Saturday, January 26, 2013

Playing with bellies again...

whiskey bacon
mmm bacon.

  That there is a new batch of bacon I've got going on. Finally. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I have been buying my bacon as of late. What started as a "just this once" exception for lack of time turned into a weekly thing. And while all bacon is pretty much awesome in my book, every single time I bit into an overly crisped and much too thin strip, I thought about how much better my own would be. Making bacon is so easy and so crazy good that it's hard not to feel guilty for skipping it.
  The greatest pleasure in making your own foods is of course the experimentation. I'm not bound by what bacon makers think should be in my bacon, I can use whatever the hell I want (Now that's meaty liberation). And while I usually go the sweet and simple route with maple syrup, I wanted to play with this batch a little. This go around I opted for a bold and molasses-esque buckwheat honey, a healthy dose of whiskey, and an aromatic blend of bay leaves, juniper berries, black pepper, garlic, and nutmeg. As of this moment the pork bellies have finished their week long cure and are forming a *pellicle in the refrigerator, after which they will get slow smoked over Bourbon barrel wood chips. Stay tuned, recipe and pictures of the final product to come!

  *Fun Meat Geek trivia fact of the day*: A pellicle is a thin covering of protein that forms on a meat that is exposed to circulating air. It is essential when smoking meat as its tacky surface traps and locks in smoke flavor. It also acts as a protective membrane of sorts by preventing the meat from drying out. Forming a pellicle on home cured meats is as easy as placing the meat on a cooling rack (for circulation) and leaving it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.


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