February Charcutepalooza: Bacon

Bacon.  Bacon is the one food I honestly believe my husband couldn’t live without.  But that’s okay by me; his pork addiction allows me to stay in soap, so we all win and everyone is happy. 

Mr. Hippie is loving and supportive.  I believe he frequently thinks I am certifiable, but he supports my insane choices despite his misgivings.  He builds me things like cheese presses, chicken coops, chicken tractors and rabbit hutches that allow me to pursue my crazy whims.

When I told him I was signing up for another blog challenge he laughed.  When I told him it was a challenge to make sausages, bacon and various other meat-products, he was onboard.

Ready for the smoker.

We smoked the bacon last weekend.  By all accounts, the finished product was a disaster. 

Shortly before it became overcooked.

Why?  You be the judge:

  1. To begin with, I used to much curing salt.  The recipe made enough for 3-4 times the amount of pork belly I cured, but I didn’t cut it back.
  2. Because the weather was foul on the day we were supposed to smoke, we put it off.  For.  Three.  Days.  Too much salt soaking for way too long?
  3. I forgot to rinse the salt off the belly before we smoked it.  Had a nice salty crust on the outside when we were done.
  4. We overcooked the bacon. 

    Salt Pork

I’m not sure which factor caused the most damage, but the bacon, as bacon, is essentially inedible.  However, as a salt pork, it makes an excellent seasoning.  In fact, Mom, if you’re reading this, I’d recommend salt pork for the spice rack challenge.

Chicken gravy seasoned with smoked salt-pork.

I still have much of the salt pork in the freezer, but I used it to season the chicken gravy I served over Westmaas Farms mashed potatoes for dinner one night. 

Gnocchi in bacon cream sauce.

Another night I made a delicious garlic, sage cream sauce with salt-pork and black pepper to toss gnocchi in.

So, we’ve already purchased another 2 lb. pork belly to give bacon another go but for now we’ll have to enjoy our salt-pork as a condiment and not as a side-dish.

10 Comments

Filed under Charcutepalooza, food

10 responses to “February Charcutepalooza: Bacon

  1. Some wise sage once said that “practice makes perfect”. I think you are very brave and adventuresome to try making your own bacon. Having said that, I am up for this challenge but first we have to get to our property (6 more weeks) and then build the house and the clothesline, and then the chicken coop and tractor, and then the gardens and orchards, and then the Lovable Loo, and then . . . I think you get the picture. I also want to build an outdoor wood fired earth oven.
    So many projects, so little time. Somewhere along there we will probably build a smoker. LOL!!! :D

    • aastricker

      Thanks, Lindy. The weather this week was beautiful; unseasonably warm and sunny, but six weeks from now we should actually be starting into spring and everything will be beautiful. I think just with moving you’ve got plenty to do without worrying about bacon. Who says 2012 can’t be The Year of Meat, too?
      I’d love to do a wood-fired oven. Think I could do a combo smoker-oven? Hubby would probably build me an outdoor oven if he thought he could smoke pork products in it. . .

  2. Ha! I second the Spice Rack- Salt Pork edition! Ours was way too salty but I’m finding it rockin’ as a seasoning!
    And, I’m glad you reminded me of the spice rack challenge- I’ve been so preoccupied I actually can’t remember if I posted something yet or not!

  3. At least it can be salvaged for something. I had some trouble with the Charcuterie recipe for corned beef that sounds similar. Used a local grass fed brisket, brined it a day too long and then accidentally over cooked it. It was only tolerable after a second boiling and then only in hash.

    Congratulations on the article!

    • aastricker

      Thanks! I oversalted the corned-beef last time I made it too, but not so much that it could only be used as hash. :( Tis the season for corned beef, maybe it warrants a do-over.

  4. Wah! The makin’ bacon project was kind of scary in that there were definite junctures at which things could go wrong. Kudos for salvaging your finished product. Live and learn…

  5. I am finally reading this….have you Charcuterie by Brian Polczyn and Mark Ruhlman? We make bacon as they say to do so and it works. Give it a shot.

    • aastricker

      I followed their recipe. Loosely. I made a whole batch of cure and forgot to reduce it when I salted the meat. I’m trying again now.

  6. Pingback: Charcutepalooza! Project: Homemade Bacon « The Cooking Channel

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