As a newbie here, I want to thank all of you for all the great advice you so willing share. It has really made a difference, and sped up the learning curve considerably.
I would like to give back now by sharing with you.
We live in Phoenix and have the great fortune of have 2 growing seasons, and even though it is December, we're harvesting tomatoes. They are runty, but man, do they pack a punch!
The love of my life is a good Southern Girl from North Carolina who insisted that we plant not only Okra, but Collards as well. I grudgingly gave up precious garden space for these trifles, but what an eyeopener...
I made my first run at bacon a couple of weeks ago, and since I have no commercial slicer, I made my chunks rather small ( 6 inches) so I could get decent results with a good kitchen knife.
I did a quick cure with just kosher salt and Grade B maple syrup for 4 days. Then rinsed, dried and covered the bacon with fresh cracked pepper and smoked over cherry wood for 8 hours at 100-140 degrees. It turned out very well. I did a small batch and froze until needed.
I thought we had made the best BLT on the planet until we ran out of lettuce, so I grabbed a collard leaf as a substitute. A VERY happy accident! Raw Collard greens are really spicy and crunchy, and the flavor added a whole new dimension to the classic sandwich. If you are lucky enough to be able to procure some fresh greens, give it a try.
Heres a photo of my components. Good luck and happy smoking!