This is part two of that story, for those of you that didn't read part one - have a look here to get in the mood for this riveting and fascinating story. Or something like that.
Where the last part left of was with the belly of pork curing in the fridge. This being my first attempt I was worrying quite a bit about the progress etc. Some more knowledgeable and experienced bacon makers over at the Bradley Smoker Forum soon calmed me and the experiment continued on.
Due to some external circumstances that I couldn't do much about, apparently friends weddings are more important than my homemade bacon, I left the bacon curing for 10 days.
Once I was back from the wedding the bacon was rinsed and air-dried in the fridge over night.
|Belly of pork, complete with temperature probe, ready to go into the smoker|
The next day the smoker was heated up to 49C/120F and the maple smoke started rolling.
|My lovely smoker|
|Moody smoke picture|
I kept it as this temperature with smoke rolling for two hours. Once the time was up I increased the temperature to 71C/160F and started waiting for the internal temperature of the bacon to reach 65C/150F. And I waited. And waited. And waited.
|An hour or so into the smoking process|
The fact that is was really cold out probably didn't help but the wait was quite long and certain interested parties lost interest and stamina long before the remote temperature monitor gave up the releasing beep that indicated that we'd reached the correct temperature.
I removed the bacon from the smoker and let it cool down before cling filming it and leaving it in the fridge over night to firm up a bit.
|Finally finished, about to go into the fridge over night|
The next day I got it out of the fridge and headed out in the garage to try my meat slicer for the first time.
You have no idea how wide my smile was when the first slice hit the plate. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my adventures in cooking.
I sliced and vacuum packed the majority of the belly and diced the last bit into lardons that also got vacuum packed and frozen for future use.
|Vacuum packed lardons ready to go into the freezer|
So, some questions that I guess some of you might have.
Was it worth it? - Hell yeah!
Would you do it again? - Hell yeah, already thinking of other cures that might work.
Did it taste ok? - Hell yeah, really nice and sweet flavour.