OUR CULINARY GURU’S “BACON ON A CLOTHESLINE” IS A COMBINATION OF NOVEL PRESENTATION AND TRANSCENDENT FLAVOR
BY CHEF DAVID BURKE
I’ve invented many recipes and methods of preparation in my career, a number of which are copied (aka “honored”) all over the world. One of my most popular is Bacon on a Clothesline. Flick slices of bacon glazed with Vermont maple syrup and sprinkled with crushed black pepper, it’s precooked in the oven, then hung by clothespins from a string between two wooden dowels. Its finished table side with a blowtorch, along with a sprig of rosemary (likewise singed to release a smoky aroma that gets the senses going), and the fat from the bacon drips onto a pickle.
Amazingly delicious edible art a melding of favors and textures (the bacon is crunchy, salty, sweet, spicy, and savory), it also has amazing eye appeal. is dish is shareable, Instagramable, and interactive (guests are given scissors to cut oslices) a real conversation piece.
The idea germinated while I was working with fruit leathers (fruit pulp, juice, and sugar, dried in the form of sheets) at a Las Vegas restaurant. We draped them over a towel rack, but they were too sticky to cut with a knife, so we gave guests scissors, and they loved them.
When creating any dish, the number one goal is deliciousness, but this one has the additional qualities of being relatively easy to execute and marketable to guests. Inventing is a process that involves time, experience, and a host of other intangibles…and typically, recipes aren’t written in granite anyway (I have dishes I’ve been tinkering with for 20 years).
When conceiving just about anything, but especially food, it’s important to remain open minded. We consider market trends, research buying habits, and so come to know shifting tastes like affection for shareable, photographable, and conversational items, among other preferences. Feedback plays a vital role.
Lastly, a fan favorite like this dish just can’t be made from an ingredient like quail or skate; they simply aren’t popular enough. Such a menu star must begin with something everybody loves, and that category decidedly includes bacon. At Drift house, this dish is center stage… in the spotlight, or even better in the glowing flame of a blowtorch.
Among Chef Burke’s numerous international accolades is that he remains the only American ever to win the coveted Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition’s Diplome d’Honneur.
MAPLE GLAZED CANDIED BACON
12 slices bacon, cut
¾ inch thick
1¼ cups pure maple syrup
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
1 tbsp. orange zest
3 tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 tbsp. mustard powder
3 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Heat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients except bacon in a medium saucepan and cook for 30 minutes over medium heat. Cook bacon on wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet for 15 minutes. Using a pastry brush, paint the reduced glaze on bacon one side at a time. Place back in oven, flipping over and then glazing the opposite side every 10 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately.