Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Making Bacon II

You may recall that a couple of months ago I made bacon. It was a huge success and made me much beloved of my husband. Until we ran out. So for the sake of my marriage I had to make a second batch.

The cure I used before was fantastic, so I made no changes to that (except I pounded the spices in the mortar and pestle because my darling mini-processor went to appliance heaven during my pinenut macaroon experiment).

What I did differently was smoke it. Paul was given a smoker for Christmas about 7 years ago and has never taken it out of the packaging, so I decided that the time had come.

Turns out that it is a pretty nifty piece of equipment. And it occurs to me that I could use it to make the mother of all fondues...

A pair of spirit burners sit in a rack, with a tray sat over it. Smoking dust (fine wood chips - in this case oak) go into an indentation in the tray, a drip tray covers the dust to avoid flares and then a rack goes over that, the cured, rinsed meat goes on the rack, a lid clips over all and in 2 hours (as my crazy aunt used to say) Bob is your aunty's live-in lover.

This is hot-smoking, so you are heating the meat at the same time. Cold-smoking (like for smoked salmon) is a trickier proposition involving all manner of piping and whatnot. But because the pork-belly is a big, thick piece of meat it certainly wasn't heated to the point of being cooked (if we'd been doing fish fillets they would have been well cooked).

The downside to this method is that it didn't "set" the protein as well as the slow bake in the original recipe did. So it was a real bastard to get the rind off and debone it. And I ended up with very thick, ragged slices instead of tidy little rashers like my previous effort.

Next time I will certainly smoke it again - the flavour penetrated beautifully - but I will debone and remove the rind before it goes into the cure, and probably smoke it for longer.

Stay tuned for the next episode "How I used the bacon"...

17 comments:

Rachel said...

I admire your pioneer spirit in curing your own bacon in your urban charcuterie. And I await future installments.

Darius T. Williams said...

Interesting...wow. I'd never try to make bacon - especially when it's on sale 2 for $3...but big ups to you for this - really!

I can't wait to see what you're going to do w/the bacon. I have a gazillion ideas!

-DTW
www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

MrOrph said...

Homemade bacon is absolutely the best isn't it?

Foodycat said...

Rachel - there will be more!

Darius - I know it is cheaper to buy, but the flavour!

MrOrph - sure is.

kat said...

We so want to do this too. We love bacon & can only imagine homemade will be that much better

Sam said...

I have a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe for homemade bacon that I've been meaning to try.

It looks like you've done a great job here, and smoked too, yum!

croquecamille said...

Fabulous! I'd love to try my hand at homemade bacon one day.

Esi said...

Now, I really want to try makin' my own bacon! This is fab!

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

When you said you smoked the bacon, at first I imagined you rolling up a slice, lighting the end, and inhaling. I'm pleased that this was not the case! Looks and sounds delicious - and worth the effort too :)

Foodycat said...

Kat - for bacon lovers it really is a must!

Sam - is that the one in the Meat book?

Croquecamille - as long as you have the space in your fridge you can do it.

Esi - I can recommend it - the Saveur instructions that Elle posted are so straightforward!

Laura - I wouldn't try that. I couldn't cut it thin enough!

Natashya said...

You are amazing, lady!
Making bacon, smoking your own meat, so industrious.
I hope you get a new mini chopper for Christmas. :)

Debinhawaii said...

Some day I swear I am gonna try this! You are amazing!

Lulu Barbarian said...

Great info! I've been reading about charcuterie and thinking about trying to make bacon or sausage. Reading about your experience is really helpful!

Foodycat said...

Natashya - Amazon delivered my new mini chopper (early Christmas present) last week. I haven't decided what the first thing I do will be!

Deb - it's easier to do in a cold climate like this!

Lulu - we've made sausages too, but fresh ones, we've never smoked or cured them.

Cooking and the City said...

Wow you made your own bacon, thats impressive! I love bacon so am really hungry for some now ;-)

Foodycat said...

CitC - you won't believe how easy it is until you try iit!

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