Adventures in bacon

Yesterday we killed the remaining piglet. This time I was there for the whole thing (last time I didn’t witness it) and I am really glad I did. I worried that having been to an abattoir and found it really hard while we were WWOOFing I may find this just too challenging. But the deed was done with tenderness, respect and compassion and the piglet truly knew nothing from eating his last mouthful in the sunshine, stood next to both his parents, only a few feet from where he was born 11 months ago. It was a fantastic life and a best possible death. I am proud to keep pigs in the way we do.

This time the plan was to experiment with some curing, for some reason the idea of our own bacon has always felt like the holy grail of self sufficiency and so we are embarking upon doing just that. Several kilos of meat was bagged up and put into the freezer marked up for roasting, spare ribs and slow cooking. Ady cooked up the liver there and then and we all sampled it. My previous opinion of liver has been that I like the taste but hate the texture. I still feel the same. Next time I’d like to have a go at making pate with it instead.

We have 6 kilos of meat to turn into bacon, with a plan to smoke some of it too. So to start with I made a dry cure rub with salt, sugar, black pepper and some crushed juniper berries. The meat fits nicely into two large plastic containers and after reading several of the books on our bookcase and deducing a middle ground between the varying advice I am planning to salt it for a week or so.

 By lunchtime today the salt had already drawn out loads of moisture from the meat, so we drained it off and re-rubbed with more. This time Davies and Scarlett made the mix and rubbed it in. You can already see a colour difference after just 18 hours in the salt. The meat is darker and more bacon-y looking.

The kids think they would like to see the next pig despatch and I am really proud of them for their matter of fact way of dealing with the meat. We had the tenderloin cut of the pig with dinner today and it was delicious.

Barbara Pig is definitely pregnant – we are already planning adventures in salami and chorizo with the resulting piglets once the end of their happy life comes to pass.

One thought on “Adventures in bacon”

  1. How satisfying that must be — I wish all pigs destined for bacon had lives like that (of course, that would mean that most of us would have to eat much less in the way of pork products, but it’d be worth it, I think).

    My partner and I are now starting to seriously think about when we’re going to set time aside to visit Scotland next year — so who knows, maybe before too long, we’ll be able to try some of your bacon ourselves! (And yes, we are looking at our options re: your Building the Dream fundraiser!)

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