Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Smoke-Cured Bacon

Yay!  I finally smoked my own homemade bacon. Lemme tell ya, the smell of the house is still making my mouth water.

With a little trepidation, we got a propane smoker  - would it have the same great taste? You betcha. So far it beats the charcoal smoker hands down. It's going to take a bit of learning to get used to it. It gets a lot hotter a lot quicker than the charcoal smoker.

Not having to buy and deal with charcoal makes me a cleaner, happier camper. "How about that smoky taste," you ask? Fantastic. Half of a small bag of wood chips in the drawer above the burner supplies more than enough smoke for a short smoke. This one took 2.75 hours, but it should have gone slower than it did.  I used the whole bag, but it wasn't necessary.

On first use, I'm tickled pink. I'll post later results of different meats as I use and learn it.

Today I smoked two slabs of bacon and a chicken. Both turned out darker than I would have wished, but as I said, it got far hotter far quicker than I expected.  The taste, however, is incredible. My dad even ate two pieces of chicken at one meal, and he's not done that since I've been staying with him.

This is a pic of the bacon. On the bottom is one with a lot of pepper on it. On the top is a simple salt cure. The pepper cure is now frozen for Max. Dad and I will rip into the salt cure tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll learn how to slow the process down and get less black on the next batch.

If one looks into the economy of making bacon, it can't be beat. The cost of the pork belly was $21.90 for 20 pounds. The cost of the salt was likely $ .35. The cost of the propane was perhaps $1.50, if that. The whole tank was $14.00. The cost of the wood chips was, I think, $1.89.  That works out to about  $1.28 per pound. The cost of the smoker was $139.00. That will pay for itself in a short time.

I foresee smoked ribs, roasts, and salmon in our future. I'm not one much for the salmon, but we've a friend we take some to every now and then. I foresee a big fish going on a rack the next time we go to Oak Ridge. Does tuna smoke well?  I've not heard much about it. There's nothing better for Thanksgiving than a smoked turkey. If I find a local hunter that gets a deer this fall, I'll be glad to trade smoking privileges for a roast. Hint, hint, locals!

Now I'm wondering if I can control it enough to do jerky. It might be difficult. It would certainly take a day without wind. Today was terribly windy, and once when I turned it to the low setting, it simply went out. Something to look into, mmmm.

Well, one can tire of too much smoked meat in too short a period. This new smoker with its ease of use and economy means we'll be using it more frequently than the twice a year we used to use the charcoal smoker anyway.


Debbi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbi said...

The photos of the bacon should of warned us that we need a napkin after viewing. And peppered!? Yum! Most excellent, Jola Gayle. I wish you did not live so far away, though you may be glad I do. It is plain rude to show up at someone's door wearing a bib and carrying a fork.

Cherizac said...

Yum. Made my vegan mouth water too! I'm glad it's working so well for you. Maybe some smoked tofu? ;-)