Trigger warning: This article contains information that may be upsetting to some PETA supporters.
Dating as far back as the year 410, European farmers have been breeding pigs to cure and smoke the meat for food. Like skiing, the pig farming cycle is seasonal. Pigs are born in spring, raised in the summer, fattened in the autumn, and then killed in the winter.
Clearly, nature designed this to ensure bacon be part of skiing. It's also the reason most ski pants and jackets have pockets--or as we like to call them--bacon storage compartments.
So how do we as skiers best utilize this gift of science? POWDER spoke with three pork-pocketing pros willing to share their know-how on the art of pocket bacon for skiers.
Let's meet our experts:
Kevin Back is considered an industry mentor to countless young skiers breaking into the pocket bacon scene.
Mavis Fitzgerald is a vegetarian whose favorite holiday is Bacon Appreciation Day.
JF Bruegger is often found skiing straight while dressed as a piece of bacon.
To get started, can you paint us a picture of your first exposure to pocket bacon?
Kevin Back: I'm sure other people stuffed bacon in their pockets well before I did, but one day at the breakfast buffet I just decided to grab some extra bacon, knowing it would be a delight later in the day while skiing.
Mavis Fitzgerald: It was at least five years ago on an early morning skin in BC. On the summit my friend pulled a foil-wrapped bundle o' bacon. Nice gesture, but no meat of the pig for this gal.
JF Brugger: I first learned to ski as a Snow Puppy at Aspen Highlands at the age of 3. My mom would stuff bacon in my pocket for a quick snack on the half-inch lift. Thanks, Mom!
What's the best method for cooking pocket bacon?
KB: I cook it in the oven. It's less cumbersome. It's less mess. It's less noisy. You can get it started early without waking up the housemates with the loud fry-noise. It tends to cook more evenly in the oven, too. I prefer it crispy. But not too crispy. If it is really, really quality bacon, medium rare is good, too.
MF: Veggie bacon is best done in the microwave.
JF: Mix n’ Match. Softer bacon wraps around other foods nicely while crispy bacon is great on its own!
Is there an ideal time and place to enjoy pocket bacon?
KB: That's like asking what is the ideal situation to enjoy a cold beer, dark chocolate, or a great kiss. These things can be enjoyed anywhere and everywhere--in the lift line, on the chairlift, on the bootpack, at the summit, in the parking lot, or in the woods. The only rule: Don't stop to take bacon out of your pocket below a blind roller.
MF: On the chairlift followed by the summit. The longer that shit spends in your pocket the less palatable.
JF: Lift line and chairlift for protein loading. Bootpack for energy boost, and then for a reward at the summit!
To share or not to share?
KB: Share. Bacon, like a good bottle of wine, should be shared. Plus, pigs are social.
MF: You're sharing the experience. Share the snacks.
JF: Bacon is more than just protein, salt, and fat. It’s a community!
Does treating someone to pocket bacon count as a date?
KB: No. Eating pork does not equate to a date.
MF: Depends on the presentation and invitation...head tilt, eye contact, phrasing...
JF: Absolutely! Not all dates end well, but this one will.
Have you ever accepted pocket bacon from a stranger?
KB: It is not possible to accept pocket bacon from a stranger. Any skier who has bacon in their pocket is not a stranger.
JF: Yes, but never from the KGB, I don’t trust communist pigs. Accepting bacon from a stranger might be the beginning of a lifelong love affair but if not, at least you got bacon.
What's the best way to wrap the bacon to keep the grease out of your pocket?
KB: Grease in the pocket is better than grease in the shorts. However, if you are borrowing a jacket from your religious friend who is not allowed to eat pork, be courteous and wrap it in aluminum foil and then put it in a Ziploc bag.
MF: Paper towel.
JF: If your outerwear doesn’t come with a designated washable bacon pocket, Ziploc is a trusted technique.
Pants pocket or jacket pocket? Inside pocket or outside?
KB: Yes. Yes.
MF: Outside pocket, for accessibility.
JF: Jacket pockets on slush bump days. On powder days, use an inside pocket where it's a little warmer.
How much bacon do need for a single ski day?
KB: It varies. How many other skiers will you be with? How long are you going to be out on the mountain? Is it a powder day? How hungover are you? Do you have any boot pain? When was the last time you rode a donkey, a llama, or a zebra? Does anyone in your ski posse plan on sending it? How many huts or shacks do you plan on visiting? Adjust accordingly.
JF: You should probably bring all of it, the whole pound or more. Unlike gold, bacon's value is in its consumption.
Thoughts on vegetarian bacon? I think it's made with pea protein or soy or something.
KB: Vegetarian bacon?????
MF: Now we're talking! A nice hit of veggie protein can really boost a ski day. Honestly, I’m all about the pocket gummy bears.
JF: I don’t like the idea of bacon that’s grown in a lab to satisfy the needs of people that have chosen to live a life without bacon. Or is the goal to eat lab grown food so you don’t have to eat real food? I’m confused…