Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tails and Trotters Bacon and Lardo - From Farmers Mkt to the Cure

So I found myself on a Sunny Sunday morning with nothing planned and needing to get my little nugget out of the house for a bit while my wife's group of cackling hen friends come over for sunday brunch.   I've been a bit neglectful in my Hazlenut finished pork buying the last few weeks so decided to go visit my new friend Morgan Brownlow, proprietor of Tails and Trotters at the Irvington Farmers Market to rectify that.
I purchased a few Flat Iron and Coulotte steaks ( which are perfectly sized for 2-4 people and grill up perfectly ), and then I asked for the good stuff.   He didn't have a whole belly on him when I asked, but he grinned and said "will this do?".   "This" being a 6 pound behemoth of Pork Fat and belly meat.  Yowza!!!  That was one happy pig.   He also knows how much I love Lardo, so snuck a 3lb hunt of backfat in the bag.. Thanks Morgan!!!
On the menu for today:   Bacon and Lardo.  

Bacon is pretty easy.. see my previous recipes for cure.   I'm now almost exclusively using my "base cure" for all of my whole muscle curing needs, adapted as desired with different spices.

Coat the belly down with cure and rub it in really good.. Put it in a ceramic container, cover with wrap and check on it in 2 days.  ( Note.. I put this in Sunday night, checked on it Tuesday night, flipped it over and drained off the liquid that had accumulated.  I'll take it out Wed night or thurs morning to rinse and refridgerate, then smoke thurs night so we have some good bacon to take on vacation )

Lardo goes pretty much the same way with a slight difference.  I'll let this cure untouched until we return from vacation on July 9th.. then I'll give it a really good soaking ( 1-2 hours ), the coat it heavily in a very fine dice of rosemary, thyme and crushed red pepper.   Then I'll hang it in the curing chamber for 2-3 months.

Stay tuned.

PS.. Tails and Trotters delivers High Quality Hazlenut Finished Pork all over the USA ( luckily I have the man in my own home town ).  Check out their website and give them a call.   Morgan knows the farmers who raise the pigs ( and the pigs themselves ) all personally and watches every detail from feeding to slaughter to the whole pig being put on his butchers table to divide into small pork-loving packages.
Tell him you're a friend of the PCP and he may even give you the "family and friends" discount.  Trust me folks, this is ONE area you don't want to skimp on.   With every piece of charcuterie I make I'm learning that it all starts with Quality Meat... and there's nobody's meat I'd rather have in my mouth than Morgan's.

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