Archive for the ‘Charcutepalooza’ Category

homemade bacon

My condo smells like bacon. I don’t notice it unless I’m outside first. The other day, walking up the stairs that lead to my floor, I smelled salt and pork, heavy and smoky like the air wafting a short distance from a summer barbecue. I thought a neighbor was having a party.

But the lovely scent was left over from the six strips of bacon, cut so thin that they were almost translucent when raw, that I fried up that morning. This, finally, is my homemade bacon.

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Brined pork chops

Brined pork chops

Brining, a way to kind of marinate meat in a salty liquid, is the challenge I needed to finally catch up with the Charcutepalooza.  Unlike curing and hanging a long stretch of pork belly and duck breasts, brining is a method of curing that I’ve at least seen before.  

Every November, my dad brines a 20-plus pound turkey from Rumbleway Farm for Thanksgiving dinner.  He stirs together water, salt, and brown sugar – the backbones of brine – plus whatever else strikes him in a large plastic storage container. Then he places the plastic bin in the cold garage, where the turkey marinates overnight. My family says the brined bird is always juicy.

For the Charcutepalooza brining challenge, we had two options: an apprentice version (brining chicken or pork) and a charcuterie version (brining and corning a piece of beef).  I did the apprentice challenge because I could use pork chops.  And I have easy access to pork products, at least throughout this year.         

Continue Reading “Pigs, Science, and Pork Chops, Charcutepalooza”

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