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More Winter Charcuterie

So since the bacon was going so well it was tight to try some new things.

So when I got my pork bellies I also got some back fat and shoulder to make some Spanish style chorizo. Since I don’t yet have a meat grinder I decided to use some of the back fat to make prosciutto bianco, or Lardo. Basically it’s just fat that is cured with salt sugar and lots of herbs and aromatics. Is cured a pretty long time and then dried so the texture is a bit meatier. I’m still in the curing phase but it’s getting nice and firm and I’m looking forward to drying and tasting.

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I also lucked into a nice meaty pork jowl so, obviously, Guanciale was on the menu. Guanciale is often called “roman bacon” it’s a cured, dried, but not smoked meat made from pork jowels. Usually a lot of herbs and spices are used. Like the Lardo it cures and dries for much longer than bacon so it’s still in process.

Guanciale

Winter Charcuterie

It’s been a big winter in the smoke house and drying box. A couple of years ago I built a smokehouse and started curing and smoking some meat. Since then I have studies charcuterie more and more and wanted to try some new things.

Last winter I made my first bacon and once I had that I knew I didn’t want grocery store bacon anymore.

So this winter I decided to ramp it up and try and perfect the curing and processes and make a lot of really good bacon. So I got with Green Button Farm and got 40 lbs of beautiful pasture raised pork belly and proceeded to make bacon and pancetta.

The bacon and pancetta are both cured with a mixture of kosher salt, brown sugar, black pepper and curing salt plus any flavor you want to add. In this case things like maple syrup, Jack Daniels, and Sriracha for the bacon and juniper berries, and Italian herbs for the pancetta. After about 10 days all the cures and washed off and it’s set to dry for a couple of days.

After that the pancetta is rolled as tightly as you can and hung to dry. The bacon slabs are smoked for 4-5 hours using fruit wood.

The pancetta is still drying but the bacon has been sliced packed and a good chunk eaten. It’s soooooo good. image

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New chicks make the move

Took a much needed trip away from the farm only to return home and find the little (Baby Huey) chicks had grown so much, we had not choice but to move them out to the chicken run. Still have a heat lamp on the little guys and they are not too sure about the real world… but nothing like being thrown in ready or not. Luckily the weather looks good the next week!

https://www.facebook.com/wateroaksfarm/posts/687103781350852

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More Bacon

I just couldn’t stop

Teriyaki Sesame Bacon

Hoping this makes a good dinner bacon

618g Pork Belly
54g Kosher Salt
72g Brown Sugar
2g Curing Salt
56g Teriyaki
4g Roasted Black Sesame Seeds
3g 5 Spice Powder

(probably a bit of overkill with the ingredients, there was a good bit extra in the ziploc bag with the belly)

Maple Brown Sugar Bacon

958g Pork Belly
28g Salt
15g Brown Sugar
68g Grade B Maple Syrup (pure)
2g Curing Salt

Water Oaks Novalox

Lox are expensive. Salmon filets aren’t cheap, but a helluva lot cheaper than lox. Add some salt, sugar, pepper and smoke, which are pretty cheap, and you can save a minimum of $15/lb. Even better if you have a connection in Alaska who goes salmon fishing, hint, hint, Kate.

Start with a whole salmon filet. Obviously the better the salmon the better the lox, but you can still make a pretty tasty batch with a “lower quality” species.

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Next, trim it into nice rectangular pieces and pat them dry. If you feel any bones remove them with needle-nose plyers. Nothing is wrong with the trim and you can use it for the lox if you like it’ll just make slicing down the road more difficult. I just take the trimming and vacuum seal them and use them as “medallions” for dinner. The fillets below started at 2.5lbs, each and finished just under 4lbs total, 1710g to be specific. As I stated before nothing was thrown away, it’ll get used for dinner one night.

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In a large bowl combine:

  • 200g of light brown sugar
  • 140g kosher salt
  • 5g fine black pepper
  • 4g curing salt

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Set up a baking pan with a roasting rack and lay out about 2 feet of cling film.

Then coat the mixture on to the patted dry fillets on all sides and set the first piece skin down on the cling film and the second piece skin up on top of the previous piece to make a salmon sandwich.

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Wrap the cling film loosely around them, to allow the liquid to drain out, and flip it over so the seam is on the bottom.

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Do that again for the second fillet (if you’re making two).

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Place a weight on top to encourage liquid loss and cure penetration and place in the refrigerator.

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After the first day, drain the pan and flip the pieces and rotate to make sure the weight is evened out. I got about 6oz of syrupy liquid after about 20 hours.

After a couple of days unwrap and rinse the cure off completely, pat dry and place back in the fridge for a few hours to dry and get ready to receive the smoke. At this point you have actually made lox. If you want to, just go ahead and remove the skin, slice and eat. If you want NOVAlox, however, its off to the cold smoker for a couple of hours.

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I built a smoke house but there are ways to cold smoke a bit easier, just Google it. I just put the filets on a rack and smoke with a mild fruit wood for a couple of hours. Big woods like hickory, or heaven forbid mesquite will over power your delicate salmon.

After the smoke, rest it for a while back in the fridge to make slicing easier, remove the skin and thinly slice on a bias. You can vacuum seal your tasty treat and it’ll last a long time.

At the end of this batch the weight went from 1710g to about 1500g (3.8lbs >> 3.3lbs) then loss of about 50g/2oz when the skin was removed. So, 6 4-5oz pouches of really nice looking gift-suitable stuff and 4 flaky and trims great for scrambled eggs. IMG_1861

 

Makon Bacon…or…Makin Bakin…or…nevermind

So bacon is good right? And at least on the surface looks pretty easy to make so lets find out. All you need is some pork belly, some salt, sugar and curing salt (curing salt, prague powder, cure #1 are all the same thing, and aren’t 100% necessary but help kill bacteria). After that any other seasoning you want to obtain the desired flavor. Below are the recipes for my first 2, relatively small, batches.

Note, this is the first time the metric system has really come in handy for me. The math is so much easier.

Black Pepper Bacon

699g of pork belly with skin on. Trim to square up the edges and cook the trim as a delicious appetizer while putting this recipe together.
100g salt
70g light brown sugar
4g fine black pepper
2g curing salt

Combine ingredients, place belly in ziploc bag and coat all sides. Leave in refrigerator for 7 days, flip each day.

After 7 days I cold smoked over hickory apple wood  for about 5 hours. After smoking cut the skin of and cool to make slicing easier. I then portion and vacuum seal it.

Yield was 505g

 

Spicy Chipotle Bacon

644g of pork belly with skin on. Trim to square up the edges and cook the trim as a delicious appetizer while putting this recipe together.
56g salt
75g light brown sugar
2g curing salt
2oz of dried chipotle peppers (the canned stuff has sooooo much other stuff in there)
1 hot red chile

Prep and rehydrate the chipotle and chile, grind in food processor.

Combine with all other ingredients and coat belly in ziploc bag. Leave in refrigerator for 7 days, flip each day.

After 7 days I cold smoked over hickory apple wood  for about 5 hours. After smoking cut the skin of and cool to make slicing easier. I then portion and vacuum seal it.

Yield was 460g

 

 

Chicken Corner at Soktoberfest 2

On October 26th starting at 5:00, Chicken Corner Brewing will be serving up lovingly crafted beers at Soktoberfest before the Carolina RailHawks game! So put on your finest lederhosen, come out and say hey and enjoy a lot of tasty, local beers. There will be at least 15 amateur brewers along with Raleigh’s Lone Rider Brewing.

I’ll be pouring Gamecock Bitter, an English style ESB, and Cuckoo Maran Hot Chocolate Stout, a milk stout brewed with Escazu cocoa nibs and mint leaves. You can come to the beer fest without buying tickets for the soccer match, but you should anyway.

Gamecock Bittercuckoo maran stout

 

UPDATE: The Cuckoo Maran Hot Chocolate Stout received Third Place in the fan voting!