Monday, March 19, 2012

Maple Cured, Hickory Smoked Bacon

Maple cured, pasture raised, hickory smoked bacon.

You are going to need the book by Ruhlman and Polcyn.

5 pound pork belly (either certified trichinosis free or freeze it for the appropriate time at the appropriate temperature, tables at USDA but 3 weeks below 0F is a good rule of thumb)
1/4 cup Basic Dry Cure (see Charcuterie)
1/2 cup maple syrup

Above are two pork bellies, trimmed to fit into large zip lock bags, in this case trim weight is just under 5 pounds each.

Place the belly in a zip lock with the cure rubbed over the meat and the syrup poured in. It is not necessary to trim off the skin, although you can.

Refrigerate  the belly, in the ziplock, for about 7 days, checking to see when the thickest part is firm. Flip the bag, which must be flat, every day and do not drain the liquid which will form.

When the belly is firm, take out of the bag, rinse and let dry (an extra day or two in the fridge, if it is raining won't hurt).  Note that this drying is critical to the smoke 'sticking'. It should look a bit like a second skin and is called a pellicle (with thanks to Amy Sipes for reminding me of this). Allow to return to close to room temperature, while you fire your smoker. 

I get the smoker to about 250 F, and use hickory. Smoke until the internal temperature at the thickest part is above 150 F.

Alternately roast in a medium oven, 325 F, until internal temperature at the thickest part is above 150F. You could use liquid smoke, but I've never done so. The roast is much better than commercial bacons, I don't like it as much as the smoked, but if is raining you might have no choice.

When bacon has cooled, cut into useful sized pieces and freeze. I find that 1 pound in FoodSaver bags frozen at 0F lasts about 1 year. I do not remove the skin until use, and I do fry it, even though it has been cooked through.

I still use commercial bacon for some things, such as this pate, where I don't want the smoke and need uniform thin pieces, but use is very minimal.

The pork belly came from Dietrich's . You really want to buy from a butcher that is proud of her meat. 

Fleisher's probably has or can get it.

"If bacon were declared a vegetable, I could become a vegetarian" Matthew Scudder

Camera Nikon D-90 with internal flash.

Lens(es) AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f2.5-5.65G
                AF-S NIKKOR 70-300mm f4.5-5.6G
                AF-S NIKKOR 35mm F1.8G
                AF-S NIKKOR 50mm F1.4F
                AF DC-NIKKOR 105 mm F2

Recipe with pictures Downloadable PDF  Link doesn’t work 

on the PDF itself

Recipe without pictures Downloadable PDF Link doesn't work

 on the PDF itself

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© 2012 Virginia L. Dyson & Warner W. Johnston  

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