Wednesday, June 8, 2011
BACON, BACON, BACON
Sizzle, sizzle, pop, crackle, fizz, sizzle, can you smell that? Boy, oh boy does it smell good in here. The black iron skillet is frying up some home cured and smoked bacon. This sowbelly was created for my good friend, ‘The Great White Hunter’. He requested that I use a nitrate free recipe to satisfy his restricted diet. A pork belly was soaked in a brine of salt, sugar, molasses water, and apple cider for three days. The next step was to dry and form a pellicle on this cured belly to prepare it for smoke.
A pellicle is when you prepare the surface of your protein to allow a better acceptance and penetration of smoke. This is achieved by completely drying the surface of the meat. Placing your meat in the refrigerator uncovered overnight will accomplish this. If you are pressed for time a fan will speed up the process. Once the pork was ready it was time to fire up the smoker. The meat was smoked for several hours with hickory wood. My special French talking thermometer spoke something to me which I assumed meant the slab had reached 150 degrees. (I must learn to speak French.) The bacon was rested and cooled completely. It is time to take our bacon on a test taste run.
This bacon smells like a beautiful hickory smoked ham. If this smell was a perfume, I would buy it. The maiden tasting voyage will take place in our trusty, reliable cast iron skillet. This is the perfect bacon cooking utensil. The first thing I noticed was the bacon started to brown a little to fast. I needed to turn down the fire because of the high sugar content in this bacon. The combination of brown sugar, molasses and apple cider really soaked through this batch of bacon. The bacon was cooked to a lovely crisp. “The envelope please”, Sweet with a slight hickory smoke flavors danced on our tongue as we wept with joy. Ms. Goofy liked it because it was not too smoky. The molasses flavor is prevalent with its dark honey like flavor. The salt component was present but not overpowering. Overall, this recipe produced sweet, smoky, great tasting bacon. It is worth the time and effort to create your own. You can adjust the sugar, salt and smoke to your own preference. You just need to do it!