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December 31, 2011

Happy New Year! With bacon.. of course

Happy New Year everyone!  Behold.... the bacon....


Technically this is a smoked pancetta... such as it is.  Last nite I smoked the bacon that I started curing back here.  It was magnificent. I used the instructions from Ruhlmans book, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing and also followed along with my friend David the Gastronomic Gardener and voila - bacon!  Don't think you can make bacon? Yes you can!

I don't have pix of the smoking mostly because I got started after it got dark. How hard is it to smoke your own bacon? Not at all. The hardest part is making the fire. I tell you the truth I cannot start a charcoal fire with a bag of Kingsford and a gallon of lighter fluid. Don't ask me how I know this. So I gave up on that malarkey and started the fire how my people have been doing it since the elder days. With wood. Easy peasy.

I come from a long and glorious line of pyromaniacs so while I couldn't get the charcoal even if the main development guy from Kingsford was holding my hand... I got a decent fire started with wet kindling and a single match. I let the fire burn down to coals while we did chores. Then I tossed on some mesquite chips, some trimmings from the pear tree, and some kinda other hardwood we had laying around... and commenced to smokin'.

Pretty much the smoking part involved me sitting on the couch and watching a movie. From time to time I got up and added more wood chips and trimmings to keep the smoke and the fire barely going. After several hours (maybe four?) the internal temp of the bacon reached about 150*. Then it came out of the smoker and went into the fridge.  And I went to bed.

This morning I had bacon-y goodness and a stellar cup of coffee. I'll be slicing up the bacon - and keeping some of it in chunks for cooking - and then putting it into the freezer. How easy was that?

I've got some other pieces curing in the fridge downstairs and one pancetta hanging in the basement. Next week I'll try smoking it during the day so you can all see. In the meantime, see ya next year!

Happy New Year everyone!