6.17.2007

Makin’ Bacon, Part Deux

Shit. Shit. Shit. I screwed up the bacon. I was supposed to remove it from the cure on Saturday, but it still felt a little squishy. And if it feels squishy, my trusty recipe instructs, leave it for another day or two. So, I did.

I took it out of the curing liquid, rinsed it off, and roasted it for a couple of hours in a very low oven. The whole apartment got this really mouthwatering, bacon-y aroma. When I pulled it out of the oven, errant peppercorns clung to the glistening fat and the meat was gorgeously pink. I sampled a snippet and the first thing that hit me was the extreme saltiness. Barely edible saltiness. I’ve-ruined-the-bacon-and-will-have-to-write-about-it-and-everyone-will-know saltiness. I’ll-be-excommunicated-from-the-church-of-the-pig saltiness. Happily, the flavor hiding under all that salt is amazing. If you can overlook the tear-inducing saltiness, this bacon kicks the pork butt of every store bought bacon ever, in the history of bacon. But overlooking tear-inducing saltiness isn’t exactly a concession most people can make, even my oh-so-supportive husband. Even me.

Fortunately, the two wise men who wrote the trusty recipe suspected that it would someday fall into my inexpert clutches and include instructions for blanching it in simmering water to remove extreme saltiness. So, cursing all the while, I brought a pot of water to a simmer, and sliced the over-brined bacon into thick slices. I plunged them in, fingers crossed, hopes high, knowing it probably wouldn't work, knowing I'd probably be stuck with 3lbs of bacon-shaped sodium chloride.

But it worked.

Nick and I had absolutely delicious BLTs for lunch, with unctuous, meaty slabs of bacon hanging out. You can see the best bite, right there in the middle. I didn't miss the smokiness I've always associated with bacon. And now that it's no longer a salt-lick, the slightly garlicky, peppery, porky goodness is in the spotlight. It doesn't shrink when you cook it and the outside crisps up beautifully. The Famous Food Writer that inspired my Bacon Bender said I'd never go back to the watery, shrinking store-bought stuff again. I suspected the FFW would be right, but the extent of the FFW right-ness was surprising.

All I want to do is eat handfuls of this seriously ass-kicking bacon, bacon worthy of entry into Competitive Bacon Championships. Bacon that I made. Is it rude not to share?

3 comments:

SJS113LV said...

Hello, Your bacon sounds delish! I'm having my own acon dilemma, My daughter sent me several pounds of gourmet smoked bacon for Father's Day and I can't decide which to use for a terrific "Best Bite" BLT. I also need to get some yummy fresh tomatoes too.

Jack said...

Congrats on the bacon experiment as I was reading it and you mentioned saltiness my heart skipped a beat. I thought you were going to say you had to throw it out! The simmering water is a good idea. As a southerner do something similar we usually soak salt cured country hams in water for 24 hours before baking them (changing the water a few times).

FYI - had great pork at Momofuku last week - they have a Kentucky salt cured ham that they slice thin like prosciutto.

PS I haven't started Guanciale yet. The butcher was sold out of Hog Jowls - hopefully later this week.

Pam said...

I've never considered making my own bacon, but that looks FANTASTIC! And you make it seem like a breeze...