Flipping through my meat bible, Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn, I came across a recipe that I had not seen before. It caught my eye because it had the word HAM in it. So I stopped flipping and read. What I discovered is going to be my first long term project. SALTED AIR-DRIED HAM. I know that my bacon takes 7 days to cure…but this recipe says 4-5 months (or even up to a year.)
As soon as I read that I knew that had to be my next project. I want to get into making sausages that take months or years to make, but I am a little scared. So this recipe is so simple I figure that it will be a good place to start. From the description the ham will be like prosciutto di Parma. I can not wait.
I will need:
4 pounds salt
12-15 pounds fresh ham
1/2 cup lard
WISH ME LUCK
So Makin Bacon was a success. Clean and simple. 8 days of love and I still have a ton of left overs. Sunday was my Mother In Law’s birthday and she wanted a brunch. Nikki was tasked with making homemade chocolate croissants. They came out great. And I volunteered to have my bacon ready.
So Sunday came and it was the day to start. My first project; a project of love. Really, I started this 8 days before I smoke the meat. I defrosted it and rubbed it with salt so it could cure and dry in my fridge. I am not as patient as I would like to be, so waiting 8 days was hard. But I was able to do it.
I set my alarm for 6:30 and got up at 7:00am. Went outside to get my upright smoker going. I got a bunch of coals nice and hot and I put it in the smoker. I left it to go get the pork ready. Come back outside about 20 min later and the smoker is still stupid cold. I was like WTF. I added some more coals and waited…and waited…and waited. It was not getting hot at all. So I had to think up a plan B.
Plan B: USE MY BBQ. I have an awesome BBQ. The left side is for propane while the right is for charcoal. I took off half the grate on the right side and put my coals there. As you can see in the picture above I was able to get both slabs of bacon on the single grate. I did not go all out in the marinade and the rosemary. For my marinade (it goes in the bowl under the meat to help steam it) I used a bottle of Guinness beer and maple syrup. For my wood smoke I used both cherry chunks and chips. I like using both as the chucks go longer, but the chips get me a pretty immediate smoke. AND I LIKE SMOKE.
So 2+ hours on the grill and the meat hits the ideal internal temp, 150. I brought the two slabs off and allowed them to rest. Now mind you, the meat was not ready to eat. Yes, technically one could eat it because the temp was at the safe level but slicing off a piece and placing it in my cast iron was the best way to finish it off. It got a little char on it and when I put it in my mouth I got a FOODGASM. Yes, I had never tasted any better piece of bacon ever. It was just so rich and satisfying. Plus I knew what was in it and actually it was probably better for someone as there was less chemicals in it. I have 3ooz of bacon left ready to fry up and a whole other slab in the freezer.
Now I paid $28.00 for the two pork bellies. I got basically 6 pounds of bacon. That is about $4.66 per pound. At Trader Joes I think it is around $5.50 for 12oz of bacon and it is a whole lot more at the other stores. Not only did I save money. I had a lot of fun, made something with skill and artistry, and made people smile when they tasted it.
Here you will see 1 complete slab and half another cut into slices.
Categories: Mission: Bacon
Tags: bacon, Birthday, FOODGASM, Fun, Good, OMG, pig, Sex, smoke, Smoker, yum
Right out of the brine and into the fridge to dry. Tomorrow morning I will cook some of the best tasting bacon that was ever made. Who does not love bacon…really I dare you to come forward and say you don’t like bacon. If you do come forward, I won’t believe you.
Tomorrow is my Mother In Law’s (MIL’s) birthday and you know what she gets with her brunch..my bacon. (Hey at least I did not say “my sausage.”)
So today Nikki and I took the bacon out of its bags and rinsed the slabs and dried them. The next step is to leave them out in the fridge for 12-24 hours to dry. I can not wait the 24 hours, but it will be close enough. Tomorrow morning I am going to get up around 7:00am and start a nice little fire in my smoker. Using cherry chunks and natural charcoal as the fire source and a maple and coke marinade I am going to smoke the bacon for about 3 hours. I like using coke in my marinade because it seems to boil off a little slower and I like the hint of cola that it imparts in the smoke. I think that this mixed with maple syrup will produce a wonderful moist smoke to stick to the bacon.
I have a little trick I am going to try. Right before I take off the bacon to bring it in and fry it up, I am going to put well soaked rosemary on the coals. This should produce a very thick smoke that will help infuse the meat with the oils from the fresh rosemary.
Now I know that you all will want to come over and taste. This would be great, but I only have so much.