Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Makin' Bacon

Yesterday was day 10 of the curing process for bacon.  You may recall one shelf in my refrigerator was packed with curing pork belly and the tedious task of waiting.  To be honest, there was one step involved here - after five days, I had to flip the slabs of meat.  Oh how exciting.
Curing Pork Belly
At last, day 10 arrived.  The pork bellies were rinsed and soaked for 2 hours, changing the water midway.  The meat was patted and allowed to dry further for another hour.  During the final drying period, the smoker was fired up to 200 F.  Just before placing the meat on the racks, we added pecan wood chunks and let the pit fill with smoke.

The meat was placed fat side down on the smoking racks.  Charcoal or pecan wood chunks were frequently added to keep the smoke rising out of the stack and maintain a temperature around 175 F.  We rotated the slabs every hour, to distribute the heat and cooking time evenly.  Six hours later, we transferred the bacon to the kitchen.  Not all of the meat made it to the fridge for cooling.  Some was sacrificed for dinner last night.  Yummy BLATs (BLT with Avocado).

Here is a photo of my mom's meat slicer.  This was one of her wedding gifts in '56.  It works great!  The only drawback is the bacon slabs need to be halved.  They are too long to fit on the slicer.

Mama's Meat Slicer
 Here are the short slices of bacon.  The meat is very lean.  So much for collecting bacon grease for future cooking projects.


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