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!
Alternate Universe where Steve FUCKING TELLS TONY ABOUT HIS PARENTS so he has time to heal before he faces Bucky, has time to delve in and do research, comes to terms with the fact that Bucky was actually tortured and abused and didn’t want to do it at all.
Tony’s out grabbing lunch with the Avengers when the Winter Soldier shows up, just fucking appears like fog or smoke, smoky-eyed and mask over his mouth. He’s got one gun trained between Steve’s eyes and a knife digging threateningly into Tony’s belly. The restaurant clears out in terror but none of the Avengers dare move.
“What do you want?” Natasha asks the Soldier in Russian, but he doesn’t answer, doesn’t even twitch to show he’s heard her.
Tony feels it when the knife begins to tremble against him. He can’t tell if it’s because the Soldier is overwhelmed or scared or both. He lifts his hands slowly, wraps his fingers around the Soldier’s shoulders one by one. When the knife isn’t thrust through his gut, Tony takes the chance to lean in and press his lips to the mask–the fucking muzzle Hydra put on him–and whispers, “I forgive you.”
Tony leans back to look up at him and watches a tear roll down the Soldier’s cheek, cutting through the warpaint, watches it roll over the edge of the mask and down to drip off the bottom. Another tear follows, and another, but the Soldier stares at him, unblinking, knife still trembling.
Tony pulls the knife from his hand, and the Soldier allows it, allows Tony to reach up again, toward his face this time, allows him to fumble with the clasp to pull his mask off. His lips are moving when Tony pulls the mask off, but no sound is coming out, as if he’s been muzzled so long that he doesn’t even bother trying to speak anymore.
“It wasn’t your fault,” Tony insists quietly. “It wasn’t your fault. I forgive you.”
The gun slips from the Soldier’s hand, clatters across the ground. Steve throws himself at them, wraps his arms around them both, and the Soldier–Bucky’s trembling, shaking, lips still dropping silent apologies, and Tony starts to tremble too as the adrenaline wears off, whispering that it wasn’t his fault, he forgives him.
Clint puts his weapons away since Natasha still has hers out, goes to pick up the discarded gun. He goes to clear the chamber, but nothing happens, so he opens checks the ammo–but there is none. He turns slightly, but Natasha’s already seen, going by the way her face is tight, and she looks angry, because there’s nothing she hates more than killing a man that wants to die, than being the trigger of a gun he’s too scared to pull.
(Natasha doesn’t know if she would have pulled. Not with Tony so close. Not with the gun pointed at Steve’s head. But if he’d just been standing there? She doesn’t know. She doesn’t know and she hates that.)