Mr. Spanky's Bacon Station - Chicago | Food Trends

A meaty gem in Bridgeport

"No one cures bacon like this north of the Mason-Dixon line," says John Schultz of Mr. Spanky's.

His bacon ($10 for 14 ounces), made from heritage-breed hog bellies from La Pryor Farms in Ottawa, Illinois, takes three months to prepare: 11 weeks of dry-curing is followed by a week in the smoker. The result is thick-sliced, hyper-flavorful and superbly chewy.

It's one of a half-dozen meats offered at the miniscule new Bridgeport storefront. Schultz makes sausages in-house ($7 per pound), smokes and pulls pork ($7 per pound), and turns other carnivorous whims into sandwiches.

On our visit, a gyro-inspired patty was the day's special. The meatloaf-like filling was made from marjoram-scented beef and lamb from Bridgeport's Chiapetti Meat, topped with tzatziki and roasted-red-pepper jam, sandwiched by an airy Red Hen Bread challah bun ($5).

Sandwiches are wrapped to go, but can also be eaten on one of the shop's four stools with a Bridgeport-made Maria's Ginger Beer or Filbert's soda in hand. Filbert's is in the kitchen, too: Schultz's baked beans ($5) are sweetened with ketchup and a root beer reduction.

We left with a jar of chile-garlic sauerkraut ($5) in hand, and a resolve to return for more bacon once prime BLT season gets underway.