Following the natural progression of things in my kitchen this past weekend everything kindof linked together in a big sausage link-like chain. It’s hard to decide what order to explain them in but I’m choosing this one.
So after a bit over a week of curing in the fridge, my pork belly was almost baconized. I yanked it out, rinsed it off and tossed it on a rack to dry off and develop a little tackiness for the smoke to stick to. While this was happening, I fired up my smoker…
I used to do it on a Weber and I’ve even done it on a little hibachi. It’s not impossible, just takes a lot more effort to keep the temp low in such a small space and still keep the coals hot enough to make the wood chips smoke.
First you soak the wood chips for smoking (that you can get at the hardware store or wherever else they sell grill supplies, usually) in water for a little bit. Long enough that they’re not going to just flame up and burn when you toss em on the coals… you want them to smolder and give you lots of wet, hot smoke. There are other ways to do it, but I always just use charcoal… you don’t need much and if you do it right it’ll last the whole two hours, amazingly… the trick with charcoal is that you:
1. Don’t use matchlight. I don’t care how easy it is, it burns up three times as fast as real charcoal and just doesn’t burn the same.
2. When you put the lighter fluid on you have to wait until it soaks in or the coals are just going to burn out. This applies to all grilling, not just here. Wait about a minute after soaking with fluid and then light the coals.
After that, toss the bacon on the grill once you’ve got it warmed up and smoking and then pull it off two hours later and you’ve got bacon. Voila. Seriously, this shit is better than anything you’ve ever bought in a store. Do yourself a favor and give it a shot. It’s too easy…
I also finished the guanciale a few days ago… it took more than the 4 days I was expecting, but by about 6 days it was nice and firm so I rinsed off the cure and hung it up over the stove. You want somewhere cool and slightly humid so it doesn’t dry out too quick.