Posts Tagged With: Smoker

What a weekend

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.

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Mission: Bacon (Day 1 & 2)

I started my mission yesterday.  Countdown to homemade, home smoked bacon has begun.  I posted the recipe here on this blog under the title recipe, but I am going to give you the condensed account of what has happened so far.

I stated out with 8 pounds of pork belly.  I have never worked with pork belly before and it is a little odd working with fat, meat, and skin of an animal that really looks like the fat, meat, and skin of an animal as if it was alive.  It did not bug me as much as I thought it might.  I am thinking maybe this is the hobby for me.  I was also thinking maybe I could go hunting one day.  This is not that bad.

So I took my two slabs of meat and put them on a plastic wrapped counter a la Dexter Morgan. (Some of you might get that reference)  I let them sit t here while I mixed up the salt, the Pink Salt, brown sugar, and maple syrup.

Before go on I want to explain to you that Nikki and I were worried about using Pink Salt.  Pink Salt is poisonous and has to be used with extreme caution.  At the same time it has to be used when one is curing meat to prevent botulism and other yucky things.   ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curing_salt ) But still, Nikki and I were worried and being very careful to get the exact amount.  Plus understand this, when I am ready to cook it will be washed off and there is only a little bit being used.

Now back to the action.

So I have my rub all mixed up and I have the two good-looking slabs just waiting to be rubbed and bagged.  So that is what I did.  I rubbed my meat really well with my mixture.  (No joking sis.) I had to make sure I got enough mixture to cover all of the meat.  Next I bagged the slabs in some of the biggest Ziplock bags I have ever seen.

Almost immediately that salt started pulling out the moister of the meat to make its own brine.  I have to flip meat every two days for a total of 7 days.  This way the bring is sure to be in contact with every part of the meat.  After that I will wash off the salts, pat dry, and allow to dry in the fridge for 24 hours before I hot smoke it with some cherry wood and rosemary.  Then there will be BACON.  Stay tuned for day three when I show you what the brine and the bacon looks like as I flip it.

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Is that a nipple on my pork belly?

I don’t have long to post right this moment, but I wanted to show you a picture of one of the pork bellies that I am going to turn to bacon.  I think it might have been a girl pig because of the nipple.

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Smoke Project #2 – Pork Loin

I woke up this morning with a plan in my head.  Today I was going to use my smoker and try a pork loin.  I was so excited.  Here is a list of the equipment I was going to use:

  1. My $25.00 Brinkman Smoker (Last Years Model)
  2. Cherry Smoke Chips and Chunks
  3. Natural Charcoal Chunks
  4. And My New Christmas Toy–Flavor Injector.

My toy looks like a syringe from hell, and it works as such.  I was able to inject the marinade directly into the meat. It bubbled up and oozed out.  I can not wait to taste. 

 

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