Clean Plate Charlie: How did you get into the bacon business?
Chef Todd Fisher: The show itself, the idea first started as a man's carnivore show looking for the best meats out there, with our high-protein diet and all the artisan craftwork of salamis and different charcuteries and bacon and prosciutto and all those cured meats. That was the original kind of concept; then it morphed more into bacon. It's like the father of all these other great cured meats, so we might as well just focus on the origin, the best of the best.
So Sharp Entertainment, my production company, called me up. They were like, we know your background, we like what you do, we've seen some of your simple internet stuff, so why don't you come back to NY and we'll try it out? We hit it off great right in the beginning and decided to move forward. It took some time to get the show from conception to actually filming, with changes in the networks, and Destination America wasn't even born yet. They liked the idea, but they were green. Eventually we all came together. Bacon is the thing that brings the world together. It really transcends all demographics.
What's your favorite way to eat bacon?
Usually it's whatever bacon happens to be in front of me at the time. I really like what I call medium-rare bacon. I don't want it really crispy, just a little chewy and fatty. But there are certain times when I like it really crispy, like exploding shards of bacon in every single bite. All kidding aside, it does matter what I'm eating at the time. A really good, soft scramble with crispy bacon studded all over it might be one of my absolutely all-time favorite combinations.
Do you have a favorite bacon dish at any specific restaurant?
My still ultimate quintessential best singular bite of bacon -- I'm not talking about bacon wrapped on anything -- just the singular bite of good old fashioned bacon was in San Francisco at this restaurant Sweet Maple. We first featured them in our first one hour special. What we call bacon's weight is measured buy the amount of slices per pound. So this was five slices per pound, very thick, almost like you were slicing off a piece of prime rib. It's coated with brown sugar, chili flakes, black pepper and a little bit of cayenne pepper, then baked for 10 minutes at exactly 360 degrees. That's the temperature at which brown sugar liquefies. The liquid stays on top, the oven drops off so the sugar doesn't run off it stays liquefied on the bacon as it cooks for another four hours. It's just the most succulent, salty, sweet, spicy, crunchy but supple bite of bacon I've ever experienced. It's amazing.
The next thing wasn't just bacon, it was bacon wrapped ends. In Oakland, California, a barbecue guy takes what a lot of barbecue people call barbecue candy, burnt ends, and it's double smoked. It gives it this really intense flavor, they usually can be a little dried out or on the overly smoked side. But he intentionally creates burned ends and wraps them in bacon and smokes them for a third time. I tell you, if I weren't a happily married hetero male this guy would be in trouble, I would be his new GF.