6.23.2011

Making Bacon


This post will be covering the fine art of curing and smoking bacon, or at least my experience with it. I am NOT a professional by any means but I did it and you can too. Is it easy? Well er, yes and no. Yes, in that it's all pretty methodical and no, in that it's all pretty of methodical, you have to babysit it and take care of it while it's smoking. Once you taste it, you won't care if you have to sit through a blizzard to make it, it's JUST that good.

You will need a pork belly, I got mine from a local butcher shop where they actually butcher animals. I say that specifically because many grocery outlets get meat prepackaged in boxes and will not have pork belly. I had a whole pork belly, you can buy it by the pound I believe, buy what you can smoke easily.

In a large non reactive pot you will need to mix 1 gallon of water, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 cup salt, 1/4 cup molasses, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 TBSP crushed peppercorns. This is very basic cure, make substitutions if you like, this was fantastic. Wash the pork belly, cut it into manageable pieces and submerge in the cure. Cover it well, I used saran wrap under the lid of the pan, and set to chill in the fridge for 3 days. Check on the pork daily, push it down under the cure or turn the pieces and press under if needed.

On the morning of the 3rd day, remove the pork belly, wash, pat dry and set on cooling rack to form a pellicle. The pellicle is the tacky feeling on the pork after it has dried out for about an hour. The stickiness helps the smoke adhere and keeps the moisture in.


While the meat is drying get the smoker going. Get the smoker going. Get the smoker going. When your girl scout ninja-fu fire lighting skills fail, and you feel like the chickens are heckling you (they are)


and you still can't get the fire going it's time to bring out the big guns. No, I'm NOT talking a cup of gasoline into the stove I'm talking this big gun:

Yes the air compressor is an awesome way to start a fire up in the pot belly stove two feet under ground. Once the smoker is going, you are ready to smoke some bacon. If you are using an electric smoker just look at all the fun you will be missing out on! Seriously though plug it in and get ready to smoke.
Every half an hour I checked the temperature on the side of the smoker, I was looking for a reading between 100˚-150˚ F. If it dipped too low I knew I needed to add more wood to the pot belly stove. Bending into the stove stirring, adding willow and apple wood (from our own property!) I began to feel like I was pickled too.

The bacon smoked for about 6 hours in the big smoker. Immediately after I took it from the smoker I sliced the skin from one slab, sliced big fat slices of bacon and fried them up. I took a few shots of the finished bacon, trimmed the skin from the other slabs and fried more bacon. When my husband came home, I popped a piece of bacon in his mouth and his eyes flew open. He said "European bacon!" apparently he's been longing for thicker than thick bacon that he had in England at some point. Right there I knew every trip to the smoker was worth it, every FAIL at making fire was worth it and every smoke soaked pore on my body was worth it. Bacon.



Peace and Love--


3 comments:

  1. If Charlie came home from work and I popped a piece of sultry, smoky, salty&sweet homemade bacon into his mouth upon entry, I could probably write off any chance of productivity for the rest of the day :P

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  2. I used saran wrap under the lid of the pan, and set to chill in the fridge for 3 days. Check on the pork daily, push it down under the cure or turn the pieces and press under if needed. http://www.electricsmokr.com/

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