Friday, February 19, 2010

the great bacon caper

This is a repost of my homecuring bacon post - combined here in one post plus an appetizer recipe using your new homemade bacon.

I received my 13lb pork belly on pick up night at the Coop. Wow, can a pork belly be pretty? Never having seen one whole and in the raw, it looked perfect. I researched my process, and was instructed to square up my belly, but truthfully, it was mostly trimmed and the ends squared off, so I only had a little to trim, more about how to use those later. I cut the belly in 3 pieces, stacked them on a sheet pan and applied the dry cure on another sheet pan. Next time I will apply the cure in a pan the fits inside my sink as I found I am quite messy. The cure wound up all over.

 The cure mixture I used:

1 tbsp Mortons Tenderquick per pound.
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
2 tbsp black pepper

After rubbing and patting the cure mixture in over all surfaces of each piece of belly, I put each one in its own 2 gallon ziplock, squeezed out the air, and laid them flat, label side up in the fridge. Why label side up? So I could remember if I forgot to turn it. Turn each day and I will do this for seven days, then prepare the belly pieces for cold smoking, which I will attempt on my gas grill.

After curing for seven days, pour off the liquid, rinse off the excess salt, and soak for one hour to decrease saltiness. Let sit uncovered in the fridge over night to dry and create a tacky surface for the smoke to cling to. Now you are ready to smoke

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

Today was the day I tried smoking on a gas grill. Make sure your gas bottle is full or you will have to either fill it or switch to charcoal, like I did. So I filled a foil packet with hickory chips and set it on the lit burner of one side of my grill and all was well until the gas ran out. Switching to charcoal entailed lots of babysitting, making sure the chips don't catch on fire and, making sure that when the chips catch on fire they don't roast your bacon, as mine did. So my smoking time was cut short. I did salvage my bacon, was able to cut off the rind, and fried up a few slices. I will be blunt, I did not hold much hope for this bacon, but, in spite of the smoker fubar, it was good, surprisingly good! It was a bit salty, so I will soak the last piece to remove some of the saltiness before I try AGAIN to smoke it. The first thing I notice is the fresh taste, meaty and tender. It tasted like the best bacon tastes, the fat a bit crispy, the meaty part juicy and tender. The salvaged bacon is cooling in the fridge to firm up before I slice it in meal portions to freeze. This test taste batch was sliced thick, when I use my slicer and cut the rest of it thin, I may have a product that I can cook and serve without reservations.

Bacon w Wrapped Apricot appetizers

One way to serve your delicious home cured bacon is in this easy and quick appetizer

Bacon Wrapped Apricots
1 bag dried Mediterranean apricots, or whatever is available
12 slices bacon, cut in half
Small jar plum jam 1/3 c soy sauce (more or less to taste)

Wrap each slice dried apricot in bacon, secure with toothpick. Bake at 350 until bacon is cooked. Let cool slightly before serving with dippin sauce.
Heat jam and soysauce together until jam is melted, mix well and serve with apricots as dipping sauce.
Can serve apricots warm or at room temperature.

1 comment:

 Cha said...

I am amazed! I love bacon, so had to click on your "bacon" label. What do I find but that you made your own! Awesome!