We are very excited about our new toy…A Bradley Smoker!
How amazing will it be to have your Vancouver event, private dinner party, corporate lunch or wedding catered and have freshly smoked bacon? There is no better flavour than good bacon.
We started this process last week with California Cult Classic Owner Frank Gigliotti. He was given a smoker and wanted to learn how to use it.
We started by ordering the best quality local pork bellies from Two Rivers Specialty Meats in North Vancouver.
We used a maple-cured smoked bacon recipe. This recipe is for sweeter bacon. There should be some sugar or sweetness to balance the salt, but if you prefer a more savoury taste, omit the maple syrup. If you like black pepper you can add it to the cure. Seasonings can vary infinitely, but it is the curing and the smoke that make bacon one of the greatest flavours on earth.
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 teaspoons pink salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
One 5-pound slab pork belly, skin on
1. Combine the salt, pink salt and sugar in a bowl and mix so that the ingredients are evenly distributed. Add the syrup and stir to combine.
2. Rub the cure mixture over the entire surface of the belly. Place skin side down in a 2-gallon Ziplock or nonreactive container just slightly bigger than the meat. ( The pork will release water into the salt mixture, creating a brine; it’s important that the meat keep in contact with this liquid throughout the curing process.)
3. Refrigerate, turning the belly and redistributing the cure every other day, for 7 days, until the meat is firm to the touch.
4. Remove the belly from the cure, rinse it thoroughly, and pat it dry. Place it on a rack set over a baking sheet tray and dry it in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 12 – 24 hours.
5. Hot-smoke the pork belly to an internal temperature of 150 degrees F./65 degrees C., about 3 hours. Let cool slightly, and when the belly is cool enough to handle but still warm, cut the skin off by sliding a sharp knife between the fat and the skin, leaving as much fat on the bacon as possible. (Discard the skin or cut it into pieces and save to add to soups, stews or beans, as you would a smoked ham hock.)
6. Let the bacon cool, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate or freeze it until ready to use.
This will give you approx. 4 pounds of smoked slab bacon.