One of my goals in establishing this blog was to share some of my favorite recipes. I never knew it would be so goddamn hard.
To be clear, the blogging itself isn’t so difficult. The tough part, I find, is capturing what I do in nice, neat stages. Case in point from a few months ago:
Case in point 2–my wife and I ended up in a AAA 5-diamond restaurant a few months ago. As I’ve said before, I’m not big on the “food porn” sub-genre of blogging, but thought since it’s rare for us to eat out in the first place, I may as well document it.
So this is how I started…
… And after a couple of courses of nearly forgetting to take a picture, this ended up happening.
In a nutshell that’s why I’m so bad at blogging my culinary adventures. I’m just too damn eager to eat them.
Luckily, I had a little more patience with a grand foray over the last couple of weeks into dry aged, cold-smoked bacon.
I started with two and a half pounds of local, pastured pork belly from Whole Foods and the basic pancetta recipe and method laid out in Ruhlman and Polcyn’s Charcuterie.
The cure consisted of about 1/4 cup salt, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and half a teaspoon of pink salt. Add to that a teaspoon of nutmeg, tablespoon of crushed bay leaf, and 2 tablespoons coarsely-crushed black pepper. I rubbed the pork belly all over and put it in a gallon bag for shy of a week, turning occasionally. Afterwards, I rinsed it, patted it dry, wrapped it in cheese cloth, and hung it in a part-open cooler for about a week and a half. You know. So the cats don’t get to it.
I probably should have photographed this. Meh.
I’d never cold-smoked before, so this was something of an experiment. I have a Chargriller with an offset smoke box and dumped just a couple of barely-lit hardwood coals into the box. I added the bacon to the main compartment on top of a nice, clean wire rack. Nearby, I placed a tray of ice cubes to keep the heat in the chamber down. I added a handful of hickory chips to the barely-smoldering coals about every fifteen minutes, or until it had stopped smoking. The vents spent most of the smoking time closed or barely-cracked–I didn’t want it to get hot enough to cook. It was a relatively cool summer day and I managed to keep the smoking chamber at about 100 degrees F.
Here’s the result at about the half-way point.
It could have smoked a little longer, but I wanted a delicate smoke flavor and decreed it done after about two and a half hours of moderate to heavy smoke. The end result: one of the best BLTs I’ve ever had.
I consider that there’s a picture at all to be a sign of a modest improvement.