Sheeyit that’s good bacon. And I don’t mean just good bacon. No sir, that’s good bacon. Wanna know how I know? Cause I probably had 1/3 of that pound I bought, that’s how. Interested to know why I ate so much?
Cause it’s good bacon, that’s why. And anyone who’s a fan of bacon knows exactly what I’m talking about. Bacon can have a complex symphony of flavors, textures, smells and what happens 10 minutes from then. By this I mean a salty cure that makes you squimble around the room or some bitterness than you can’t shake. Or just repeating the said flavors for hours. So, this is why I’m taking the time to lay this down. It’s worth your time. Plus I think I got some pretty cool images out of it as well.
I hit the Saturday Berkeley farmer’s market a week ago last Saturday with my usual gusto and bypassed the fresh stone fruits and veggie stands. I did however come back for some strawberries, Zachary really enjoys them. I noticed Ted of Highland Hills Farm had a few packages of bacon. I opted for a nice beef steak and as I was leaving asked Ted about the bacon. The belly is from Ted’s piggies, but he’d sent the meat to Angelo’s Meats of Petaluma for curing and smoking. I happen to know first hand that Angelo knows what he’s doing. So I grabbed pound of bacon on my way out.
It sat in my fridge for 5 days, no time for fun. Surely I could have cooked it sooner. But the deal is I’m not just anyone. If I’m going to play Meat Meister, it has to be on my terms. I need time to cook it nicely, get my camera ready and most importantly, take time to taste the bacon. And I’m talking just bacon here. No pancakes, burgers or eggs to goof up the flavors. Mama and I need personal time to get to know the bacon. This usually takes about 20 minutes from first bite to finish.
Just so you know, it isn’t easy making raw meat look decent. Nope.
My weapon of choice for bacon is a largish cast iron dutch oven with a bacon press. Sometimes I like my bacon floppy and sometimes a little firmer. I cooked it firmer this time, but it was still chewy with some bendy when lifted.
The cut of the bacon was thick enough so it didn’t curl in to a piggy’s tail. I suppose some must like their bacon curly, I don’t. Actually, who cares? It’s bacon for crissakes.
When it was done, I patted it dry with paper towels and I hunkered down with the first piece. I always get the first piece, know why? I’m the cook, that’s why.
A salty ripple came first and I thought, “oh no!” But it subsided in to a luscious sugary turn. After salty slid away and the sugary was playing, out came the smoky love. And while these guys were playing I noticed the pork taste of the meat was quite different. It had a warmer, not quite milder flavor, but it was tremendous. It went perfectly with the cure. I forgot to ask Ted what kind of pigs this batch came from, sorry.
And then? You know what? Take a close look to the left of these strips of bacon.
Chilebrown noticed it right off. The bacon had little bit of the skin/rind/plate left. Tee hee, we have BACON GUM !!! Oh man, such a treat. So, we have excellent meat flavor, excellent cure combination, solid smoking action and a little bacon gum on the side. Now comes the wait. I waited for 10 and then 20 minutes to see what, if anything happened. Was the salt or smoke overpowering? Any bitterness? Was your mouth coated in what I call the Fat Smack? That fat coating like when you eat ice cream with a high butter fat content. None of the above. What’s not to love here?
Actually, there is a downside. While Ted produces some outstanding product, he’s not a Mega-Lo Mart. Sometimes he has bacon, beef or a fine goat leg. And sometimes he doesn’t. So don’t break the man’s chops if you don’t get what you want that day. Wait until next week or the week after.
Sheeyit that’s good bacon.