Butcher’s Corner: Ahhhh, Bacon!

How We Make Bacon

 Like most Americans, I love bacon. Recently I was talking with my uncle about this mutual love. We were talking about the best way to cook it and where to get it from and even how to make it at home. While we were talking he put his hand on my shoulder, leaned into me and whispered, “Josh, you could wrap bacon around a piece of s#&* and I could probably eat it.” We both laughed.

I’m not going to go that far, but like most, my love for good bacon runs deep. Here at This Old Farm we are striving to put out the best quality of bacon in Indiana. Of course good bacon begins with humanely treated, pasture-raised hogs but making good bacon continues on to the quality of cure and smoking and how one cooks it. In other words, good bacon requires some TLC.

For our bacon we use an all natural cure consisting of sea salt, turbinado sugar, paprika and some other seasonings and spices. We also use celery juice powder which consists of sea salt and celery powder as our curing agent. The traditional way to cure a pork side or belly is to use sodium nitrites or nitrates. Here at This Old Farm we do not use sodium nitrite. We have found that celery juice powder cures the pork sides just fine and gives it that pink cured look to it as well. It also adds to the flavor.

We mix these ingredients together and thoroughly rub each side by hand. We then hold the sides in the cooler for 5 to 7 days. Next we move the cured sides to our state of the art smokehouse. They are then cooked and smoked until almost perfection to around 140 degrees F. We then chill them, slice them, and package them to order.

And now we are ready for you to come in and try some of this goodness. (We also have all natural jowl bacon ready for you as well if you wanted to try some of this delicious, savory, full-bodied bacon.)

So how do I cook bacon? I am becoming more of an advocate of cooking bacon in the oven. Of course there is nothing like frying bacon on the stovetop. Hovering over the pan where the bacon is frying is one of the small pleasures in life and there is for sure nothing wrong with that. But cooking bacon in the oven is cleaner, the bacon cooks more evenly and consistently, and you don’t have to micro manage it as much. I usually preheat the oven to around 350 degrees. While preheating I place each piece of pleasure into a pan making sure to give each piece its own room. Bacon doesn’t like to be cramped. When preheated I put the bacon in for about 15 minutes. That’s it.

If you are cooking bacon on the stove, again, make sure you don’t let the pieces touch one another as this will prevent it from cooking evenly. Also, it is important not to put the heat too high. Bacon likes a medium to medium high flame, not too hot, not too low.

Next post will be about how you can make your own bacon at home. It is easier than you might think. The hardest part of it all is getting your hands on a whole slab of pork belly. But that isn’t a problem for you because we keep some in stock for our more adventurous cooks.  Are you ready??

Until then, Happy Bacon Eating.

-Josh

Our low nitrate/nitrite bacon cured with celery juice powder  is on sale for $6.30/lb for local pork or $8.10/lb for pasture raised local pork .  Try it now!  (765) 324-2161.