In the course of fall here in southeast Minnesota, it becomes necessary to cure bacon, in preparation for winter gift giving. It is for altruistic reasons that I spend a Saturday lighting fires, and putting wet fruit wood chips on said fires for the appropriate level of smoke. That, and the fact that it’s fun. Yes, I do get considerable mileage out of drive by gifts of home cured bacon, and from the now annual bacon holiday cards. So, last weekend, I put portions of pork belly and salts and Maine maple syrup into zipper bags, and allowed them to cure in the Back Fridge.
So, what did I do this morning? Get the smoker, beer (wood chips must always be soaked in beer, correct?), matches, charcoal, and wood chips out into the driveway. Note the two options for fire starting. Always good to have backup.
Here is my less than Girl Scout fire starting method… I don’t have any trees in the yard that produce lovely dry tinder, especially given the gallons of rain that have fallen on the yard this week. I used a charcoal chimney. And, of course, real wood lump charcoal (none of those nasty laminate by-products in your wood smoke here). I’m assuming that the liberal slant of the newspapers burnt in starting the charcoal (soy ink) won’t offend my more libertarian bacon recipients, but if you’d like off the list, I’ll understand. Blame my husband the Political Science professor. Right.
Once the fire’s going, it’s time to get the rinsed and dried pork bellies, put them on foil pans, and arrange them in the smoker. Here’s a “before” shot, as the smoke is just getting started.
Then the process is as follows: Keep fire lit, keep smoke moving through the smoker, wait. More to follow. Gotta go check my fire.