The last time my brother came to visit, he brought me some great cuts of Alberta beef that are hard to get here in the mountains. I am going to visit him soon and I wanted to make something to bring in return. I decided on buckboard bacon, something he hasn't tried.
I found a nice big boneless pork butt.
However, when I unrolled it, it had several slashes and hunks of pork hangning of. I suspect the butcher was partaking of recreational pharmaceuticals. I trimmed it up as best I could and was able to get 4 pieces that were of decent size. The rest I have frozen for my next sausage project. I like my pork between 1 1/2 inch to 2 1/2 inch thick for dry curing. Any thicker and it takes too long to cure.
As long as I had four pieces, why not do four different varieties to give him a real range of different bacon? I couldn't think of a reason why not.
I will continue with a description of how I did a basic buckboard bacon and then will show what I did different for each of the other three bacons.
I weighed the piece of pork.
My basic bacon cure for each kilogram of pork is:
- 3 grams Prague powder #1
- 40 ml brown sugar
- 15 ml kosher salt
If you are metrically challenged for each pound of pork:
I put the piece of pork on a plate and rubbed the mixture into all surfaces.
I put the meat into a resealable bag and made sure to scrape all the mixture that fell onto the plate into the bag.
I measured the thickest part of the meat. It was 1 1/2 inches thick. I give 4 days per inch plus 2 days extra. So, this went in the fridge for 8 days. I turned the bag and rubbed the cure in every day or so.
After 8 days, I rinsed the bacon off with running water. I soaked it in cold water for 40 minutes, changing the water once.
I put the bacon on a rack and patted it dry with a paper towel. I let it sit on the rack, patting it dry every 15 minutes until the surface was dry and tacky. You can call it pellicle if you want to be fancy.
I put the bacon in my pellet smoker. The pellet smoker wasn't turned on. I put my A-Maze-N tube smoker with hickory pellets in and cold smoked the bacon for 6 hours.
I took the bacon in and put it in the fridge, uncovered, overnight.
The next day I put it in the pellet smoker at 180 F with hickory pellets. I smoked it to an internal temperature of 140 F.
I wrapped it and put it in the fridge for two days.
Here is the basic bacon sliced.
For the Berbere Bacon, I added 1 1/2 ml of berbere spice for each kg of meat to the curing mix before rubbing it in. Here it is sliced.
For the Pepper Bacon, I pressed coarse ground pepper into the bacon just before the first smoke.
Here is a picture of the sliced Pepper Bacon
For the Maple Bacon, I left the brown sugar out of the cure mix. I injected 40 ml of maple syrup per kilogram of meat into the pork.
Here is a picture of the sliced maple bacon.
Of course I had to fry some up for quality control so I had bacon and home fries for breakfast.
I love buckboard bacon and these all turned out great.
The basic bacon had a nice cure and smoke taste.
The Berbere bacon has just a touch of spice with a bit of heat. Not enough to overpower the bacon taste, just a different level of taste.
The Pepper bacon also has a nice pepper after taste that does not overpower the bacon.
The Maple bacon has a good maple taste. It is not the artificial maple taste of commercial bacon but a nice smooth maple sweetness that is just a touch different than the basic bacon.
I hope my brother likes these.