Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ain't Nothin' In The World That I Like Better...

...than bacon*, lettuce*, and homegrown* tomatoes!

With all thanks to Guy Clark, he's spot on. There is nothing that heralds mid-summer like a good BLT, with a toasty crust, drippy mayo combined with napkin-decimating homegrown 'maters, crispy lettuce, and a couple (four) strips of bacon.

*Well, my tomatoes are big, fat, juicy... and green. They aren't ripening, and it's not just mine. Everyone I've talked to says the same thing... they have a bunch of fat, green tomatoes that just won't ripen. Thankfully, we found a few that are passable from the farmer's market... but nothing like the ones that we grew in the alley back at home.

*Lettuce, a strong suit in the Scampwalker garden until recently, has gone to semi-seed. You know -- the stalks longer and milkier, the leaves spindlier and more bitter.

Strike two.

My ace in the hole is bacon. I made it. From pork belly, the old fashioned way. And for the life of me, I can't figure out why more people don't. If you want the details, pick up a copy of Charcuterie, or go over to Hank's Place, like I did, for inspiration. Seriously, it's easy peasy. And much, much more satisfying. But a few observations...

You can cure it wet or dry (dry is in the foreground). Salt is the big ingredient either way. I've found, in my limited experience, that dry cure is saltier, yet firmer and crispier when fried. Wet takes flavors better. Both are freakin' delicious. Just plan on a week between buying pork belly and eating your finished product, because...

You have to smoke it. I use my remote thermometer to cook it to 150 degrees, over applewood. That's what, in my opinion, separates the store shit from the stuff you make.

You may not need an electric knife, but it sure is handy. Freeze the bacon for a couple hours, and then slice as thin as you want (I don't like it super thin). Fry it on the grill in a cast-iron skillet (a non-house-stinking trick my Mom taught me) and you're good to go.

Join in summer, and eat one. Just make it your own.

1 comment:

  1. I don't understand how you're not obese with some sort of crumbs or sauce stains on all your clothes.