When you slather a delicious flavor coating on top of already-irresistible, perfectly cooked bacon, you just win. Right? Well, maybe it wasn't that simple for the Cal Poly Meats Team, who obviously worked their butts off to ensure that their own thoughtfully crafted pork would wow the recent Association of Meat Processors' annual Cured Meats Competition, held last month at UC Davis.
These hardworking students—who went up against 25 other entries, including UC Davis, Chico State, and Fresno State—came home proud. Not only did they win, but they broke UC Davis' five-year winning streak for the coveted Norm Eggen Championship Cup (named for former '70s/'80s era Cal Poly meats lecturer Norm Eggen). In past competitions, the collegiate class featured a variety of sausage products (good, but not flavored bacon good).
This year, the team developed, processed, and produced a flavor-coated hickory-smoked bacon from concept to completion—and boy, did it please the judges' jowls. Coached by Jim Douglass, manager of Cal Poly's J and G Lau Family Meat Processing Center, the Cal Poly Meats Team is comprised of eight students, all of whom are California residents: animal science senior Veronica Staggs of Columbia (who also earned the Grand Champion Award for her maple bourbon pecan bacon); animal science junior Connor Smith of Crescent City; graduate student Lane Koontz of Tulare; animal science junior Kira Olson of Oak Run; animal science senior Catie Field of San Luis Obispo; bioresource and agricultural engineering major Toni DeMatteo of Upland; agricultural business senior Beaujena DeSilva of San Luis Obispo; and graduate student Morgan Metheny of Atascadero. If you're still thinking about that award winning maple bourbon pecan bacon, I don't blame you.
Want to learn more about the Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, which includes labs, ranchland, vineyards, and forest? Go to cafes.calpoly.edu. Δ
Hayley Thomas Cain thinks bacon needs no extra flavor, but that doesn't mean she won't eat all the pork flavors in the rainbow. Send bites to firstname.lastname@example.org.