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For homo hirsutus, curing bacon and ham

 
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Old 18-May-2010, 02:18 PM (14:18)     1        39464
Gurdur
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BBQ For homo hirsutus, curing bacon and ham

How to cure your own bacon
and
how to make salami
and
how to cure ham
and
why you should.
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Old 18-May-2010, 04:05 PM (16:05)     2        39465
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My mouth is watering. I read each link through like a thriller novel. I don't know about the bacon, but I'm definitely going to try the salami. I've read up on it many times, but always had that fear that I would end up poisoning myself.
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Old 19-May-2010, 01:32 AM (01:32)     3        39475
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Twice today I've come back to this sight just to look at the finished, sliced salami and drool. I'll have to look into getting the animal-tissue casings.
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Old 21-May-2010, 04:00 PM (16:00)     4        39481
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So I read up on the salami. His comments are for British readers in the winter. In the American south it's way too damn hot for salami curing. I don't feel like putting out the cash for a wine-fridge, so I'm going to have to wait until september or november before I can make my own. Until then I think I'm going to try curing a small amount of bacon.
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Old 03-Jul-2010, 08:32 PM (20:32)     5        40053
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I'm off to the meat store to buy 4.5 lbs. of boned loin; then to the grocery store for the maple syrup and coarse sea salt...... my mouth is already watering.
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Old 03-Jul-2010, 10:16 PM (22:16)     6        40054
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I'm a bit worried. Here in the US we use pork belly to cure for "bacon." So, I figured I'd just go along with the above instructions and try using a boneless pork loin. It is a huge hunk of meat. I'm a bit worried that the salty-suggary goodness won't be able to penetrate all the way to the center. Anyway, I'll know in about ten days. Massaging the first dose of maple syrup into the meat was a very pleasant experience. Tomorrow, salt!
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Old 04-Jul-2010, 02:27 AM (02:27)     7        40055
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Best of luck!
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Old 05-Jul-2010, 03:37 AM (03:37)     8        40061
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Lemme know how it works out!
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Old 06-Jul-2010, 05:06 AM (05:06)     9        40074
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After two days it looks beautiful. The meat is starting to firm up and the color is gorgeous. If it turns out like shit then I'm just going to try doing the same thing with pork belly, center cut if I can get it. I'll try to remember to take pics when I'm changing the cure tomorrow.
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Old 06-Jul-2010, 09:28 AM (09:28)     10        40076
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Yay!
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Old 07-Jul-2010, 01:05 AM (01:05)     11        40083
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Just changed the cure. Camera batteries were dead, but they're now charging. I'll get pics when I flip them tomorrow.

The amazing thing is that when I poured off the cure (made up entirely of maple syrup and salt) it ran out of the pan like water. It was only a few degrees above freezing, so I figure if it was that liquidy then the cure must have been full of water sucked out of the meat. Rubbing it down with salt and then bathing in more maple syrup was a pleasure. Now I just have to flip it twice a day for four more days, clean the cure off and let it rest for two days, then slice it up and fry it.

Can't wait!
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Old 07-Jul-2010, 03:18 AM (03:18)     12        40085
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I couldn't help myself. It didn't need it, but I flipped it tonight anyway:





I just changed the maple syrup tonight and it's already watery with juice sucked out of the ham. I hope all that water getting sucked out is being replaced with salt and sugar. I think that's how it works anyway. It's kind of hazy looking because of the salt on it (coarse sea salt).
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Old 07-Jul-2010, 05:07 AM (05:07)     13        40086
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A last thought: I couldn't help myself. I had to go mess with it a bit more before getting ready for bed (haha, yeah I get it, playing with my meat....) and I noticed something. I think the meat is damn near half the thickness it was when I bought it. When it started it was about 2.5 times as wide as "normal" American, pork belly bacon. Right now it's damn near the same width as pork belly bacon. If it shrinks up any more (which it should because I put a fresh coat of salt and fresh maple syrup on it) then it will be thinner than what I'm used to. I think the deal might be that pork belly has way more fat in it than loin. The meat is shrinking up, but the fat is not. So.... loin or "back bacon" will shrink up a hell of a lot more than pork belly bacon when curing. Good to know.

To give you a better idea take a look at the first picture above. When I first put the two loin halves in that dish they were so big that they were touching. Now, if I push them to the sides they have a good three inches between them. Amazing! I'll take that to mean that their flavor is condensing too. They were also way taller than the dish sides. Now they barely touch the aluminum foil I keep it covered with.

Anyway, I know it was 5.5 lbs when I bought it (yes, I bought one more pound than I expected to) so I can weigh it when it's done and figure out about how much water it lost. Some of the weight in water will be replaced with salt/sugar/maple goodness, but most of the weight change should be from water loss.

BTW, it's creepy how well Gurdur knows me. He knew I wouldn't be able to avoid trying this.
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Old 07-Jul-2010, 05:24 AM (05:24)     14        40087
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From the article: "Day four: metamorphosis

Stephen calls. It's time to change the cure. I lift out the meat and rinse off the salt and syrup. There's been a distinct change. What was a pallid and flabby piece of pig has darkened and firmed into a texture..."

He's right. It doesn't look like the same piece of meat I bought Saturday afternoon.
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Old 07-Jul-2010, 09:34 AM (09:34)     15        40089
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I'm so happy for you... You should blog about this, seriously. It's blog-worthy.
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Old 07-Jul-2010, 10:28 AM (10:28)     16        40093
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Indeed, agreed.
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Old 08-Jul-2010, 03:11 AM (03:11)     17        40095
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Will do. I think I'll wait till the whole thing is over though.

BTW, I think it has still shrunk up the slightest bit today. It looks the same, just feels a bit denser.
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Old 12-Jul-2010, 03:30 AM (03:30)     18        40120
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I'll try to write up a blog entry this week. The tasting starts tomorrow. I did weigh it after cleaning the soak off of it. It lost 1.5 lbs during the cure.
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Old 12-Jul-2010, 06:44 PM (18:44)     19        40121
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Wow, that's a lot of water-weight. I can't wait to find out how it tastes! *jumps around excitedly*
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Old 13-Jul-2010, 12:22 AM (00:22)     20        40126
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So, it's definitely not bacon, at least not what any American would consider bacon. If you put it in front of any American without telling them what it was they would swear that it was country ham, which is still really damn good. I won't have any trouble eating and giving away the remainder. Next weekend I'll probably start over with some pork belly.
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Old 13-Jul-2010, 01:58 AM (01:58)     21        40127
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I just realized why it's "not bacon" to me. Almost all of our bacon here is smoked. That's something I'm not going to be able to do.
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Old 13-Jul-2010, 08:21 AM (08:21)     22        40131
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You don't have a barbeque that you could modify?
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Old 14-Jul-2010, 01:18 AM (01:18)     23        40137
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Nope.
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Old 14-Jul-2010, 03:44 AM (03:44)     24        40138
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So, I've been wondering what would make it taste so different. I realized one of the major differences between pork belly bacon and loin bacon is that loin bacon is way leaner. So, tonight I fried a few slices in a pan with some lard to add a little bit of fat to the party and see if it made any difference. It's a completely different taste. It's somewhere in between bacon and country ham. I think I might actually like it more than either. Pics:

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Old 14-Jul-2010, 06:18 AM (06:18)     25        40140
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Oh, that is so freaking beautiful.

You make me want to try it!
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Old 14-Jul-2010, 12:39 PM (12:39)     26        40142
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Looks great to me!
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Old 27-Jul-2010, 03:59 AM (03:59)     27        40256
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Finally got a blog written on it. It only took a few pints of Guinness to get it out.
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Old 18-Oct-2010, 11:29 PM (23:29)     28        41452
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Wheeking in 3 months later... I'm new and prefer my food as fresh, local and sustainable as possible. Wow, that must have been mighty tasty bacon homo hirsutus...

I was most delightfully paid for some work recently in a fabulously tasty haunch of parma ham. I'd met, scratched and communicated with the lovely pig in the early spring and followed the process of utilisation with much interest. I don't eat much meat but am happy to have met the animal who provided it.

A dichotomy I realise.
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Old 20-Oct-2010, 12:27 AM (00:27)     29        41469
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I'm not quite sold on the whole "fresh and local" movement. Sustainable, that just makes good sense, but I've had plenty of food that was local, fresh and tasted like dirt. On the other hand I just ate some asparagus from Peru (a couple thousand miles away) and it tasted as good as any asparagus I've bought at the farmer's market. I like the idea of eating local and seasonal, but for a lot of us that would mean subsisting through the winters on dried beans, heavy greens, and bread. I guess I just don't see any reason that sustainable has to mean that my options for dinner in the winter get narrowed down to the few plants that will produce something here in the winter. That's besides the fact that removing non-local foods from my pantry would mean food with not a single spice. I love herbs, but they just don't do the same thing for food that black pepper or clove will do.

Now, the slow food movement... that I can dig.
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