Monday, February 27, 2012

Buckboard Bacon

It seems like making bacon would be hard but it was pretty simple. This is buckboard bacon, it is made from a pork butt instead of belly. It tastes kind of like a mix of bacon and a light ham flavor. It was darn good is what it was.
I took a 6 lb pork butt, cut out the bone and cut it in half. I used this as a cure: 1 lb of pickling salt, 8 oz sugar and 2 oz of pink salt/prague powder. (Thank you David the Gastronomic Gardener. ). I mixed this up and then sprinkled slightly more than a quarter cup all over the two pieces of meat and made sure to rub it into and cracks or grooves in the meat. It was then put in a Ziplock bag and put in the refrigerator.
I turned the bag over once in the morning and once in the afternoon and rubbed the meat through the bag. It stayed in the refrigerator for 10 days. Yesterday I took it out and soaked it for about an hour in cold water to remove some of the salt.
Then I sliced off an outside piece and then the next piece and fried them up (the outside piece will be saltier so it is important to try the next piece as well) to make sure enough of the salt had been removed.
It was perfect. The meat was then patted dry with paper towels and put back in the refrigerator uncovered so that it could form a pellicle. A pellicle is a thin skin or coating of proteins that form on meat and helps the smoke adhere to it. The next day at 9:00 a.m. the meat was put in my smoker which was set on 200. It had the probe of my digital thermometer in it so that I could tell what the internal temperature of the meat was.
I smoked it with hickory until the internal temperature reached 155 F and then removed it from the smoker (it was about 2:00 p.m. when it reached that temperature).
 After it had cooled some it was put in the freezer for a couple hours so that I would be able to slice it easier.
Here are both pieces completely sliced.
I then packaged them 12 slices or pieces of slices (some, of course, weren't perfect) and vacuum sealed them.
I ended up with 5 packages of buckboard bacon. I am quite pleased with how well this went and am looking forward to trying more things in the smoker.

33 comments:

  1. That looks fabulous Becky! There is something seriously impressive about home-made charcuterie.

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  2. Well, there's one post that won't appeal to our vegetarian friends! To us carnivores that bacon looks great though.

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  3. I think the amazing thing is that this knowledge has only been gone for the last couple generations. Only a select few still know how to do it. It's rather a shame considering how easy it is.
    As for the vegetarians, they should have stopped following a long time ago when I was butchering quail on here, lol, if they are still here they can close their eyes on this one and wait for the next gardening or craft post.
    I happen to be quite impressed with my bacon making. Lately my self sufficiency has leapt into areas that I always wanted to explore but never though I would get the chance to. It is a really good feeling.

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  4. The price per pound around here is through the roof. I went on a search for pork belly and decided to heck with it and bought my own feeder pigs so I can feed them up myself.
    Last year I built a cold smoker just for bacon and ham smoking. The end of April is when I will be making my own.

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    1. Yup, that is why I got pigs this year too. Pork butt is basically the cheapest meat we have here right now. I got 17 lbs worth on Saturday for $1.39 a pound (two pork butts). I will likely use it for sausage as I think they are a bit big for bacon but I did have a small one in there to make more bacon with as well.
      My pigs are growing like weeds. Not sure when we will butcher. They should be ready in early fall here but that is our hottest time of year so they will likely get a bit bigger before we get a chance to butcher. I am sure that will be an interesting experience since we haven't done a pig before.

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  5. Wow! That looks good! We have not got as far are smoking yet, but it's on our list :)

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  6. Those turned out really nice! And it reminds me I'm out of bacon -time to order more belly!

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  7. This looks good! If I can find a good meat (from a farmer that I know) I would make this for my family to enjoy. Great post!

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  8. I made bacon similar to yours,mine was a bit salty. I didn't know about the soaking in the water bit. Also, I don't have a smoker (on my wish list) I used an old propane bar-b-que with the 'guts' removed. It worked ok, had to babysit it alot though!

    Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Replies
    1. We ate some tonight for supper. IT is SO GOOD!

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  10. Great idea for do it yourself bacon. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. Wow, how awesome is this idea! Dang, I put a smoker on the list for "later on" but I'm thinking sooner rather than later!!! Thanks for sharing.

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  12. WELL DONE! You sure are putting that smoker to good use :) My brother and I went together to buy one for my father for Christmas this year and I'd sure love to have one myself...

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    1. This electric one is really very easy to use. You do have to be there to drop in a few more chips every 20 minutes or so (never put in the full cup they say, the smoke would be too thick!)and you have to be there all day but you can get plenty of other things done. You just look out the window now and then and if the smoke is slowing up you go out sit in your lawn chair a minute until the smoke stops and then drop in a few more chips and go back in. It is really rather pleasant.

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  13. Really interesting, I love the fact that you're making bacon - and ensuring that the 'how to' gets passed on. One day perhaps I'll come back to this post and make my own bacon.

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    1. Whether you can actually do this now or not, it puts the idea in your head. If you know what a project entails, later when your chance comes up you will be more inclined to grab it. I had no plans to get a smoker this year until all the smoking posts I saw on the blog and then seeing my brother-in-laws smoker (I didn't even know they had these!).

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  14. That looks fantastic, I bet it tastes delicious. We always buy smoked bacon, hubby doesn't like unsmoked.

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  15. You make this sound so easy! And delicious......my stomach is growling!

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    1. Well, it was pretty easy but I didn't know it until I tried it.

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  16. My dad had a small wood fired smoker when I was growing up. He used it mainly to smoke the salmon he caught. To this day, I LOVE smoked salmon. And, a few years ago, my husband and I, touring a southern plantation home, happened into an ancient stone smoke house. Even after 100 years of disuse, this little stone building still smelled heavenly. And what an ingenious way for our ancestors to preserve their food, not to mention downright delicious. I am hoping to build a smoke house here on our "new" old farmstead for the future bacons and hams that are still on-hoof. And maybe a few fish... some chicken and turkey... possibly... Aww, who knows what might wander in there!

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    1. When we moved into my grandparents house there was a rather large smoke house. My father never used it for that but did use it to boil sap for maple syrup.

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  17. Your bacon/ham looks delish! A future project is an outdoor wood fired smoker for actually preserving the meat with smoke like our ancestors did.

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    1. Well, the smoke doesn't really preserve the meat, the cure does that but the smoke definitely makes it taste good.

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  18. That's true! Having delved into meat preservation a few years ago, I found out that there is "cold smoking" and "warm smoking". Cold smoking relies on a heavy salt/chemical preservative brine and then slow drying via a cool smoke house. This would be used for the hams/bacons that were hung in the attic (cool, dry storage) or dried fish. The meat then had to be reconstituted (soaked) to soften and be de-salted prior to eating. Warm smoking, however, allows the meat to retain moisture and must be refrigerated/frozen. The meat doesn't have to be reconstituted or de-salted prior to eating. During the smoking process, the heat partially cooks the meat to help kill bacteria since it doesn't have as much salt or chemical preservatives and you must finish cooking prior to eating it. I find the art of meat smoking fascinating.

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    1. Yes that is mostly true although I don't believe you have to use a wet cure to cold smoke, you can still use a dry cure and the hot smoked meat would be just as salty (since the curing is the same with either one) but you have the chance to soak it ahead of time instead of after you smoke it.

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  19. Love your blog, so much great info here. Cant wait to do the smokked back with a pork butt! Im a new follower

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    1. You will love it when you do Debbie. Glad to have you as a follower!

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  20. Wow! Now I'm wanting to make my own bacon! It looks so much cleaner and healthier for you too. Nice job.

    Sandi

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  21. I just saw this post as I was googling buckboard bacon - I make my own bacon (porkbelly) and am now looking for the buckbacon recipes. I found one that uses dijon mustard - am going to try that this week. I freeze all of my bacon so I don;t use the pink salt. After brining for over a week I roast the bacon to the min temp you indicated and then smoke it - requires less time in the smoker - I live in a cold part of NAmerica and make my bacon during fall/winter/spring when the outside temperature is colder so smoker doesn;t get too hot

    It is much healthier as you control the salt the sugar and the chemicals

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  22. For those that are looking for a smoker, I was also until I picked up a Traeger Wood Pellet Grill. What I like the most about the Traeger, you can grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise or BBQ on them. Very easy to use and the flavors are unbelievable. I will never go back to gas or charcoal.

    This weekend I will be attempting my first batch of buckboard bacon.

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