Eric Godfrey has a long and varied resume that starts in the world of stand-up comedy and ends with his gourmet bacon business, Bacon King USA.
“I did stand-up comedies in college,” Godfrey said. “I live in Charlotte, North Carolina, which is why I started doing stand-up comedy. I went to college and worked weekends all over the southeast. Be back on time for class on Monday. Go to the Bahamas for spring break, work in a comedy club there – have a lot of fun, live the dream.”
Immediately after graduating from college, around 1991, Godfrey had a unique opportunity.
“At that time, Carrot Top came on the scene and held what they call the NACA conference,” Godfrey said. “He hosted the NACA conference and 86 schools wanted him to speak for one semester, which was a record.”
Godfrey said Carrot Top’s manager contacted him and asked if he would like to tour with the comedian.
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“His manager at the time — I worked at his comedy clubs — said, ‘Hey, listen, why don’t Eric go on tour with you? He can help you get behind the wheel of the truck, and he can help you carry your suitcases to the venue, help you set them up. He can come in front of you and work for 15-20 minutes,” Godfrey said.
The couple ended up spending years on the road together, with Godfrey eventually becoming Carrot Top’s tour manager. However, he eventually decided to settle in St. Cloud, where he took up education. Godfrey is now dean of St. Cloud High School.
Despite his successful second act in education, Godfrey decided to go into business after a sudden inspiration hit him.
“I came up with this idea back in November,” he said. “Just recently I was just about to go to sleep, (and) for some reason I just jumped up and said, ‘Bacon.'”
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Godfrey experimented with pork because a friend gave him a recipe for burnt pork belly ends.
“I went online and started learning how to make bacon because I already had pork belly. I’ve already made enough charred pork belly ends, I want to try something different,” he said. “So I found a bacon recipe and made my first batch of bacon and it turned out great. Good enough for me to say, “Wow, wow,” and I gave it to all the guys at school and everyone else. I’m like, “That’s really cool.” Then I realized, based on the ingredients, that there are so many types of bacon.”
Godfrey began making his own bacon, selling it online and through Central Florida farmers’ markets. The simplicity of the process gave him a second idea for his business.
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“My wife signed up for one of those fairs where ladies get together and drink wine and paint,” he said. “Then I’m like, ‘Wait, they can do it. Why don’t the guys get together, drink beer and cook lard? So I have what I call the Bacon King experience.”
Godfrey gains experience at his friend’s BBQ restaurant, Jimmy Bear’s BBQ. The couple also co-own Porky’s Comedy Club, which also operates on the restaurant’s property.
“I go through the whole story of how the treatment started and everything, and then we give them a real five-pound piece of pork belly, we take measurements and create a cure, and then I let them just come in and do whatever they want,” Godfrey said. .
In the latest edition of Florida Foodie, Godfrey talks more about his custom-made bacon. He also shares his plans for the Bacon King Experience franchise and his dream of a Tiger King-inspired photo shoot.
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