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The highest rung of the food ladder is composed of foie gras, truffles, saffron, caviar, and ice cream. That is an undeniable fact. I imagine if you were to eat a dish made up of a combination of these five items, the result would be akin to crossing the streams in Ghost Busters, or burping, sneezing, coughing, and hiccupping at the same time…“Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light” – Dr. Egon Spengler from the movie Ghost Busters. However, if you fear the repercussions of eating these incredibly delicious delicacies, then play it safe and go for one of the two items on the second-highest rung of the food ladder: Short ribs and pulled pork. Today’s post will focus on pulled pork, but there will be a short ribs post in the very near future.
Some of our readers may be saying to themselves, “I heard of this wonderful salt bacon, where ever did it go,” or, more likely, “Did it just turn out so awful that you tearfully flung it into the sea and vowed never to speak of it again?” Luckily for all this was not the case.
After a week of careful draining, patting and the addition of more salt cure as needed, the bacon was pronounced ready for consumption. We were initially worried that, for lack of potassium nitrate, the meat would take on a unappetizing grey color. This did not really turn out to be the case, while the exterior had lost some of the pink verve it had when we first purchased it it still looked rather healthy, and the thick slices fried up with a very satisfying panoply of crimson strips.
Bacon, prince of the porcine, friend of omelets, otherworldly additive to stews, chowders, bean dishes; mystic peacemaker among rye, tomato and lettuce in the Great Club Sandwich; savory counterpoint to the cocktail hour cantaloupe, the accolades could continue almost indefinitely. When deciding on our first project for this blog we knew it had to be pork based. We hoped it would be simple, and we had every belief that it would be delicious. In choosing Bacon, we had the added pleasure of working with an unusual cut of meat, the pork belly, to create a delicacy that we could eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The process of making bacon involves very few steps. To begin you must create a salt-based rub that will serve as a cure for the bacon. Choosing what herbs and spices to add to this mixture involves the greatest amount of forethought. One important consideration is: will you smoke the bacon once it has been cured? If so, the nuanced flavor and smell of your rub will matter less fore even the slightest amount of smoking will mask over much of the flavor that the rub brings out in the pork.
The great sausage catastrophe occurred one evening last spring. Alex, Owen, and I had gathered for a typical bout of culinary revelry and had set our hearts (and our stomachs) on homemade sausage. With minimal experience in the art of porcine entrail stuffing, we set out a’sausaging with no special equipment and no learned technique.
Feeling inventive, we fashioned meat funnels out of the tops of 2 liter plastic bottles. Our plan: slide the tubular porcine intestine over the neck of the plastic bottle, fill the halved bottle with our homemade sausage stuffing, and using the handle end of a wooden spoon as a plunger, force the stuffing through the bottle neck and into the intestine waiting on the other side.
No sooner than we began, two PROBLEMS became immediately clear:
Firstly, without a plunger of the appropriate diameter, forcing the sausage stuffing through the neck of the bottle and into the porcine intestine was nearly impossible.