SIOUX CITY | Deb Carson is bonkers when it comes to bacon.

"Bacon is something I've loved my entire life," she explained. "And it's something I'll never get tired of eating."

This is one of the reasons that Carson and her fellow Siouxland Optimist Club members will become food vendors during Habitat for Humanity's fourth annual BaconFest, taking place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's Battery Park.

"We'll be making bacon corn fritters," she said. "You can never go wrong when you have bacon, corn batter and everything is deep-fried to perfection."

"It's the ultimate comfort food," Carson added. 

Nick Goodwin, chef de cuisine for Hard Rock's Main + Abbey, agrees.

"There's something about the saltiness of bacon that lends itself to so many other types of foods," he said. "When you're looking for an extra burst of flavor, bacon is often your go-to meat."

That includes adding a slice or two of the breakfast meat to a burger or a sandwich. But what about the really off-the-wall dishes where people use bacon?

"I've seen people use bacon in cocktails as well as in baked goods," Goodwin said. "It may sound crazy but it's also so delicious."

One of Main + Abbey's most popular entrees is its bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin -- it's served with a parsnip puree, roasted sweet potatoes and a tart cherry compote. Bacon fries are among the restaurant's newest appetizers.

"We make our bacon fries with double beer-battered, house cut bacon that is doused with a delicious sweet and spicy sauce," informed Goodwin.

Wait, Main + Abbey's bacon fries aren't made with potatoes?

"Nope," Goodwin said with a smile. "We just make them with lots of bacon."

Chances are great Carson would give the chef a standing ovation for his unexpected use of meat candy.

"I'm always on the lookout for creative uses for bacon," Carson said.

Certainly, she will be surrounded by kindred spirits at BaconFest.

"I get a kick out of seeing what other vendors will be making," Carson said. "People do some fun stuff when it comes to bacon."

She's also happy to bring attention to Siouxland Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have decent, safe and affordable place to live.

"The Optimist Club is all about working with kids and families in a community," Carson said. "This is why we're so happy to be a part of Habitat's BaconFest."


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