Donald's Bacon Bytes

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Homemade Bacon – Garlic

Topic: Cooking | Tags:

Apr
18
2015

Whole pork belly

I’ve been making my own bacon for a while and keep forgetting to take pictures and post. I have a few different recipes but this garlic version is one of my favorite.

Pork belly can sometimes be hard to find. When I was in Oregon, I would go to a butcher and buy a whole pork belly. They always had them in stock. There are not very many butchers in the Easy Bay (CA) so I’ve had to look around a while. A good place to check is an Asian supermarket. I’ve been getting them there but you’ll need to ask them to remove the skin for you. You can try it yourself if you have some good sharp knifes but it is much easier if they do it for you.

The picture at the top is from a half pork belly that I got from a butcher in Oregon. I cut this one in half and then weighed each half. I generally adjust my recipe based on how much the belly weighs. I don’t do any crazy math, just try to estimate it all. The half that I did with garlic came to 2 pounds and 7.6 ounces.

After it is all weighed out, mix up the ingredients in an bowl. Be sure to get them mixed well and de-clumped. The brown sugar likes to clump up.

Since the bacon needs to sit in the fridge for a while, I like to put the meat in a zip loc bag. I then pour the seasoning in the bag, seal it up and then rub it all around.

While the bacon cures in the fridge, I usually go out once a day and rub the seasoning around (through the bag, without opening), flip the bacon over and put it back in the fridge.

The bacon is done and ready to smoke after about 6 days. You can tell it is ready by how firm the meat gets.

To smoke the bacon I have a MasterBuilt Electric Smoker (Amazon) along with the cold smoke attachment (Amazon). I use the cold smoke attachment because I don’t want to cook the bacon. You have to be careful though. If the meat is not properly cured, you will not want to have it in the smoker beyond 4 hours, maybe even a little less. Bacteria can start to grow when meat is left out at room temperature for too long. The cure helps prevent that bacteria from growing. I usually smoke for 4-6 hours depending on how patient I am.

After it is done smoking I put it right into the freezer. It can be really hard to cut when it has been sitting at room temperature. Be careful what freezer you put this in. If you have anything like ice or other things that are packaged with thin packaging then those things will smell and maybe taste a little smokey. Not always in a good way either.

For slicing, I have a Chef’s Choice 615 Premium Electric Food Slicer (Amazon) along with a non serrated blade (Amazon). This works great for slicing bacon.

Once it is all sliced, I usually package it up with my vacuum sealer (FoodSaver V3240 – Amazon) with enough bacon to last me 4-5 days (I eat bacon every day for breakfast) and then put it all in the freezer. Since I use the vacuum sealer a lot, I found have been buying the packing in rolls and cutting my own bags. I found that the VacMaster Full Mesh Vacuum Packaging Roll works well(Amazon).

The bacon lasts pretty well in the freezer. I usually have about 6-10 weeks worth of bacon. Since not all the slices are full slices (due to the belly not being perfectly square), I will take the odd pieces and chop them up and use when cooking vegetables like cabbage or brussels sprouts.

Ingredients

Pork Belly – 2 lbs 7.6 oz
1/4 cup sugar
2.5 tbsp kosher salt
.5 tbsp brown sugar
1.5 tbsp garlic powder
3 grams insta cure #1 (Amazon)

 



Lunchmeat Tacos

Topic: Cooking |

Jul
12
2014

Looking for something a little more paleo, I made what I call lunchmeat tacos. Not sure if this is totally paleo, but it is close.

Take a slice (or 2) of lunch meat, add on some cabbage to give it some crunch, then some avocado and finally a little “secret sauce” to spice things up.

I made the sauce by combining vegenaise, coconut aminos (similar to soy sauce) and sriracha. The amounts of each of these can be tweaked depending on your desired level of spicy.

These turned out pretty tastey. I’ll be making them again for sure.

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Mini Bacon Fatty

Topic: Cooking | Tags:

Mar
13
2014

Mini Bacon Fatty

If you like bacon, you have probably heard of the bacon fatty. Sometimes call the bacon explosion, bacon bomb or other such names. It is basically a bacon weave wrapped around sausage which is stuffed with something in the middle and then bbq’d or smoked.

I wanted to experiment with that concept but make something a little smaller. Something a little less complicated and maybe even easier to eat. Someone probably has already done this but I haven’t.

I started out by slicing up mushrooms and onions and threw them in a pan with olive oil to start browning. I kicked it up a notch by adding some salt, garlic and balsamic vinegar. I let all that saute that until it browned and the balsamic started sticking. While that was cooking, I shredded some carrots and set them aside for later.

Now that my filling was ready to go, it was time t
o get the sausage ready. I took 1 pound of sausage, divided it into 9 chunks and then flattened them all out so that the filling could go right on top.

After the filling was done and the sausage was lined up, I proceeded to put the mushroom mixture into the middle of each sausage patty along with some of the shredded carrots. I didn’t cook the carrots because I wanted a little bit of crunch and texture in the middle of this thing.

After that was assembled, I rolled up the sausage with the filling hidden away inside. I ended up having too much filling in most of them and had to take some out as I tried to roll them up.

Once rolled up I wrapped each one with a slice of bacon. The bacon I used was a sweeter bacon that had a pepper crust. It was from one of my homemade batches that I cold smoked and I knew this would add some extra smokey flavor (note, 2 pieces were from my jalapeno cilantro batch of bacon which is why you’ll see some green tinge to those pieces in the pictures). Sprinkle on some seasoning and you are ready to smoke your fatty.

I smoked these bad boys at 250° for around 60 minutes.

After letting them rest for a few minutes I tore right into one. OMG, these things are out amazing!

Summary:

Cooked Filling

  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Balsamic
  • Salt

Uncooked Filling

  • Shredded Carrots

The Rest

  • 1 # sausage dived into 9 patties
  • 9 slices of bacon
  • Some kind of bbq rub (I used a rub that I normally use for pulled pork that is based on one called Memphis Dust)

Cooking

  • Smoke at 250° for about 60 minutes

Verdict

  • AMAZING!

 



Bacon S’mores

Topic: Cooking | Tags:

Aug
12
2013

We had some friends over for dinner last Saturday and decided to make s’mores out back for dessert. After making a few I started thinking “I wonder how this would taste with bacon?” Not if it would be good, but how good it would be. I mentioned it to my friend sitting next to me and he got excited about the idea. So, I ran into the house with my marshmallow stick, grabbed a piece of bacon, weaved it onto the stick and went back outside to cook it over the fire. If you are going to do this, you gotta cook the bacon over the fire also!

 

Bacon S'mores

Bacon S’mores



Half Marathon

Topic: Fitness | Tags: ,

May
04
2013

Exactly 1 year after struggling through a 5k I made it through a half marathon! I ran the Eugene 5k race last year in 32:55 for a pace of 10:36 per mile. That was a pretty good pace considering I had just started running 2 months before that and could barely go a couple minutes without stopping when I had started running. One year later I was able to complete the half marathon in 2:18:23 for a pace of 10:34 per mile. I had beaten my 5k pace and ran over 4 times further!

What now? Run a full marathon? Hang up my running shoes? Not really sure. It took a lot of time to train for this. Some weeks I was running over 25 miles a week and it was hard to get that many miles done. For a marathon, that isn’t very much. It would be cool to have a marathon under my belt but the time commitment for training is a bit of a hurdle. For now though I am going to scale done the running and hit the weight room.

donald at hayward