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Apple-wood-smoked Berkshire Bacon

11.11.08
Charcuterie item #1 from my Berkshire hog is in the bag: Bacon. Apple-wood smoked bacon, to be precise. Perhaps of all my bacon-achievements, this is my proudest. It was my first smoking in my new yard, with apple pruned from my very apple tree, smoking pork that a friend and I butchered with our very own hands, from a pig that was lovingly raised not too far from here.

It had the usual dry cure for a week with a couple bay leaves I bought in Lacoste this summer. For some reason I’ve grown attached to bay leaves as a souvenir. I suppose they’re light and inexpensive – two very important criteria. But more likely, it’s because every time I pull a bay leaf from my stash, it brings me back to lovely places. For the past 2-3 years, the bay leaves in my kitchen have all been sourced from markets in France.

Anyway, after a week and change of curing, it sat overnight in my fridge to form its pellicle. Today, surrounded by our first blanket of snow of the season, my fire seemed to be in a sweet spot of just hot enough to last a good time, but just cool enough to not render fat or cook it too hot. After a few hours of pork-belly-and-apple-smoke-love, it now sits for yet another night to let the smoke flavors permeate.


Ah, bacon.

There’s a good chance I’m leaving in the morning for my annual calf moose hunt, and I can’t wait!! Bacon-wrapped moose tenderloin medallions are on the menu.

Little known fact: I spent many years of my adult life with a bacon aversion. One sad day, I made trips back and forth from my bed to the toilet to get sick – one of the times tripping on a guitar case latch and slicing open the top of my foot. Whilst these fun events unfolded, my dear mom was rendering bacon [god bless her]. For years thereafter, the thought of bacon made me sick.

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