork Chef in 2008, offers that Pig Lickers “are a sweet and salty thing—and you can never stop after just one piece.”
The chef was right, because at a press tasting, my partner, Chad, and I had several pieces. They were wonderfully salty, fantastically sweet—and addictive.
According to Torgerson, “We’ve ordered 10,000 pieces of bacon and 200 pounds of chocolate. We’ve got six kids who will be banging them out at the fair this year.”
If attending the State Fair isn’t your thing, you can stop by Chocolate Celeste at 2506 University Avenue West, St. Paul.
Torgerson, who also features a Butt & Belly BBQ Sandwich for $6 at the Famous Dave’s Booth, explains, “We layer pieces of Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Butt [shoulder part of the pig] and strips of slow-braised Crispy Charred Pork Belly [the belly is actually fresh bacon] from Prairie Pride Farms with Sassy Chipotle BBQ sauce, and top with shredded cabbage and homemade Jalapeno Pickled Red Onions.”
So, start your diets now, and haul your jowls down to the State Fair for some true pig-licking and tasting.
John Michael Lerma is a local chef, author, and Food Network personality. His company Garden County Cooking offers cookbooks, cooking classes, consulting, private events, and culinary vacations to Italy and the Caribbean. Visit www.GardenCounty.info. Check out his “Word of Mouth” Blog under “Extras” at LavenderMagazine.com.