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Bringing Home the Bacon

By facet - 27 January 2011 17

bacon

My lifelong quest for the perfect Bacon Lettuce and Tomato (BLT) sandwich just got a little closer.

This week I discovered a meat purveyor who will slice bacon to any thickness I choose (the Melba Shops butcher).

Now all I need is a really tasty, sun ripened warm tomato, although I find semi-dried tomatoes an acceptable alternative.

Lettuce – who cares – iceberg I suppose.

What’s Your opinion?


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17 Responses to
Bringing Home the Bacon
astrojax 8:32 am 26 Jun 13

muntychops said :

The butcher shop (that’s what it’s called) in Dickson shops has the best bacon in Canberra, (they won a pork council award for it) my grandfather was a butcher and its the closest I’ve come to tasting bacon like he used to make. They smoke it on the premises and its amazing.

+1

the dickson butchers are close to old school – my old man was an old school butcher – ie could still fucntion when the power saw wasn’t working – and my only complaint w/ dickson is they don’t make brawn. never found anything to come close to the old man’s (well, the old lady’s often enough, truth be told!)

EvanJames 11:41 pm 25 Jun 13

Bacon-making guide mentioned above:
http://forums.overclockers.com.au/showthread.php?t=918108
Note the cat stalking the bacon in the kitchen shot.

also this one I have found invaluable (even printed it out):
http://www.3men.com/bacon_making.htm

although google or chrome tells me the site will damage my computer. Not sure what that’s all about. the page is referenced in every other bacon-making site on the entire internet.

EvanJames 12:01 pm 25 Jun 13

rosscoact said :

Best bacon by far is the bacon you cure and smoke yourself and it’s really a piece of cake

A piece of loin or belly (depending on your preference), a ziplok bag, bacon cure (available online in small quantities) and a hooded barbeque and you’re apples. One week from butcher to the best bacon sarnie you’ve ever had…..and no polyphosphates, MSG, imitation smoke flavour or even nitrates/nitrites if that’s your thing.

Um, the bacon cure contains nitrite. It’s also often called pink salt, or cure #-something, and it’s the same, a slightly dodgy chemical. It’s encouraging to see more small operators are curing without nitrite, just salt and sugar.

For a small section of belly, like the bits you buy from Coles, a wet brine cure takes a short week. I prefer wet brining as it’s quick and simple and you can control the end saltiness better. The blokes who run the Bratwurst stall at the Bus Depot Markets however prefer to dry cure, which is what is described above. You put your sugar, salt, cure if you’re using it in with the pork in a baggie, but you have to take it out every day or so, clean off the pink liquid coming out and replenish the cure.

Then you rinse it, let it dry in the fridge so it gets a sort-of shiny sheen (from the salt), and then smoking time. Most bacon sold in Australia is cooked, it’s not a raw meat any more. if you hot smoke it, it’ll cook it too. I prefer the north american cold smoking, which leaves the meat raw (if you’ve ever seen US or Canadian cryovacced bacon, it’s expressing blood).

The smoking is mainly for flavour, the salt (or cure if you’ve used it) does the preserving.

I’ve found numerous guides to makin’ bacon on the ‘net, one of the best ones was on Overclockers! But the various BBQ forums have heaps too, and the yanks tend to be mines of information although nitrite-free curing makes them nervous.

Bacon is surprisingly easy, and you end up with a pretty smoky bacon. Befriend a butcher and get them to do you a loin with the belly attached, and you’ll be able to make bacon shaped like the one in the picture above.

johnboy 8:57 am 25 Jun 13

If you want to know about how to run a smoker check this guy out:

http://www.amazingribs.com/

In particular get a grill and meat thermometer (two probes) with a remote pickup.

For life without the high tech thermos this guy’s advice is brilliant:

http://www.lowslowbbq.com/

Madam Cholet 8:39 am 25 Jun 13

rosscoact said :

Best bacon by far is the bacon you cure and smoke yourself and it’s really a piece of cake

A piece of loin or belly (depending on your preference), a ziplok bag, bacon cure (available online in small quantities) and a hooded barbeque and you’re apples. One week from butcher to the best bacon sarnie you’ve ever had…..and no polyphosphates, MSG, imitation smoke flavour or even nitrates/nitrites if that’s your thing.

I have a smoker at home – a barrel like version of the kettle bbq (which I also have), but I’ve never had much success with it. I had to hunt down the instructions online and I just couldn’t work out how long to leave something in there. I had a bash with salmon and whilst it cooked and tasted o.k, it was not that attractive to look at. Don’t know what I did wrong – maybe inconsistent?

On the lettuce front…wouldn’t use iceberg as it’s a bit too watery. I’d go oak I think.

Good butchers – the one at Griffith would defintely cut slices to suit, and I think he smokes his own.

muntychops 9:01 pm 24 Jun 13

The butcher shop (that’s what it’s called) in Dickson shops has the best bacon in Canberra, (they won a pork council award for it) my grandfather was a butcher and its the closest I’ve come to tasting bacon like he used to make. They smoke it on the premises and its amazing.

imarty 9:20 pm 01 Feb 11

I’ll second Andy in Spence, great butcher, great meat, great bloke.
Talking of bacon, National Bacon Week is also coming up in early March, celebrating bacon and helping consumers choose Australian bacon over the 80% of bacon sold in Australia that’s made from imported pork.

Texpat 11:18 pm 27 Jan 11

Another recommendation for another source of good bacon (and more) is Jordo’s Chop Shop in Wanniassa. He smokes it himself, and also has pork belly, bacon chops and bacon steaks as well. And you can buy it at the shop, or buy online and have it delivered. Great meat, great service, and now I could really go a great BLT myself.

Deano 5:47 pm 27 Jan 11

georgesgenitals said :

[So… you gunna post a recipe or just tease us…? 🙂

Well, if you’re really keen to do it yourself, the potassium nitrate salts originally used to cure bacon were derived from ashes, horse manure, and human urine. Basically just let it react for a couple of weeks, wash the resulting mess with water, filter the output and then boil off the liquid to produce the salt.

georgesgenitals 5:20 pm 27 Jan 11

rosscoact said :

Best bacon by far is the bacon you cure and smoke yourself and it’s really a piece of cake

A piece of loin or belly (depending on your preference), a ziplok bag, bacon cure (available online in small quantities) and a hooded barbeque and you’re apples. One week from butcher to the best bacon sarnie you’ve ever had…..and no polyphosphates, MSG, imitation smoke flavour or even nitrates/nitrites if that’s your thing.

So… you gunna post a recipe or just tease us…? 🙂

niftydog 3:59 pm 27 Jan 11

Deano said :

No way!! Cos lettuce is best.

Cos is an acceptable alternative to butter lettuce provided the leaves are relatively young. Nothing worse than that bitter, hard stalky bit of the elder cos leaf. 😉

rosscoact 3:42 pm 27 Jan 11

Best bacon by far is the bacon you cure and smoke yourself and it’s really a piece of cake

A piece of loin or belly (depending on your preference), a ziplok bag, bacon cure (available online in small quantities) and a hooded barbeque and you’re apples. One week from butcher to the best bacon sarnie you’ve ever had…..and no polyphosphates, MSG, imitation smoke flavour or even nitrates/nitrites if that’s your thing.

Deano 3:00 pm 27 Jan 11

niftydog said :

Are you insane, man! Butter lettuce!!!! Sheesh!

No way!! Cos lettuce is best. It maintains its crunch and doesn’t go all soggy when squashed next to hot bacon.

Belles 11:21 am 27 Jan 11

Another recommendation for a butcher who will cut the bacon to the thickness you want it is Andys in Spence. (Actually called Spence Butchery and Delicatessen)

Andy has a smokehouse out the back so all his bacon is also smoked, which in my opinion is awesome.

While you are there you can also get a nice range of awesome quality meats and smoked goods, being a lover of cooking and good quality food this butcher ticks all the boxes for me.

Being owner operated the staff are great and friendly and will help you out if you want to order a particular cut of meat.

http://maps.google.com.au/maps/place?cid=18072870936508414039&q=Butcher+Spence++ACT&hl=en&gl=au

niftydog 10:59 am 27 Jan 11

Are you insane, man! Butter lettuce!!!! Sheesh!

Also, Zivko Butchery (I’m told is in Queenbeyan, but I see him at the markets) makes the best bacon I’ve ever tasted – I’m certain he’d slice to order. He’d probably also sell you a whole cured pork belly if you wanted a fast track to an early grave.

If it weren’t frowned upon (and I wasn’t already happily married) I’d wed a slab of his veal salami.

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