So I know most here are talking about curing and smoking some part of a pig so that it can be sliced and fried. I am dying to do this, but lack one key piece of equipment: a slicer. Long story short, my daughter works at a bar that servers several sandwiches/wraps that come with bacon. The bacon is thick cut, flavorful, and probably the best bacon my wife and I have had in recent memory. The owner said he gets 15 pounds for $50 and would order some for us if we wanted. That's just a no brainer... I've never heard of commercial bacon that cheap before, not to mention bacon that we really like.
So it came in today. I was a bit surprised to find that it's actually Hormel. Typically, Hormel from the grocery store is not very good. I suppose the stuff they sell to restaurants is just different?
Although the bacon is good, I'd like to put some extra smoke on it. Kind of awkward, since it's already sliced, but I'm going to give it a shot. I've had several people give me some input and tomorrow I think I'm going to divide up one of the packages and cook it 4 different ways, then give a blind taste test to the members of my family. Here are the 4 techniques I'll use:
1) 1/4th will be pan fried just the way it is
2) 1/4th will be cold smoked with hickory for ~2 hours and then pan fried
3) 1/4th will be cold smoked with hickory for ~2 hours, then I'll crank the heat on my MES up to 275 and keep the hickory flowing until the bacon gets crispy
4) 1/4th will be smoked with hickory in the MES at 275 until crispy
For the cold smokes, I was contemplating doing the first hour with the MES off, then the 2nd hour with the MES at 100.
Bacon can be baked and the end result is very similar to pan fried bacon. Some prefer it; I'm indifferent. However, it gave me the interesting idea -- I cook all of my other meat in the smoker with the smoke rolling, why not "bake" the bacon in the smoker with the smoke rolling too?
So tomorrow I'll have 4 plates with samples from each of the above, then make members of my family give their impressions on each one. I have no idea what to expect, but I'll report back as I'm preparing it and when the results come in!