“This beast right here is the infamous Mac + Cheese Bacon Burger. This bad boy is an enormous all beef patty topped with extra melty cheddar cheese, extra crispy Applewood smoked bacon, onion strings, shredded lettuce, and home made 6 cheese Macaroni and Cheese. On the side are 4 variants of fries, waffle fries, shoestring, crinkle-cut, and potato wedges. All properly seasoned to be extra delicious”
Food Preservation Skills: Learning to Cure and Smoke Bacon
We’ve started a new rule. In an effort to gradually reduce our meat intake, the Hubs and I are also trying to learn more about preparing certain meat products at home. If we can’t make it, then we don’t buy it, and so we don’t eat it at home. For months now we’ve been grinding our own meat to make sausages, chillis, hamburgers, etc. It’s a lot of work, but removing that convenience and instant gratification made us more aware of our meat consumption.
Bacon…is something that’s been difficult to give up, but if we can make our own, we’re committed to stop purchasing the industrialized version of this product. This is our first time making bacon and our first time smoking meat, which is a food preservation skill we’ve been wanting to learn. Without a smokehouse or a lot of outdoor space, we used our grill to simulate the smoking effect. Not saying we did everything perfectly - we need a lot more practice - but this homemade hickory smoked bacon may be the first time I’ve had real smoked bacon, as opposed to the liquid smoke that’s poured over the commercial products. Homemade bacon is also hammier…it doesn’t crisp up the way store-brought does. I’m also delighted that I can better control the flavoring and amount of salt to use when curing the meat.
How do my other homesteaders do smoking? We’d love to hear your experiences! Anyway, 10/10, would try to make our own bacon again!
Ireland in the Spring. Rain. Wind. Frost. More rain. Cold. More wind. Bored with rain? Have some sleet.
So we rummaged about in the kitchen to see what was lurking, and assembled the necessaries for Boston Baked Beans, using the recipe from Jocasta Innes’s “Pauper’s Cookbook”, which I inherited from Mum.
We made a few adaptations based on what wasn’t lurking, like using cubed smoked back bacon instead of salt pork; the result was a different flavour and mouthfeel, very pleasant, but the way well-marbled pork turns to savoury chunks of near-butter is better. It didn’t stop the level in the pot being noticeably reduced before D thought to say, “take a photo”…
That salt-glazed beanpot is another inheritance from Mum, who got it from her Mum, who got it from her Mum…
Except for D’s genuine late-medieval Venetian trade bead
on the braid of her replica netsuke rat, and a book about the Crimean war written while it was still going on (1855), this is the oldest thing in the house, about 150 years if I’ve got the figures right.
Also known as smoked tea, Lapsang Souchong is an ancient Chinese black tea, perhaps
the oldest known to date. Legends say during the Qing dynasty tea
producers in the Wuyi mountains accelerated the drying process of less
desirable leaves to satisfy the needs of the military. The unique smoky
flavour comes from a secretive process passed down through the
generations, where today it is still prepared in the ancient way and
only produced in a select few of the Wuyi tea estates.
The tea is picked from the fourth or fifth leaf from the bud and left to dry on a cypress or pine wood fire. The tea is then placed within wooden barrels to intensify the flavour. The final step is placing the tea into bamboo trays called honglongs, which are then placed over smoky pine fires to dry the tea completely.
This is a very different flavour of tea that you will love or loathe. There is a strong smokiness throughout each sip with undertones of longan berry, whiskey, and pine smoke. The aroma is near spot on to that of a campfire, and brings me to think of the starry nights, roasted marshmallows and ghost stories of my childhood. Nostalgia aside the tea is really unlike any other, and would probably be a favourite for any bacon lover.