The Great Big Bacon Picnic: Bacon Festival Done Right

The First Annual Great Big Bacon Picnic was freaking amazing. That's the short version of our coverage. I'm not going to lie, I scoffed at that high ticket costs. I didn't think that the price was worth it. I was a little nervous. I recently attended another bacon-centered event and was traumatized. It was over-crowded. VIPs didn't feel like VIPs because there was another ticket option called "General Early Admission". The lines were insanely long and once you finally reached the finish line, all you got were small servings, and you were tempted to take four servings just to make up for the time spent on line. I was so glad that The Great Big Bacon Picnic succeeded where the other bacon themed event had failed.

Whoever controls The Great Big Bacon's Facebook account had a tough job. They would attempt to placate the fears of potential attendees. The claim was that the event wouldn't be over sold which would result in more breathing room and shorter lines. An argument regarding the average cost of a dinner for two with drinks and dessert was also used to explain the benefits of a ticket. I am happy to say that both statements were true.

I was lucky to have VIP admission which allowed one hour early entry for the Saturday Brunch session. This also meant the event started at 11am rather than 12pm. Most of the vendors were already set up and serving by 11am, others trailed slightly behind but still ready long before the 12pm opening. In addition to early entry, VIP access offered attendees a snazzy tote bag, a merchandize coupon good for one T-Shirt from the Merch station, an indoor and outdoor bar lounge with cushioned couches rather than the still decent picnic tables where the large variety of liquors available could be prepped into cocktails.

The Old Pfizer Factory proved to be a fantastic venue choice. The large yard area and spacious indoor section offered attendees the ability to move freely and gracefully. Food vendors were close together which made my initial tasting walk all the more easier. One downside to this venue is the restrooms. It seemed that despite its size, there were only 2 bathrooms; one for Men and one for Women. Both offered multiple stalls but that only meant 3 stalls. When you consider the size of the venue and the types of food and drink being served; it is a slight oversight.

Now for the food. The food was great. That shouldn't really be anyone's major concern. These are seasoned chefs and cooks making dishes with a highly versatile ingredient. They were some hits and misses but there wasn't anything that was so bad that it ruined my day or made me regret even trying it. You'll see in the photo slideshow what the food looked like and how big the servings were but I'll make this quick. they were pretty big servings. I don't mean that they gave full sized sandwiches and burgers but they gave about 1/4-1/2 sized servings and the short lines made getting seconds, thirds or even fourths a breeze. These vendors should be applauded. They were quick to put out their product and came fully stocked rather than closing up shop early. Most beverage vendors had a prepared cocktail available as well as straight shots. I felt nearly full within the first hour. Even after 12pm the lines remained relatively short and the food was still readily available.

This was most definitely the NYC bacon event of the year for me. I enjoyed my time there mostly because I didn't feel rushed.At some events you feel this urge to try everything and all you do is just move from line to line. At the Great Big Bacon Picnic, you do get to try everything but then you still have time to relax and to savor the experience. I am extremely excited about next year's event. If they can keep the number of attendees low and the vendors high; it should be another success.

During all three sessions, attendees were encouraged to utilize The Great Big Bacon Picnic app which was available for iOS and Android phones. With this app they were able to judge for the "People's Choice" category. Main judging was conducted by the following: Joe Carroll of St. Anselm, Fette Sau, Spuyten Duyvil, Semilla, and Gotham Artisinal Provisions, Dave Freedenberg, “Famous Fat Dave”, Joel Tietolman of Mile End Delicatessen and Black Seed Bagels, Ash Fulk of Hill Country BBQ, Tyler Kord of No. 7, No. 7 Sub, & No. 7 North, Jason Marcus of Traif and Xixa, Fred Maurer of Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, Michael Bohlsen of Prime and Tellers, Rob Shamlian of Spitzer’s, Los Feliz, and Spritzenhaus 33, Liz O. Milner of Elizabeth’s Neighborhood Table, Andrew Rigie, New York City Hospitality Alliance, Adam Poch – International Bacon Ambassador, Connoisseur, and Minister, Ted Rosen of Dickson’s Farmstand Meats



Total Prize Money Pool was $9,000!

Session 1

Judge’s Awards

Deliciousness: Streets with their Tuna-Bacon-Truffle Roll With a Roasted Jalapeño- Avocado Creme Fraiche and a Kimchi Aioli

Creativity:  BBD’s for their Vietnamese Bacon Sliders

Presentation:  BBD’s for their Vietnamese Bacon Sliders

People’s Choice:  Bareburger - Beer Braised Bacon

Session 2

Judge’s Awards

Deliciousness:  Strong Place with their Tuna Bacon Truffle Sushi Roll

Creativity:  URBO with Smoked Bacon Stuffed Oreos

Presentation:  Tellers with Black Pepper Bacon

People’s Choice:  BBD’s - Vietnamese Bacon Sliders”

Session 3

Judge’s Awards

Deliciousness:  Streets with their Tuna Bacon Truffle Sushi Roll

Creativity:  Streets with their Tuna Bacon Truffle Sushi Roll

Presentation:  Elizabeth’s Neighborhood Table with Panko/Bacon Encrusted Lobster Bacon Spring Rolls & Tomato Bacon Chutney

People’s Choice:  Snowdonia - Maple Bacon Welsh Rarebit - melted cheeses, artisan bread, sprinkled with candied bacon

Boss Hog:  Bareburger received the highest percentage of Licks (votes) per attendee of any session