In 1988, Bill Stitt was a sophomore at Ole Miss. “I was instructed to do a speech about branding and I chose to share my ideas about Bill E’s products.” However, the idea of this brand was in his mind but not a tangible product. That is not yet. Bill wanted to create his own brand, of bacon for as long as he could remember. It took a while, but in 2011 he opened a casual restaurant and music venue in Fairhope, AL called Old 27 Grill along with launching his dream brand, Bill E’s Small Batch Bacon.[dropcap letter=”L”]ike most things worth doing, it didn’t happen overnight. Developing the recipe that was just right took over three years. Along with the recipe, he had to determine exactly what breed of pig to use, the perfect curing method and just how long to smoke the meat. The process is traditional and simple going back to the ways our ancestors cured meat. And as a bonus, the curing takes place behind the stage at Old 27 Grill giving a little music to its flavor.
The true taste of a good bacon starts with the pigs. Stitt uses Berkshire Red and Chantilly White pigs raised on small family farms in the Midwest, a place he believes the best pork comes from. Both types of pigs are bred to be extra meaty and flavorful, important in a good piece of bacon.
Stitt laughs, “I live near the beach and I am not a hog farmer nor am I trying to be.
Hand-curing the meat for eight days is the key. Stitt uses dark, brown sugar made with real molasses and pink sea salt to ensure maximum flavor. “You got a problem with that?” he jokes. You’ll find Bill E’s bacon to be both sweet and savory. The meat is turned every other day before it is cold-smoked in hickory chips. Turning the meat during the curing produces exceptionally tender pork.
Foodies who are looking for incredibly flavorful, grillable bacon that can stand next to a high-end piece of beef and not whimper are going to love this bacon. Stitt’s bacon is also the perfect choice for the chef or restaurant owner who strives to create menus that have hand crafted or small batch quality ingredients in the mix. Stitt explains, “I am taking my time to ensure I never lose the quality, flavor and presentation that so many chefs are enjoying today.”
In his free time, Stitt would like to be able to find a way to help promote songwriters who are trying to make a mark with their craft. “I love it when people request my bacon and especially when they ask, ‘Who serenaded this batch?’”
One day Stitt hopes to expand his line of bacon continuing to use the process he has worked on over the years but until then you can purchase Bill E’s Small Batch Bacon online and at local markets in the Mobile to Pensacola areas.