By Roger Findlay, Gerogery West
We often wonder why we are battling away on our small hobby farm when we could be comfortably retired in an apartment with a sea view and no garden.
It’s definitely a challenge but our inspiration comes from our visits to Farmers Markets and from sharing ideas with like-minded individuals that we meet along the way. My wife spends a lot of time in the kitchen. When we married, the good lady could hardly boil an egg but now she can cook or preserve anything.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money at a Farmers Market to have a good time. We talk and listen to the stall holders. We look at what they have and we are inspired to grow, make or preserve in a similar manner.
The Albury City Council also does a wonderful job in recruiting the right celebrities to deliver cooking demonstrations at the Wood Fired Oven. Inspiration for free!
Good bacon is something we really like. We don’t keep pigs but we know who does. Fine old breed specimens that have free ranged in an organic environment.
Two small pieces of belly were all we needed for the first attempt. We made up a mixture of 200g of rock salt and 150g of packed brown sugar before rubbing onto both sides of the pork. The pork was then loaded into plastic sealable bags with the residue of the mixture, placed on a dish and refrigerated overnight.
The pork was then turned daily to ensure that the coating process was thorough. After seven days, the pork (in the form of bacon) was removed, rinsed and dried.
To give an increased storage life and preferred taste we chose to smoke ours on the kettle barbeque starting with six heat beads and soaked hickory wood chips burning on one side only. The bacon was placed on the rack above away from the coals on the opposite side before fitting the partially vented lid. We took care in keeping the bacon away from the heat and turned the meat hourly during the four hour process. Heat beads and wood chips were added when necessary.
While the first attempt may not have been perfect, it was a starting point. It’s was a simple process and one that we can develop to achieve perfection. Why not give it a go?