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  • Post #31 - October 18th, 2006, 4:58 pm
    Post #31 - October 18th, 2006, 4:58 pm Post #31 - October 18th, 2006, 4:58 pm
    If I am not mistaken I am pretty sure I want skin-on as the recipe I was doing called for not cutting it off until AFTER it is smoked.


    I don't know why-- it doesn't protect anything, the skin will only block smoke absorption in that area, and it's a pain to trim off.
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  • Post #32 - October 19th, 2006, 11:12 am
    Post #32 - October 19th, 2006, 11:12 am Post #32 - October 19th, 2006, 11:12 am
    Mike G wrote:
    If I am not mistaken I am pretty sure I want skin-on as the recipe I was doing called for not cutting it off until AFTER it is smoked.


    I don't know why-- it doesn't protect anything, the skin will only block smoke absorption in that area, and it's a pain to trim off.


    Mike-

    I could be mistaken, but this came from the Charcuterie cookbook you linked to in the original post. I could have sworn it said to cut the skin off after it is smoked, though I was skimming more than reading.

    My original thought is that it acts as more of a heat shield as it is a hot smoke, not cold. I'll do a better job of reading it this evening when I get home to confim.

    Jamie
  • Post #33 - October 27th, 2006, 5:38 pm
    Post #33 - October 27th, 2006, 5:38 pm Post #33 - October 27th, 2006, 5:38 pm
    And once you have that bacon all ready, you can chicken-fry it and serve it with cream gravy.
  • Post #34 - October 27th, 2006, 6:32 pm
    Post #34 - October 27th, 2006, 6:32 pm Post #34 - October 27th, 2006, 6:32 pm
    Here's why I think you cut the skin off after smoking.

    Because it's too damn hard when it's attached to a cold, solid piece of meat! (Hence the usual immersion in boiling water of a freshly terminated whole pig. Perhaps Bruce has a picture he'd like to share here...)

    That said, when I made bacon from entirely skinned pieces, the result was... exactly the same. (Well, not exactly, since it was Bob in Ga. pork and thus much better tasting than the commercial kind, but functionally it was the same. No significant heat shield effect, anyway.)

    * * *

    I do need to find a better place for pork bellies, though, than Peoria. I went today and the ones I found were all very thin in some spot (I think they trim for maximum meatiness on the ribs) and I only found one worth buying out of 10 or 12; since I like to make two flitches at the same time, I had to select a rib belly (that is, one with some ribs still attached).

    Image

    Which brings us to another source of less than complete gruntlement as a customer. You will note in one of Cathy's clandestine photos above a sign just visible to the right of the service window promising that they will cut almost anything almost any way the customer wants it. Well, on my first try I found one of the exceptions: they will not trim the ribs off a rib belly, even when you assure them you're going to buy both. Not sure what the reason is (not price-- rib belly costs slightly more than the trimmed sans ribs) and frankly I don't care; all that matters is, I didn't really find what I wanted and they wouldn't help me get it to where it was what I wanted. Not that big an issue since trimming the ribs is relatively simple, but still, I came out with a mind to look for other options, and presumably will.
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  • Post #35 - October 27th, 2006, 6:41 pm
    Post #35 - October 27th, 2006, 6:41 pm Post #35 - October 27th, 2006, 6:41 pm
    Ann Fisher wrote:And once you have that bacon all ready, you can chicken-fry it and serve it with cream gravy.

    God help me, I thought that looked terrific!

    Actually, I've made something along the same order, Fried Pork-Wrapped Garlic (Saveur, March '05), which uses pork belly.
    Image

    But drew the line at Bacon Tempura from the same Saveur issue.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #36 - October 27th, 2006, 7:04 pm
    Post #36 - October 27th, 2006, 7:04 pm Post #36 - October 27th, 2006, 7:04 pm
    Mike G wrote:Here's why I think you cut the skin off after smoking.

    Because it's too damn hard when it's attached to a cold, solid piece of meat!(Hence the usual immersion in boiling water of a freshly terminated whole pig. Perhaps Bruce has a picture he'd like to share here...)



    Hogs are scalded (immersed) in hot, not boiling, water to loosen the hair so that it easily pulls out. If the water is too hot, the hair sets and you would have to shave or burn it off. Neither project would be fun. Shaving would be time consuming. Burning would be much faster, but the smell... If the water is not hot enough the hair doesn't loosen and you would have to shave or burn. Scalding a pig is the same as using hot water to pluck a chicken.

    Here's the best of the pictures I have showing the scalding process.
    Image

    I will say that this is the hardest part to do. Its hot, wet, and you need to do it pretty fast. If the hair sets you have to burn, shave, or skin the hog.

    Hopefully, Jamie can chime in with what the book actually said about the skin on the bacon.

    FYI, if you get a fresh belly or shoulder with the skin on, save it to use in a stock or to season with. The skin will help add some thickness (because of either gelatin or collagen) to it.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #37 - October 27th, 2006, 7:21 pm
    Post #37 - October 27th, 2006, 7:21 pm Post #37 - October 27th, 2006, 7:21 pm
    Mike G wrote:Here's why I think you cut the skin off after smoking.

    Because it's too damn hard when it's attached to a cold, solid piece of meat! (Hence the usual immersion in boiling water of a freshly terminated whole pig. Perhaps Bruce has a picture he'd like to share here...)

    Mike,

    Freshly killed pigs are immersed in hot, not boiling water, often laced with a bit of pine tar, to facilitate removal of the bristles.

    Here's a pic of me 'dunking' a pig at Bob in Ga's
    Image

    Far as pork belly procurement alternatives to Peoria Packing, Chicago Food Corp would be a good starting point.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Chicago Food Corp
    3333 N Kimball Ave
    Chicago, IL
    773-478-5566
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #38 - October 28th, 2006, 8:51 am
    Post #38 - October 28th, 2006, 8:51 am Post #38 - October 28th, 2006, 8:51 am
    Bruce wrote:Hopefully, Jamie can chime in with what the book actually said about the skin on the bacon.

    FYI, if you get a fresh belly or shoulder with the skin on, save it to use in a stock or to season with. The skin will help add some thickness (because of either gelatin or collagen) to it.


    The book actually calls for skin-on belly, and calls for it to be removed after the smoke, when still warm.

    Today is the big smoke day so I finally get to see how the bacon and pastrami turned out. Will also be nice to have use of my refrigerator back, as 60% of it is being used to store curing meats. Is there some award for "Putting Up With Sh*t you can nominate a vegetarian fiancee for??

    If anyone wants some smoked pork skin removed from bacon, please drop me a line. I plan to freeze some for myself, but doubt I'll need the 20 sq ft of it ;)

    Jamie
  • Post #39 - October 28th, 2006, 9:12 am
    Post #39 - October 28th, 2006, 9:12 am Post #39 - October 28th, 2006, 9:12 am
    Yeah, he says to leave it on, but never says why. I'm convinced it's just because skinning it while raw-- I speak from experience-- is so damn hard.

    Incidentally, once you have the stuff together it's amazing how easy this is. I had cure premixed and a box of giant Ziplocs; it took all of about five minutes to bag two bellies, pour cure in them (being careful to not get salt in the zipper), add crushed juniper and a little maple syrup (my standard recipe), seal and duct-tape the bags, and toss in the fridge. Everyone should make bacon!

    P.S. Your vegetarian fiancee knows there's an exception for bacon, right?
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #40 - October 28th, 2006, 9:22 am
    Post #40 - October 28th, 2006, 9:22 am Post #40 - October 28th, 2006, 9:22 am
    Mike G wrote:P.S. Your vegetarian fiancee knows there's an exception for bacon, right?


    Trust me, I am up for an award for "Fiance Who Tries"!
    Jamie
  • Post #41 - October 28th, 2006, 9:40 am
    Post #41 - October 28th, 2006, 9:40 am Post #41 - October 28th, 2006, 9:40 am
    Mike G wrote:Yeah, he says to leave it on, but never says why. I'm convinced it's just because skinning it while raw-- I speak from experience-- is so damn hard.


    You should see Ginger skin a belly. She just lays the belly skin side down and fillets the skin right off. A sharp knife is one key. Experience helps too. No telling how many hogs she's butchered over the years.

    When butchering a hog we don't do it, in your case if the belly was really cold that should make it easier. Room temperature meat is harder to control and slice through.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #42 - October 28th, 2006, 4:27 pm
    Post #42 - October 28th, 2006, 4:27 pm Post #42 - October 28th, 2006, 4:27 pm
    It's not this easy?

    Image

    -ramon
  • Post #43 - October 29th, 2006, 10:40 am
    Post #43 - October 29th, 2006, 10:40 am Post #43 - October 29th, 2006, 10:40 am
    Mike G wrote:Yeah, he says to leave it on, but never says why. I'm convinced it's just because skinning it while raw-- I speak from experience-- is so damn hard.



    Well after real world "cooked bacon skin removing" last night, I can say it is not very difficult at all. A sharp knife and a small amount of patience, and it only takes 1/3 of a beer.
    Jamie
  • Post #44 - November 9th, 2006, 7:46 am
    Post #44 - November 9th, 2006, 7:46 am Post #44 - November 9th, 2006, 7:46 am
    I love Bacon!

    OK, no surprise there, just thought I'd get it out of way. :)

    Mike G, after a 3-4 rounds of curing and smoking bacon, has started to get really good at the process. Not that the first batch out of the box wasn't 100 times better than anything you can buy commercially, but he has started to subtly refine his technique resulting in balance of flavor.

    All this by way of saying Mike came over yesterday to slice and vacuum seal* his latest batch of bacon. In a slightly ironic twist Semi-Homemade herself was on the TV. She's 'teaching' Food TV viewers how to reheat a bucket of Country Crock mashed potatoes while Mike G slices homemade bacon.

    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    *I sincerely hope Mr. G never gets a vac sealer
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #45 - November 9th, 2006, 8:42 am
    Post #45 - November 9th, 2006, 8:42 am Post #45 - November 9th, 2006, 8:42 am
    Wow. That's an incredible picture. Those potatoes look great! :wink:
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #46 - November 17th, 2006, 11:46 pm
    Post #46 - November 17th, 2006, 11:46 pm Post #46 - November 17th, 2006, 11:46 pm
    Movie quote of the day:

    "We're here to discover heresy and criminal licentiousness. If there's bacon involved, I dread to imagine the depths of depravity I'm going to find here in Venice."
    --Jeremy Irons as a bishop of the Inquisition, Casanova
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
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  • Post #47 - November 18th, 2006, 1:17 am
    Post #47 - November 18th, 2006, 1:17 am Post #47 - November 18th, 2006, 1:17 am
    I searched and couldn't find any reference to this web site, but it seems that this is the place to point it out.

    The Bacon Show offers, as it says, "ONE BACON RECIPE PER DAY, EVERY DAY, FOREVER." I found this while trying to find the recipes G Wiv mentioned above. They have links to all sorts of bacon resources, and even have a recipe for bacon tempura

    http://baconshow.blogspot.com/

    Might be something useful for the bacon lovers.
  • Post #48 - November 19th, 2006, 12:02 pm
    Post #48 - November 19th, 2006, 12:02 pm Post #48 - November 19th, 2006, 12:02 pm
    From the "Hey, if you're not going to eat that bacon, I'll have it" Dept.:

    For a while she was happily dating a film producer from Los Angeles who, she thought, was definitely on her eco-wavelength. But one morning they went out for breakfast, and Mr. Right ordered an all-meat meal and doused his coffee with several packets of Equal. “I was dumbstruck,” says Pearson. “I think I ate my entire meal in silence. Pork plus NutraSweet? That was definitely our last date.”

    http://www.sanfran.com/home/view_story/1454/
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #49 - November 19th, 2006, 10:03 pm
    Post #49 - November 19th, 2006, 10:03 pm Post #49 - November 19th, 2006, 10:03 pm
    Hi,

    I guess she wouldn't like this either: Pecan Praline Bacon.

    Regards,
  • Post #50 - January 20th, 2007, 4:35 pm
    Post #50 - January 20th, 2007, 4:35 pm Post #50 - January 20th, 2007, 4:35 pm
    HI,

    As a successful winner of the refrigerator war, I can now get to what I have really wanted to do: make some bacon!

    From reading this thread, I find people are buying their pork bellies from Peoria Packing House, though another vendor would be preferred. I assume the pork belly from Paulina's was fine, though pricey. I have bought the rib-in belly in the past because it was thicker, then carefully trimmed out the bone myself. Are there any updates on pork belly procurement?

    While searching Epicurious, I did find a Canadian bacon recipe.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #51 - January 20th, 2007, 11:50 pm
    Post #51 - January 20th, 2007, 11:50 pm Post #51 - January 20th, 2007, 11:50 pm
    No updates, still working on my last batch. Start at Peoria, see if you find them acceptable.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #52 - January 27th, 2007, 11:55 am
    Post #52 - January 27th, 2007, 11:55 am Post #52 - January 27th, 2007, 11:55 am
    About to embark on making my own bacon, can anyone comment on some of the variety of results they have had with the Charcuterie recipes. Specifically using maple syrup vs. any of the brown sugars?


    Also, thinking about doing a batch with the garlic/crushed pepper/bay leave mix. Anyone tried this?
  • Post #53 - January 27th, 2007, 1:04 pm
    Post #53 - January 27th, 2007, 1:04 pm Post #53 - January 27th, 2007, 1:04 pm
    I like the maple flavor with bacon, so I routinely do that. The other thing I do is crush some juniper berries and toss them in. I haven't tried many other variations because, frankly, my standard recipe has been such a hit with my family and others that I haven't felt a need to.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #54 - January 27th, 2007, 1:27 pm
    Post #54 - January 27th, 2007, 1:27 pm Post #54 - January 27th, 2007, 1:27 pm
    So you use a maple syrup, do you toss in any brown sugar?

    I have never used juniper berries, could I get those at Jewel?
  • Post #55 - January 27th, 2007, 1:31 pm
    Post #55 - January 27th, 2007, 1:31 pm Post #55 - January 27th, 2007, 1:31 pm
    Well, somebody posted once about just picking your own juniper berries around Chicagoland, otherwise, I got a year or two supply at Spice House not too long ago. They're not typically seen at grocery stores, no.

    I have not tried brown sugar ever, I don't think, I went straight to maple.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #56 - January 27th, 2007, 2:54 pm
    Post #56 - January 27th, 2007, 2:54 pm Post #56 - January 27th, 2007, 2:54 pm
    Hm ok. Pass on the Juniper berries for now.

    However, I just noticed as I was beginning to actually get the belly curing, that it still has the bones.

    Should I just cut these off? Save them for something later I am guessing?
  • Post #57 - January 27th, 2007, 3:18 pm
    Post #57 - January 27th, 2007, 3:18 pm Post #57 - January 27th, 2007, 3:18 pm
    Well, like me, you're about to get a fast lesson in trimming ribs away from the belly!

    You can either trim decent-sized ribs out of the meat you have, or trim so close to the bone that they're not worth saving. Generally when I've had to buy rib belly at Peoria, I've cut as tight on the bone as I could because the belly wasn't all that thick to begin with. I suppose some would consider that wasteful, but it was bacon I wanted, not rather skimpy ribs.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
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  • Post #58 - January 27th, 2007, 3:27 pm
    Post #58 - January 27th, 2007, 3:27 pm Post #58 - January 27th, 2007, 3:27 pm
    Mike -

    Thanks for all your help! Off to trim!
  • Post #59 - January 27th, 2007, 3:50 pm
    Post #59 - January 27th, 2007, 3:50 pm Post #59 - January 27th, 2007, 3:50 pm
    Well here is another question. So I cut off the ribs which seemed to cover about 1/2 of the piece diagonally speaking. The other half has what looks like maybe fat on top of it? Texture feels like skin, but the skin is on the other side.

    Do I keep this on there?
  • Post #60 - January 27th, 2007, 4:25 pm
    Post #60 - January 27th, 2007, 4:25 pm Post #60 - January 27th, 2007, 4:25 pm
    Hell yes!

    I mean, if it's just a funny little dangling piece of fat and you want to clean it up a little, sure.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.

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