Sunday, August 5, 2012

Trying something new today

A lot of great stories can often by traced back to a single sentence. There's, "Here, hold my beer for a minute, I wanna try somethin'" and the ever popular, "Hey everyone, watch this!"  Hopefully this little experiment of mine will also end up as legend.  When I purchased my last batch of bellies I was told I had to buy the whole case which was 4 bellies totaling about 35 lbs.  It was quite a bit more than I felt my network could purchase but then got to thinking one of my friends had asked for a whole mess of bacon.  Kismet?  

So I gave these friends a call and offered to do them up a whole belly of their own.  Knowing that they were into spicy foods and wanting to try something a little different I offered to do them something special and they were agreeable to whatever my insane brain could come up with but it gave me an opportunity to try something I'd been wanting to we're going to be making a honey cured chile and pepper crusted bacon.  Right now I've got the belly in the cure that was then rubbed down with two cups of honey.  I'm going to cure it for about 6 days before resting, crusting with chile and a little freshly ground pepper and finally smoking with hickory and applewood.  It looks great already (although the picture is a smidgen blurry) 


Tatoosh said...

Can you tell me more about crusting the bacon? I want to do a pepper bacon. Right now I dry cure my bacon for a week. Then dry off and let it form a pellicle. Finally I smoke it for 2 or 3 hours and then bring the internal temperature to 150F.

But I make a sweeter bacon such as honey/maple syrup or brown sugar for my wife and want pepper bacon for myself.

Jered said...

This is the first time I'll be crusting a pork belly but I've made pastrami and pancetta in the past and I'm thinking the process will be about the same. After pellicle formation I'm just going to sprinkle the non-skin side of the belly with crushed red pepper flakes.

For pepper bacon I'd toast the peppercorns, cool then crush to about a medium-fine grind and press into the non-skin side just before smoking. A 8-9 lb belly should take about 30-40 grams of peppercorns. My last bellies were cool-smoked (sub 100ºF) for about 10 hrs but these next ones will go about 11-12 hrs. I find the smoke flavor dissipates over time so go heavy with the smoke to compensate.

Let me know how it works out!

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