Sunday Morning Breakfast Includes Homemade Bacon

How do you know you’ve made it in life? When you have friends that share their homemade bacon. The image above there is Paul “Chile” Brown’s first attempt at shoulder bacon. You remember him don’t you? He’s the one that drove to Oregon just to pick up a load of world class bacon. He’s been talking about making his own for quite some time and a handful of weeks ago, he gathered the info and ingredients to make it go. Here’s the recipe and cure he used, Buckboard Bacon Cure. It’s pretty straight forward, get your meat, rub cure on it, set it to rest in a 40 degree fridge for 10 days or so. Soak and rinse the sucker to get the cure off and out, smoke. While I dearly love belly bacon, I’m enjoying the shoulder bacon more often these days. Why? More meat.
How does it taste? Here’s how that went. I decided not to mention anything about the bacon, just serve it to family and see what they say. This way I am assured of an honest response. Uncle Steph showed up early, he was to watch over the kids for the day, so we had 3 adults here all real hungry. I fried it gently in a cast iron skillet until just barely brown, served with scrambled eggs n’ toast. Both Mama and Steph remarked that the ham was really quite good and where did I get it. “Damned fine”, is how I believe it was phrased. And to be honest with you, it does sit on the Ham side. I suppose the difference between ham and bacon is that ham is traditionally from the hind legs of the piggy. So, this is considered bacon. In any case, the texture was firm and pulled apart nicely. The saltiness (present but not overpowering) hit you first, then it was off to the sweetness and finally some smoky love. All three of us confirmed this batch of homemade shoulder bacon a success. What to improve upon? For me, I like a deeper, firmer smoke. Nothing bitter, but more pronounced.
Not bad for a first run, eh?

17 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Breakfast Includes Homemade Bacon

  1. Ever’body: Click on the picture! It gets even better.
    Big Guy: I’m gonna try making some. I love making my own foods, and I think I love cured meat more.

  2. Mighty fine looking bacon/ham sir. The eggs look perfect as well. It takes a great chef to prepare the simple things like eggs.

  3. Yeah, I can’t see us driving up to Bend again anytime soon.
    Makin’ Bacon was lookin’ like a reality to me too.

  4. hey just an irrelevant comment nobody wants to hear probably: that bacon looks ok, but when you load the larger image you realize that it’s not ok — it’s GREAT, but the orange background is really ruining the color and effect of the photo, which is really nice btw.

  5. Hey John,
    Thanks on the image, I thought it turned out rather well myself. It wasn’t easy to do, my kitchen is so darned small. Plus I hand held BOTH flood lights, using the timer on the camera to knock it out.
    Hip to the color scheme here. Sometimes it compliments (such as a nice halloweeny image), sometimes in contrasts. And sometimes it clashes. It’s the price tag of being so awesome …

  6. 3 Things….
    1) Nicely done Mr. Paul Brown. I’m gonna try this…
    2) Dr. Biggles is a big cheerleader of Paul’s Chile Verde recipe. So I’m going to give it whirl, and experiment a little and try some chile-verde type sauces for things like grilled fish this week.
    3) I FINALLY got my (fat) ass to the Fatted Calf at the SF Ferry building. No Porchetta roasts (dang!) but I did walk away with Bratwursts and Crepinettes. The Brats were OK, I’m from the midwest and I’m spoiled by exceptional (read:fatty) bratwursts. But they were flavored nicely. Then there was the crepinettes……ohhh…the crepinettes! MY PRECIOUSSSSS!!!! Pork and chantrelle mushrooms!!! OH…..MY…..GOD!!! Best thing I’ve eaten in a long, long time. Tonight was not a grilling night. So I seared them indoors in the cast iron. Lovely lovely lovely. Did I mention they were lovely?

  7. I keep telling Chopper he’s gotta stop by here more often and check out the meats, but this post is gonna make him sooooo jealous!!

  8. OK – so I know I’ve run my mouth off about making a wood-burning stove/oven before with you Dr. B., but I had a brainstorm – how about making one with the chimney routed so that it could have a chamber working as a smoker box? Does that sound feasible?
    I ask because the project creeps slowly closer to reality…
    Also, are you up for more signing goodness? Sounds like the book may be getting a mention in the November Diablo Magazine…

  9. Hey Owen,
    I think I could muster something up for a little signing action! You bet.
    You mean using exhaust on a wood fired oven to cook with?
    At first glance I would say that might work for cold smoking food, such as bacon and hams. But I don’t believe your exhuast could maintain a hot smoke, that’s 200 to 250 degrees F.
    I also believe it would be horribly inefficient. To barbecue a brisket or pork shoulder properly, you have so smoke it for no less than 10 hours, usually 12 at 200 to 225. Maintaining a wood fired oven for 12 hours would take a lot of wood, man.
    So far, the designs I’ve seen the most efficient smokers have been the ones with the firebox and cooking area in the same container. Although, I’ve heared tell that some of the better smokers, such as the Klose Pitts, do just fine with their offset fire boxes.
    Henry Joe wins competition barbecue contests with his Weber Bullet smoker and I would have to suggest you go have a look see and do a laying on of hands. Ya know?

  10. Hmmm – actually have a similar jobbie myself (to the weber bullet) – I see what you mean about the combination of action etc. But maybe I can work around that – have it set up so that there is a rack hanging below the chimney entrance to which I can attach a drip pan and then have a delineated fire area just offset but very nearby for just smoking (I’m trying to design the ultimate wood-burning stove/grill/smoker all-in-one)

  11. Hey Owen,
    Yeah, I know what you’re up to. I’ve had those images dancing in my head for years. It’s always worth trying and/or jumping in to give it a try. I’ve attempted a handful of home made smokers over the years and brother? It’s a lot of damned work and money.
    Let me offer you this, I think you should be working towards something a little different. If you’re interested in a nice combo grill/smoker, here’s a bitchen rig:
    Look for the one on top, the Bandera.
    I recommended this one to a friend and they bought it. It’s an excellent rig.
    Now that that is out of the way, and you still want to build an oven? You need to build yourself a bread/pizza or Tandoor that will bake at temperatures at or above 800 degrees F. How badass would you be to have your own Tandoor or pizza oven? That’s right, home made Naan, REAL wood fired baked pizza.
    I say to you, go for a REAL oven. This would be far cooler than an all in one.

  12. My first batch of buckboard bacon is on day three of resting.Since I pumped it with brine on Tuesday, I’m thinking of smoking on Sat AM, with applewood!!! I can hardle stand the waite. The Mello family linguisa recipe is standing by in the wings, ready to be made.