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Observations from the 2007 DR Spring Picnic - SIGBacon:

FermentEverything has mad skills beyond brewing. His homemade bacon might have experienced considerable cooking shrinkage, but was deee-licious.
WF thick-cut is really annoyingly sweet, and cooks slowly (except for their Black Forest variant)...I'm no longer enthusiastic about it.
Wegman's applewood-smoked uncured is really really good for thin-cut.
So is Neopol's, even though at first glance it appears to be mostly fat.
The buckboard "bacon" from Old Pioneer's Kitchen (Vienna) is unlike other bacon...more of a bacon/ham hybrid. Tasty in its own right.
I'm still crazy for that utterly smoky Benton's bacon.

I wish I'd had the time to taste the other bacon types!

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I brought the Neopol's bacon (The "Baltimoron" bacon) and was very skeptical because it looked to be 98% fat. Well, it held its own surprisingly well. I wouldn't want a plate full of it though. The Niman bacon was super salty and chewy. FermentEverything's was a real winner!

And everything tasted better with that maple syrup - yum!

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SIGBacon ;) -- Dave you have just outed yourself as an IT guy.

That Benton's is seriously good. I was happy that the Dutch farmer's market bacon I brought stood up as well as it did against the higher price big store brands. I reconfirmed my dislike of the Niman Ranch bacon.

You do realize that the smell of bacon is now permanently entrenched in that grill, right?

(not that that's a bad thing)

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FermentEverything has mad skills beyond brewing. His homemade bacon might have experienced considerable cooking shrinkage, but was deee-licious.

Click

I brined the belly to infuse the salt/sugar mix (instead of a dry-cure, which takes much longer), so I imagine the cooking shrinkage was because of added liquid from the brine, and also because I only got an hour or so of smoke. I imagine a little more dehydration would have occurred if I'd gotten a full 6-8 of smoke. Oh, experiments with pork.

Of the ones I got to try (only 3 or 4), the super-smoky Benton's was my favorite. Not sure if I would use it the same way as normal bacon, but I could definitely see incorporating it into dishes that want for a good bit of smoky flavor.

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Does anyone know who, in the DC area, sells bacon in slab form? I've asked at Whole Foods in Silver Spring and at the Laurel Meat Market and no dice.

And, can you freeze it in slab form? How long?

The only place I've been able to find any recently was Home Farm in Middleburg, and theirs is not cheap. Wegmans and Harris Teeter don't stock it, although the butcher at Wegmans did say they could order it.

As far as freezing, I didn't see any reason not to go ahead and freeze what I had left over.

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Does anyone know who, in the DC area, sells bacon in slab form? I've asked at Whole Foods in Silver Spring and at the Laurel Meat Market and no dice.

And, can you freeze it in slab form? How long?

I am not positive, but I believe that if you go to the totally fuckin' cool DC Central Farmers Market (approachable either on NY Ave NE or Florida Ave NE, at or near 4th Street) the building with all the butcher shops (can't miss it -- it's the only building in the place that looks new --OK, 60s instead of 20s). Also a one-stop shop for pigs head, tails, trotters, goat meat and all that other totally cool stuff you can't always find at the Safeway.

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Second the rec for the DC central market. And if you get a head, they will saw it in half for you!

I've been searching for slab for a couple of years now, and have struck out at various Whole Foods, Wegmans, Balducci's, Dean & Deluca, Wagshals, and every mainstream supermarket within ten miles of my house.

Slab bacon will keep for a long time in the freezer if it's wrapped well in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.

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Does anyone know who, in the DC area, sells bacon in slab form? I've asked at Whole Foods in Silver Spring and at the Laurel Meat Market and no dice.

Just a hunch, but I'd check with either "Amish" markets in the Maryland suburbs - Beiler's Meats at the Burtonsville market, or Lancaster County Meats at the Germantown market. Only open Thu/Fri/Sat.

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Thanks so much to everyone for the suggestions on where to find me some real slab bacon. I happened to be at the Olde Worlde Deli in Randallstown, MD west of Baltimore on Liberty Road buying some goodies for lunch with my mother and family and they actually had two kinds of slab bacon there. I greedily bought almost 2 pounds of the stuff and am presently dreaming of ways to use it -- soon!

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If you ever find yourself heading down I-75 south of Knoxville, and see the sign for exit 72 (Loudon), you would be doing yourself a disservice by continuing down the interstate and not taking the half-hour detour over to Highway 411 to visit Benton's in person. It is absolutely the best-smelling place I have ever been in my entire life. The bad news is, they're so swamped by orders at the moment that they're not taking phone or online orders until after New Year's. They were also out of smoked bacon. The good news is, their regular bacon is also fantastic, and we have a pound of it and 2 pounds of smoked ham to tide us over until they start taking orders again. :blink:

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I have some lecithin at home and am trying to figure out if there is a way I can use it to make a bacon foam. I've never used lecithin to make any foams at all. Can anybody provide me with any guidance?

Googling 'lecithin foam' produced this, click. Get yourself a liquid and an immersion blender and you should be good to go. As for bacon liquid, hmmm...poaching, pureeing?

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Googling 'lecithin foam' produced this, click. Get yourself a liquid and an immersion blender and you should be good to go. As for bacon liquid, hmmm...poaching, pureeing?

I think that is really my problem: getting some sort of bacon liquid (I have an immersion blender). Maybe some combo of poaching and pureeing? Perhaps adding a bit of bacon grease? Though who know how the grease might affect the foam.

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Posted in another thread, but what the hey....

baconvodkawa9.th.jpg

Bacon Vodka

makes up one pint

Fry up three strips of bacon.

Add cooked bacon to a clean pint sized mason jar. Trim the ends of the bacon if they are too tall to fit in the jar. Or you could go hog wild and just pile in a bunch of fried up bacon scraps. Optional: add crushed black peppercorns.

Fill the jar up with vodka. Cap and place in a dark cupboard for at least three weeks. That’s right- I didn’t refrigerate it.

At the end of the three week resting period, place the bacon vodka in the freezer to solidify the fats. Strain out the fats through a coffee filter to yield a clear filtered pale yellow bacon vodka.

Decant into decorative bottles and enjoy.

(found here: http://www.browniepointsblog.com/2008/01/2...e-bacon-vodka/)

Oh, and I couldn't pass this up:

eliasamari2kp5.th.png

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Picked up at Franklin's: Uncle Oinker's Savory Bacon Mints. I haven't worked up the nerve to try one.

(For those of you not already familiar with it...Archie McPhee is the greatest novelty store ever. Here's a link to all of their bacon products.)

I assume many of you are familiar with the Dan Phillips of the Grateful Palate - importer of some of Australia's greatest wines and certifiable bacon freak.

http://www.gratefulpalate.com/?p=Category_107

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Cibola has stopped making their hickory smoked bacon because the recipe included sodium nitrite. We are devastated.

I'm guessing sodium nitrate is pretty essential for bacon, or is smoking it enough to impart that glorious flavor. I bought sodium nitrate/preservative free bacon from Babes in the Wood. It was very different from what I'm used to. It didn't seem smokes and had no bacon-y flavor. It just tasted of pan fried pork :mellow:

I bought a 1 lb. pack of thick cut Gwatltny bacon for $3 at Safeway and now am safely ensconced in bacon heaven.

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I'm guessing sodium nitrate is pretty essential for bacon, or is smoking it enough to impart that glorious flavor. I bought sodium nitrate/preservative free bacon from Babes in the Wood. It was very different from what I'm used to. It didn't seem smokes and had no bacon-y flavor. It just tasted of pan fried pork :mellow:

I bought a 1 lb. pack of thick cut Gwatltny bacon for $3 at Safeway and now am safely ensconced in bacon heaven.

My understanding is that for cured meats, the sodium nitrate and nitrite are to maintain the red color and act as a preservative. Otherwise, the meat can turn a rather unappetizing grey color. Heavy salting is a preservative in and of itself, but the meat would need to be much saltier if nitrates are not used. Smoking--in the case of bacon, it is cold smoking, which is a complex operation--is primarily for flavor. Babes in the Woods may have sold you salt-cured pork belly, which is bacon, after all. It is just not smoked bacon.

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My understanding is that for cured meats, the sodium nitrate and nitrite are to maintain the red color and act as a preservative. Otherwise, the meat can turn a rather unappetizing grey color. Heavy salting is a preservative in and of itself, but the meat would need to be much saltier if nitrates are not used. Smoking--in the case of bacon, it is cold smoking, which is a complex operation--is primarily for flavor. Babes in the Woods may have sold you salt-cured pork belly, which is bacon, after all. It is just not smoked bacon.

Thanks, that makes sense. I was not expecting a more plain pork flavor. It wasn't salted a whole lot...maybe a little. Perhaps we'll try to cook more up with some kosher salt and pepper sprinkled on before it goes in the pan.

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Woo-Hoo!

I stumbled across this thread and am so happy! I love me some bacon . . . and most other parts of that magical animal called a pig. I wanted to share with ya'll a blog post I wrote talking about my bacon-infused bourbon. Bacon-Infused Bourbon (The bacon-bourbon is at the last portion of the post, scroll down if you don't want to read the first part . . . buy why would you do something like that??? :mellow: )

One of the drinks I'm playing around with using the bacon-infused bourbon is apple based:

1.5-2 oz apple cider (not the hard kind, but the cloudy fresh squeezed kind)

.5 oz Calvados

1 oz (maybe 1.5 oz) bacon infused bourbon

.25-.50 oz maple syrup

dash or two of Angostura, Fee's Aromatic or Fee's Whiskey barrel aged bitters (your choice)

Shaken, served up. Garnish with a thin twill of green apple skin.

Not bad, but needs tweaking.

Cheers,

Marshall

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Woo-Hoo!

I stumbled across this thread and am so happy! I love me some bacon . . . and most other parts of that magical animal called a pig. I wanted to share with ya'll a blog post I wrote talking about my bacon-infused bourbon. Bacon-Infused Bourbon (The bacon-bourbon is at the last portion of the post, scroll down if you don't want to read the first part . . . buy why would you do something like that??? :mellow: )

One of the drinks I'm playing around with using the bacon-infused bourbon is apple based:

1.5-2 oz apple cider (not the hard kind, but the cloudy fresh squeezed kind)

.5 oz Calvados

1 oz (maybe 1.5 oz) bacon infused bourbon

.25-.50 oz maple syrup

dash or two of Angostura, Fee's Aromatic or Fee's Whiskey barrel aged bitters (your choice)

Shaken, served up. Garnish with a thin twill of green apple skin.

Not bad, but needs tweaking.

Cheers,

Marshall

I'll volunteer to be on the tasting panel as you tweak!

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Cibola has stopped making their hickory smoked bacon because the recipe included sodium nitrite. We are devastated.
I just discovered this last night when I opened a package of Cibola bacon to make German potato salad. It's not the same thing at all, IMO! I'm going to have to find another source for good bacon. The farmer from whom I regularly buy such things doesn't have a smoker, so he offers "fresh bacon," which is basically sliced pork belly. Also not the same thing.

The bacon I got as part of the half-hog I ordered last fall, processed by Fauquier's Finest, was awesome, so perhaps that's a good place to start.

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I make bacon breadcrumbs as a topping when a little crunchy smoke is called for. They are quite easy, put a couple of strips of bacon and panko into a food processor and pulse until they are all mixed together then spread them on a cookie sheet and bake at 250 until crispy. You will likely need to get pour off and blot off some of the grease as it cooks or they will not become crispy.

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