I’ve long had an appreciation for smoked meat — sausage, brisket, ribs, etc. — however only freshly did ns decide to action up come the smoker and shot my hand at this cooking method. Contact it the hubris of a man who’s operated in the meat market for much more than ten years, but I assumed combining a nice piece of meat with a couple of burning mesquite logs would yield a delicious, tender and juicy meal. However I soon had first-hand understanding of smoking’s reputation together a temperamental food preparation method, and also quickly realized that smoking meat is a nuanced process that calls for patience and attentiveness that’s honed through numerous experience. After ~ a couple of failures (or successes, if girlfriend ask my dog who obtain a taste of my less-impressive spoils), I enhanced my technique.

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Eating smoked meat in Texas typically means taking under a brisket-rib-sausage plate at her favorite barbecue joint, yet I wanted to branch out and also make bacon. Smoke has been used to cook and also preserve pork ship for generations and it’s in reality surprisingly basic to make.

You only require three things to do bacon: pork belly, healing (salt, sugar and also time) and also smoke.



Pork ship – When picking a belly I check both reduced ends to make sure ribbons that meat pass through throughout. Few of my smoking cigarettes buddies have said squaring turn off the ends of the new pork belly — they speak this exposes the inner to the cure.While the presentation is nice, I like leaving the ends rough because they deserve to be chopped off post-smoking for usage as seasoning in small beans or stewed greens. You’ll discover pork ship in many of our stores and it’s constantly sourced native pigs the are elevated to our requirements of no antibiotics and no growth promotants, and the global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step pet Welfare Rating.

Cure – I use a 2-to-1 ratio of salt come sugar. I favor brown sugar for a small added sweetness, however you have the right to also shot maple syrup because that a more caramel-like flavor. Part of the funny of smoking cigarettes your own meat is that you can experiment v the seasonings in your cure. I newly ground up combined peppercorns and also spread the course grinds over a slab.

I usage a dried cure, i beg your pardon is similar to a dried rub once making brisket. (Wet brines, or soaking the meat in salted water, are generally messier and can an outcome in a watery bacon.) coat the skin and also flesh through the cure, and rub it in to make sure every nook and also cranny is covered. Let it sit in the fridge, uncovered, for 5 come 7 days, turning daily. When the meat is firm come the touch it is time to smoke. Rinse off the cure, and also pat dry.


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Smoke – Wood selection is a matter of preference. I love bacon smoked with oak or hickory, but I always seem to gravitate towards mesquite – ns guess it is what happens once you prosper up on the mesquite-dotted levels of Northwest Texas.I use a hot-smoked method, maintaining the smoker between 150 and also 180 levels Fahrenheit. When the temperature is stable, ar the slab that cured pork belly on the grate.

I have found that smoking cigarettes the meat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours is sufficiently long sufficient to let the hardwood flavor permeate the meat and produce the affluent brown shade characteristic the bacon.

Let the bacon cool in the refrigerator overnight (I recognize this will certainly be hard, but bear with me). After it has cooled, square up the edge of the non reduced surface, if you have actually not already done this before curing the meat. These are the piece I conserve for seasoning. Slice to your wanted thickness, warm it up and enjoy the magic that is homemade bacon.

There are books and also online sources if you want to dive deeper into smoking. Mine guiding light was Charcuterie: The craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.

If every one of this sounds yes, really delicious but you don’t want to take it the time, some of our meat departments bring in-house cured and also smoked bacon in the fresh case, so you can still bring home the bacon.

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Have you ever before smoked your very own meat? How’d it go? Share several of your tips and lessons in the comments below.