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?