don't know if I've ever posted this here, but this is from my old board, describing my first bbb.
As I write this, I am curing my first buckboard bacon, a homemade bacon made not from the pork belly, but from the pork shoulder. I haven't tried it yet, but from reading many other's opinions, it is divine.
A little history first, then the process of makin' bacon!
We travel back in time to the old west, where pioneers used every part of the pig except the squeal. One of the most important parts of the pig was lard, used for cooking and making soap. This came mainly from the pork belly, which of course is where bacon comes from today.
Ever notice how much fat is in each strip of bacon that you buy at the store? Now you get the picture. That valuable pork fat (which rules, as Emeril says), was necessary for survival. However, curing a pork shoulder, then smoking it to 140 degrees, could deliver a lean, tasty bacon! And the pioneers needed hearty breakfasts, with big, thick slices of bacon. Some of my internet friends who made this swore by it, saying I'd never go back to store-bought bacon again. So I ordered some cure from www.himtnjerky.com
. The directions were fairly simple except they called for a ten day curing process! Basically, you rubbed a butt with the cure, put it in a plastic bag for 10 days, and waited. And waited. I had never anticipated a breakfast so much!
Here's the directions, using the Hi Mountain cure, followed by a homemade cure with directions...
Debone a Boston Butt, or use a boneless butt, weighing about 5 pounds. Slice in half lengthwise so that each
piece is about 3 to 3 and half inches thick. This allows the rub to cure the meat properly. Rub the cure in thoroughly, and don't forget the sides.
Put the butts in plastic ziplock bags and put in the refrigerator for 10 days. Turn every few days.
Now we're ready to smoke. Rinse well and pat dry. If it's not dry, the color won't be as appealing. Let the meat stand at room temp for an hour while preparing the smoker. Heat smoker to 150 degrees for 45 minutes without smoke. Increase the temp to 200 and add the smoke woods ( your choice here..apple sounds good).
Smoke until the temp hits 140 degrees. Let the bacon cool.
It's easier to slice thin if you refirgerate it. And as Hi Mountain says, you now have the leanest and most flavorful bacon you ever ate! It will cook twice as fast as regular bacon without all the fat, so keep an eye on it while you fry it up.
Now heres a homemade cure, although I've never tried it.
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of tender quick
The recipe for this one called for a 7 day curing period, then rinsing and drying, and brushing with maple syrup, honey or molasses.
Smoke at 200 degrees until the meat hits 140.
It is now the day after I smoked the bacon. I removed the two butt halves, rinsed well, and soaked in water for just over an hour. I then smoked at 200 degrees on
my WSM using Kingsford Charcoal, apple chunks and cherry chips. After a matter of hours the temp got to 140 degrees so I shut down the smoker and let the meat cool down for an hour. I then brought the meat inside, let it cool for another couple of hours and bagged them and put them in the fridge. Normally I wouldn't let them sit out so long but I fell asleep on the couch!
The next morning I pulled the meat out and began to slice. The refigerated meat cuts a lot easier than the warm meat, so I was able to make fairly thin slices with my Henckel knife.
The result was a lot of strips and some left over chunks and pieces.
I fried up two lean pieces. They tasted like a bacon flavored ham. The crisp texture of thin storebought bacon was not there. It was more like the texture of ham. I plan on frying up some of the fattier pieces and seeing how that tastes.
I would call the taste something of a mix between country ham, city ham, and bacon. It's pretty dang good. However, if I told folks I was serving them bacon they would probably call this ham. Still, all reviews have been very positive. I took biscuits with buckboard bacon to work on Monday and everyone loved them. Also gave the neighbors some for them to try.
The cost of making this is slightly over a dollar a pound, depending on what you paid for the boston butts. The cure is really cheap. Bacon can go for three dollars a pound to over six dollars a pound in the stores. Same with ham. I consider this a really
cost effective, fun way to come up with a smokey breakfast meat. Tastes great, and is cheap to make!"