Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summertime, and the Living Is... Tightly Scheduled

I just wanna sit on the patio with a cool drink while the house cleans itself. But there's stuff I gotta schedule.
We bought a couple of pork bellies from two different proprietors, and a couple of full duck breasts from yet another. The idea was to cure them for bacon.
The pork bellies take about seven days on the salt. But we'd been having torturous high heat, and didn't want to smoke them (after the curing period) during red-flag weather. So we had to fine-tune our start date.
And, the duck doesn't want that much curing time, so we had to squeeze another salting date in there sometime before smoking day.
Sigh. Life is complicated.
We survived.
When smoking day arrived, all systems were go. It was cool but pleasant. A touch breezy (better to carry away the smoke, but not to threaten the coals).
As with our one previous experience smoking cured pork bellies, it was easy to keep the temp at 200ºF, and the desired internal temperature of the meat (150ºF) arrived in the expected two hours... or so. Amazingly, the teeny duck breasts took about as long as the big meaty pig slabs.
We can relax now. The bacon is in the freezer (well, ho yeah we tasted some bits fried up first).
I'll get around to telling you what it tastes like. Sometime.


dancingmorganmouse said...

O to have such a problem :) *drools*

Zoomie said...

I'm interested in how you slice it - do you have an electric slicer or are you just really clever with your knife?

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: It's hard work, innit? Now we have to schedule a bacon meal. Sigh.

Zoomie: Oh, just a good sharp knife. Not clever at all. We freeze the slabs whole, so when we want to slice off a couple of rashers, it's easy because the slab is firm.

peter said...

Funny- I have 2 different cures going right now for bellies. The duck is just hanging, though, for prosciutto. I may cure a couple more so they're ready to smoke along with the bellies.

It's hard to be us.

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: I SAW your cures! I guess I'm still tinkering with the basic cure, not yet ready to add flavors. I'm pretty impressed, laddie.
It's *cool* to be us.

Zoomie said...

I see! Frozen, it would be much easier to cut off a bit. Good idea.

J-in-Wales said...

How is the bacon for saltiness after a week? I normally cure for 3/4 days max since it will be going in the freezer, and that is as salty as I want it.

Never done the smoking thing though, and this does need to be rectified. I've been offered the use of a friend's smoker - a Heath Robinson affair made from their decommissioned 'ty bach' (Welsh for outside loo!)

cookiecrumb said...

J-in-Wales: Darn, it came out a bit salty. Seven days was perfect for last year's batch, but I might have applied it more scantily then. I am sorry, because there is nothing I can do now. But tell myself "It's not TOO salty."
Smoking is -s-u-c-h- a lovely trick. Flavor! I hope you get a chance to try. (Our smoker does not resemble an outdoor loo; it looks like R2D2.)

Chilebrown said...

Oh Wow, I love you man!

cookiecrumb said...

Chilebrown: There will be tastes for you. You will love the duck.

Sweet Bird said...

Duck and bacon in one post? I'm in heaven.

I believe I could actually live on smoked duck alone...