Yes, you read the title correctly. The bacon arms race is accelerating at a rapid pace and we have to continue to develop our techniques to ensure the vegetarians don’t win.
As I had depleted my hidden caches of bacon I needed to run a new batch to reduce my reliance on storebought bacon.
For bacon I use either belly or loin, the latter will yield shortcut style rashers while belly gives you US streaky style bacon. Both are good but the bellies didn’t look so great at the butcher. Pulled bacon you need shoulder or collar butt, same cut as pulled pork.
I brined the pork for 5 days with the following recipe:
6 teaspoons curing salt
1/4 cup black pepper
If using a high salt brine like this don’t forget to soak the pork overnight in fresh water or you’ll instantly double your blood pressure.
Now, I like a nice smoky bacon so to really amp it up this time I decided to combine two smoking techniques: cold smoke and hot smoke; more smoke than a Cypress Hill gig.
I used the same method as my cold smoked cheese except this time in the Hark offset smoker as it’s easier to keep the temps down.
The bacon was cold smoked for four hours with Aussie BBQ Smoke’s Big Red pellets then refrigerated overnight.
You can make bacon through only cold smoking but I don’t have a set up that I am comfortable attempting that with as yet – hot smoking will help kill any bugs and keep your food safe.
The next day I took the bacon out of the fridge, already giving off a sultry smokey aroma and put it back in the offset, this time at around 95 degrees celsius.
During this cook I also added a further layer to the delicious complexity that is bacon and glazed it with maple syrup. There was no science to this process just liberally basted maple syrup a few times throughout the cook.
There’s two different temp targets for these cuts – the loin needs to be 60 degrees of Kevin Bacon while the collar butt needs to reach 95 degrees internal temp in order to be shredded easily. They took around 6 hours and 12 hours to cook respectively.
Because I still had a bottle of Epic’s smoked IPA ‘We Love Bacon’ floating about I made myself a little bacon feast then vacuum sealed the rest for future deliciousness.