Saturday, April 12, 2008

Making Bacon

I dont need to bring home the bacon cos I is MAKING bacon. At home. Yeah.

I have found Iberico pork. You know, the meat that comes from those porkers raised around the town of Jabugo. The ones that roam around freely on a diet of nothing but acorns. The hairy pigs. The stumpy pigs. The beauuuuuuutiful pigs. These are not the serrano ham pigs. These are the PATA NEGRA pigs. 

The meat I have found are the surplus bits. The bits that dont get turned into those incredible Iberico hams, chorizos, and general cured cuts called embutidos (embotits in Catalan which has got to make you smile). So the surplus bits are - belly, ribs, chops and chaps. Has a certain ring, dont it?

This is a relief and a big step forward. I have yet to find organic meat either here in Ibiza or on the mainland. There just isnt the availability that there is in England. Even good quality freerange is relatively unavailable here. 

If you want chickens you can get either battery of the worst sort or massive corral chickens whose weight in bones far outweighs its flesh. You wouldn't want to pick a fight with one of these chickens. And there is nothing in between. No corn fed, no freerange, no organic. There are 2 sorts - shit chickens or dont fuck with me chickens.

The Iberico pork that I have found is good looking stuff. Darker, more marbled flesh. More fat. A lot more fat. Funny thing is, is that it sits in the supermarket alongside the poor quality pork AND IS CHEAPER. Who the hell thought that up? Anyway, I bought a piece of belly and rubbed it with salt, sugar and spices for a week, then hung it for a week, then smoked it for two days. 

The smoking was great. The arch no-no in smoking is using resinous wood chippings. It taints the flavour with a bitter aftertaste. So I smoked it with resinous wood chippings. This was because I wanted to smoke using Sabina. Sabina is juniper and was once all over the island. (Someone figured there was money in them, so now there are hardly any left). It is used in many buildings here and is so very very strong. It also has the most beautiful aroma. I wanted to use this wood.

I had used it once before to smoke some salmon trout and had had to cut away much of the surface cos of its bitterness. But what lay beneath though was heavenly. So to smoke the bacon I decided to wrap it up in a muslin and let that take the bitterness. And lo, it worked. The boy is a goddam wizard. The bacon is goddam beautiful. In every sense.