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!
Yes, we Romanians also love bacon! Who doesn’t like bacon? We’ve got our own version in Romania. Smoked bacon: sometimes flavored with garlic, paprika, pepper or other spices, always delicious. Simple, but great!
HOMEMADE MAPLE-GLAZED DOUGHNUTS WITH PEPPERED BACON AND SMOKED MALDON SEA SALT FLAKES
These easy doughnuts do not have yeast, but baking powder and baking soda and buttermilk to make the texture soft and light. I have to say these doughnuts came out lighter than cake donuts.
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon pumpkin spice powder
1 extra large egg
¾ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ stick (¼ cup) melted butter
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup milk (and if it is too thick, add 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 rashers of your choice bacon, fried, crisped and crumbled,
Maldon smoked sea salt (optional)
Combine all the dough ingredients in a bowl. Mix and form the dough. Sprinkle a sheet of parchment paper with flour and place the dough. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and top with another sheet of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, rollout the dough into ¾ inch thick, cut with round cutter and a small round cookie cutter or bottle cap to cut the donut center. Heat a medium size casserole pan with 3 cups of canola oil over medium heat. Fry donuts until puffed and golden (2-3 minutes turning once to brown the other side). Transfer fresh cooked donuts on a wire rack over a sheet pan. To make the Glaze, combine all the Glaze ingredients. Dip donuts in the Glaze and transfer again onto the wire rack. Sprinkle smoked salt and bacon bits. Enjoy with coffee! Makes 8-9 4-inch donuts.
Add diced bacon to a large pan and fry for a few minutes on a high heat until the fat has melted. Turn the heat down to a medium and add onions (you can add a tablespoon of oil if your bacon is not very fatty and onion sticks to the bottom of the pan). Saute for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Add peppers and simmer for about 10 minutes until softened slightly. After this time season with paprika, cayenne pepper, hot chilli powder, sugar and tomato puree, then add fresh chopped tomatoes and tinned ones. Cook for further 20-30 minutes until all vegetables are soft. If adding eggs, towards the end of cooking time pour in the stew a few beaten eggs and mix thoroughly, then let cook for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.