Thursday, February 3, 2011
The Salt Cure - #Charcutepalooza Challenge No.2
Robin and I have been preserving our own food for over 30 years. We learned about canning, pickling and jelly making from our grandmothers. When the #charcutepalooza challenge began flowing like a raging river through my twitter stream last month I decided it was time to launch my canoe and add a new life skill to our repertoire.
My friend chef Terry Kovall had been serving delicious house cured bacon at his restaurant, Farm Burger. I had been considering the idea of trying it myself when the 2nd challenge was announced. I contacted Tink Wade, owner of Tink's Grassfed Beef , a vendor at the farmers market I manage to see if she had a pork belly i could buy. She said she did and brought it to me at the market. When I tried to pay her for it she said she would give it to me to experiment with in return for my sharing my experience with her as she wanted to try it herself. How awesome is that!
What i love about this experience is the community-building that has occurred as a result of over 300 people working simultaneously on the challenges. The majority of us will never meet each other outside the twitterverse yet friendships are blossoming, information and support are graciously shared, and triumphs celebrated. An example: Neal Foley (@Podchef on twitter), chef, farmer and meat curing expert generously posted videos and photos of the simple smoke house he built at his Claddagh Farm in Maine. I am inspired by him to build my own smoke house in the next month or so, adding yet another skill to further our self-reliance.
Oh, we did cure some bacon too! And it is deellliiissshhhuuussss! Salty, peppery, with a hint of sweetness and undertones of bay. It fries up nice and crispy just like we like it! We have another piece of belly rolled up and hanging in the closet to dry into pancetta. It is hanging next to my suit!
Next time i go to a funeral i guess i will smell like bacon.