When my dear friend, the Muslim, recently returned from Turkey the first words out of her mouth were: “I need a stiff drink and a BLT.”
Who can blame her?
After all, after three months of no pork even a Turk might be in need of a few strips of artisan bacon and a glass or two of bourbon.
The Turkish dichotomy of topless beaches, five calls to prayer daily over Motorhead-worthy loudspeakers, a nightlife that features ritualized drinking of Raki (the anise-based liquor) and abstinence from all things pork has been studied at length.
So how do they get by without bacon? The Turkish solution is sucuk (soojook)
Sucuk is a delicious sausage that is common in Turkey, The Balkans and the Middle East. As Muslims are forbidden from eating pork, it’s typically made from beef or lamb with horse filling in as the meat of choice in Kazakhstan and Kyrghyzstan.
While grocery shopping at Sarah’s Mediterranean Market in Austin, Texas recently, I stumbled upon a log of this meat product and immediately snapped it up (I’d read about it but never had the opportunity to try it).
Seven hours later-I pulled it off my Weber smoker and sat down to study it-a few seconds later I was done studying and commenced to eating.
The Muslims don’t need bacon cause they have meat that tastes just like it: sucuk. It’s an intensely salty, smoky flavor-bomb that would do any bacon lover proud.
Over the next week, I eat it every which way: Diced up and fried with scrambled eggs; diced up and simmered with pinto beans; sliced up, smothered with grilled onions, and served on corn tortillas; by itself, gnawed off the log with grapes, and Appalachian cheese.
Then one day the sucuk was gone.
You can order sucuk online with a quick search.