Author Topic: Experimenting with Bacon Flavors  (Read 10673 times)

Offline JYoung

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Experimenting with Bacon Flavors
« on: October 15, 2010, 10:25:42 am »
Hey all; thought I would share my thoughts with you on the different flavors of bacon ive been smoking recently.  All of these were made with Washington raised pork belly.  I let the dry cures go for 7-10 days or so and the wet cures only about 3-5 days.  All bacons were cold smoked with 4-5hrs of smoke using different chips depending on what I felt like / had in stock.  After cold smoking I turn on the oven element and bring the belly up to ~140 degrees IT before FTC.

- Cinnamon and Sugar :: a house favorite; dry cured with Tender Quick and ground cinnamon and sugar; ive made this one multiple times now cause it is sooooo good

- Coffee :: dry cured w/TQ and a little brewed coffee and ground coffee rub; turned out ok for a first try.  I think next time this will be converted to a wet brine in brewed coffee.  Might also switch up to espresso.

- Hatch Chilli :: dry cured w/TQ and some hatch chilli's that I grilled/charred on the bbq then smoked for 2 hours before dicing and rubbing on the pork belly.  This bacon is another favorite as it had a great spice to it from the chilli's.  Too bad the hatch peppers arent in season for very long; will be doing this method again with other peppers soon.

- Wine ::  wet cured w/TQ and a bottle of local WA red wine; also used come cocoa nibs + white pepper as a dry rub.  This bacon had a very unique richness and depth from the wine but still needs some tweaking so its back on the list.

- Cocoa Nibs :: dry cured w/TQ covered in cocoa nibs from a local chocolatier; this bacon got overly salty from the cure so the flavors were muted.  Luckily no bacon goes to waste for when its overly salty it becomes cooking bacon, i.e. use it as bacon bits in any recipe and just omit salt.

- Black Pepper + Juniper :: dry cured w/TQ coated in ground blk pepper and juniper berries ala a pastrami.  Turned out great; nice and spicy.

- Macadamia Nut :: dry cured w/TQ and some macadamia nut syrup plus crushed macadamia nuts; really good sweetness from the syrup and the chopped nuts on the outside tasted great after smoking.

- Chilli Powder :: dry cured w/TQ and ground up dried passila and anahiem peppers; although the rub was very spicy after smoking the bacon had not even a remote hint of spice; very disappointing but still it was nice'n'smokey bacon!

Making bacon is almost as much fun as eating bacon.

I now keep a running list on the fridge of next bacon flavors; ill post back if any of them are winners.  Would love to hear any suggestions or notes from the other bacon making fools out there!

Offline Tenpoint5

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Re: Experimenting with Bacon Flavors
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2010, 11:30:28 am »
OK Now I Really LIKE this Guy!!! BACON is there anything else???
Bacon is the Crack Cocaine of the Food World.

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Offline Ka Honu

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Re: Experimenting with Bacon Flavors
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2010, 11:32:48 am »
Making bacon is almost as much fun as eating bacon.

Unless you're the pig, in which case eating bacon is no fun at all.

Offline SouthernSmoked

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Re: Experimenting with Bacon Flavors
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2010, 12:11:06 pm »
Heck Yeah, I agree with Tenpoint5, love me some bacon!!
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Offline SoCalBuilder

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Re: Experimenting with Bacon Flavors
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2010, 12:55:04 pm »
Man-oh-man, that's a mess of bacon! I can't even imagine what some of them would taste like. Guess I beter put some pork belly on the shopping list :)

Offline JYoung

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Re: Experimenting with Bacon Flavors
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2010, 01:27:15 pm »
pork belly has been on my shopping list almost every week :)

It started as a summer project and now is a full blown obsession.

Its pretty easy to try differnt flavors cause the side of belly I get makes 2 good sized slabs (usually one gets made with a known good recipe and the other might be experimental) and one smaller pointed end piece, which is always an experimental piece.

Offline BuyLowSellHigh

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Re: Experimenting with Bacon Flavors
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2010, 02:25:46 pm »
JY, you ARE the bacon man!  Those are some incredible combinations.  That's great work.  As I read through the descriptions my mind was racing.  Wow, very creative!  You're right -- there is nothing better than bacon.

Things like this get my mind working overtime, which is usually very dangerous.  A couple of thoughts for you as candiates, Asian flavors and Jerk.  For Asian there are som nay possibilites, such as soy (many variations here from savory to sweet and light to dark), hoisin, fresh ginger, garlic, sesame oil, five spice, star anise, maybe even some Japanese flavors like miso or wasabi.  Many Asian cuisines do great things with braised pork belly and maybe some of those would provide some useful ideas.  Jerk, or other Caribbean flavors also popped into my mind .  That opens the world of tropical spices (Allspice, nutmeg cinnamon) along with heat, along with citrus.  Then there are all the ethnic sausage seasonings, such as those used in Kielbasa or Italian or Andouille, etc.

I think you're really onto something here - the possibilities seem endless.
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Offline JYoung

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Re: Experimenting with Bacon Flavors
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2010, 03:08:35 pm »
Things like this get my mind working overtime, which is usually very dangerous.  A couple of thoughts for you as candiates, Asian flavors and Jerk.  For Asian there are som nay possibilites, such as soy (many variations here from savory to sweet and light to dark), hoisin, fresh ginger, garlic, sesame oil, five spice, star anise, maybe even some Japanese flavors like miso or wasabi.  Many Asian cuisines do great things with braised pork belly and maybe some of those would provide some useful ideas.  Jerk, or other Caribbean flavors also popped into my mind .  That opens the world of tropical spices (Allspice, nutmeg cinnamon) along with heat, along with citrus.  Then there are all the ethnic sausage seasonings, such as those used in Kielbasa or Italian or Andouille, etc.

Since im poorly organized I forgot about a few that I did along those lines (there have been so many bacons).

The Chinese 5 spice was another killer dry cured one; one of my top favorites (can't believe I forgot to list it).

I like the miso/wasabi route. I also did a fall spice one with allspice/cloves/nutmeg but dont recall it being that special, i.e needs tweaking.

I think Im going to continue down the liquor route, rum/whiskey and see what those produce.  Also was thinking about thai flavors like lemongrass/coconut milk -- citrus sounds good too.

The possibilities are endless; yet another reason bacon is a super food.

Offline BuyLowSellHigh

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Re: Experimenting with Bacon Flavors
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2010, 03:29:36 pm »
Had one more thought for you, a possible route to combine your chocolate and coffee ideas stimulated by Chef Robert Del Grande.  He is a top chef in Houston, considered by many to be The Godfather of Southwest American cuisine.  A couple of his iconic dishes use a coffee rub that uses a combination of very finely ground coffee with cocoa powder, Ancho chile powder and cinnamon.  I have had his preps of both beef tenderloin and roasted pheasant using rub.  He has openly shared the recipe for Coffee Roasted Beef Tenderloin, here's a link:
http://www.houstontexasfood.com/?tag=cafe-annie


BTW, ever try the  pork belly confit at Le Pichet in Seattle?
http://bellylove.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/recipe-pork-belly-confit/
I like animals, they taste good!

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Offline JYoung

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Re: Experimenting with Bacon Flavors
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2010, 03:41:11 pm »
very finely ground coffee with cocoa powder, Ancho chile powder and cinnamon. 

That sounds pretty good; ive got a hybrid going now of cocoa nibs/cinnamon sticks/white pepper corns that i steeped in hotwater for 1/2 hr before chilling it into a brine mix and adding a bottle of red wine.  This is getting made for our viewing party next week!

BTW, ever try the  pork belly confit at Le Pichet in Seattle?
http://bellylove.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/recipe-pork-belly-confit/


I love Le Pichet but haven't been in a long time; that recipe looks good maybe next belly will have some bits dedicated to confit.

Offline BuyLowSellHigh

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Re: Experimenting with Bacon Flavors
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2010, 04:40:14 pm »
So on the ones you feel are successful, you will share (post here) recipes and techniques, wont you ?   :)
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squirtthecat

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Re: Experimenting with Bacon Flavors
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2010, 06:00:03 pm »

A local watering hole has jalapeno bacon cheeseburgers...    The bacon is foodservice stuff, but I wonder if it could be made from scratch with a wet brine of MTQ and Pickled Jala juice??

My buddy said it just looked like regular bacon, but with a nice punch.

Offline JYoung

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Re: Experimenting with Bacon Flavors
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2010, 04:55:05 pm »
So on the ones you feel are successful, you will share (post here) recipes and techniques, wont you ?   :)

Sure thing; ill write up some better instructions and post in the near future.