Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Makin' Bacon.

The intention for this post was to talk about the next Culinary Arts course I took, Culinary Arts II... 

...I am going to go out of sequence here a little and talk about Bacon.  I love Bacon.  All types of Bacon.  It makes me happy. 

A couple of weeks ago I started the newly offered Butchery and Charcuterie class at GBC.  I really had no idea what to expect.  I enrolled in it because butchery seemed like a good skill to have.   To my delight, I discovered that on the first day of class, (bright and early on a Saturday morning) we were 'makin' bacon'!  I was like a kid on Christmas.  I had a big goofy smile on my face for the whole class.  

First, we were given a pork belly and the ingredients to make a rub for the pork belly in order to 'dry cure' it.  After rinsing, drying and scoring the skin side of the pork belly with a knife, we massaged it with the rub and left it to cure for the week in GBC's industrial-sized fridges. 

Pork Belly Rub for Dry Curing
(for 6KL pork belly)
216g kosher salt
108g brown sugar

(look at that colour!  Perfection...)

The next week....
We massaged it once again with maple syrup (Mmmmm....maple syrup).  And then smoked it in an oven (@350 degrees for about 3 hours, skin side up) with wood chips. 

(see that brown stuff in the pan?  I totally stuck my finger in it....It tasted like maple-fatty-goodness)

I felt pure joy through the whole process of bacon making.  I have a feeling its because I love bacon so much.  (and no, I do not have a

One of the best things I found with 'makin' bacon' is that the method demonstrated in class is completely replicable at home (and after tasting the end product, I would say that it's definitely worth doing).  We soaked and heated the wood chips (in a foil pan) on a stove top until they began to smoke, at which point we covered them with a foil cover.  We then poked holes in the foil cover so all that yummy smoke could infuse the pork belly in the oven. 

When I attempt this at home, I think I will be using a backyard bbq as I (unfortunately) do not have the industrial fans that the George Brown kitchens do to suck all the smoke that is emitted out before everything (jackets, furniture, carpets, clothes, hair etc.) smells like smoking wood (don't get me wrong, eau de 'camp fire' is great, but only to a certain extent).

So far, the Butchery and Charcuterie course is getting a big *thumbs up* from me...and there is still a whole class on sausage making to come!

Happy Cooking!   

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