Back to Reality…

Hello all my bacon brothers and sisters!  I’ve returned from my “man-cation” and am just about ready to get back into the swing of things.

Biggest decision of the day? To keep or not to keep the vacation beard…I’m really thinking yes.  Then FoTDB Courtney (SHOUT OUT) sent me this:

Let’s just say I’m gonna take it day-by-day but for now…THE BEARD STAYS! ;-)

I hope all our new friends “enjoyed” last week’s “best of” posts.  Brand spankin’ new bacon goodness returns tomorrow.

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Smoked Beef Tongue

“Italian Beef” Tongue

With a large and growing cookbook collection, I get asked by friends who may not have the same cookbook issues, “How do you choose which book to cook from – much less what to cook from the book you choose?” This has to be a common question. My answer – I will grab a book based on what I have at home or based on what the season is. Sometimes, I will see something online which will push me to get back into a book. When I do find a book, the driving force behind picking a recipe is almost always a new technique or ingredient I want to try. In this case, there was a technique which included boiling beef tongue after smoking it. I was skeptical. Won’t you boil off any smoke flavors? Wouldn’t the other way be better? I had to try it for myself.

This preparation of beef tongue comes from the new The New Charcuterie Cookbook by Jamie Bissonnette who cooks at Toro in New York and Coppa and Toro in Boston. The book packs in a lot of really interesting cured, smoked, encased  and variety meats into a small book and runs the gamut of time-intensive cured and dried sausages to offal tacos. It reads almost like a DIY handbook, fast and dense.

Not what it looks like. This is a tongue in cure. A tongue.

With the guidance within the book, I went to work on a tongue from The Butcher & Larder. First poking holes with a needle to more quickly cure the tongue , then mixing and applying the cure. After a few days, and a few turns in the salty cure, I dried the tongue overnight to prepare it for the cold smoke.

I lit a chimney of coals and tossed in a few logs of apple wood to cold smoke the tongue. With full trust, I laid the cold smoked tongue, still floppy and uncooked, over chopped onions, carrot and celery and covered the tongue with water. After simmering the tongue for a few hours, the house smelled of wood smoke, the water smelled of wood smoke and most importantly the tongue, which has been chilled quickly in an ice bath, smelled still of smoke.

I peeled the tongue while it was still warm and then chilled it overnight in the fridge. In a perfect world, I would have sliced the tongue with a meat slicer to get the perfectly thin and consistent slices. I live in a world with limitations however, so I sliced it into ruddy and inconsistently thin slices by hand. The cold slices reminded me of subtly smokey deli roast beef in flavor, so I grabbed a challah roll, added some cold, sliced tongue and topped it with Bari giardiniera.

Cold tongue sandwich

Upon tasting it, it was lovely, but the addition of the giardiniera made me consider this more like Italian beef, so I steamed some of the smoked tongue and added it to challah roll #2, adding giardiniera again. This was the ticket. It was beefy with a softer texture. The thin slices kept it from being chewy. The smokiness gave it a very savory quality, but it was balanced and not in your face like BBQ or bacon. Bissonnette nails it when he says the things some people don’t like about tongue are solved by cooking it and slicing it like this.

The little bit which grabbed me when I read this recipe was the smoke then boil technique. I was admittedly skeptical about boiling after cold-smoking, but I am a believer. I just had to try it first.

Smoked Beef Tongue
From The New Charcuterie Cookbook by Jamie Bissonnette
(italicized notes are mine)

1 fresh beef tongue, about 3 lb (1 kg)

For the Cure:
2 cups kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp coriander
2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
2 tsp chili flakes
2 tbsp fennel seed
1 tsp caraway

Smoking chips (I used Apple Wood Chunks)

2 cups mirepoix

Use the jacquard (I used a needle) to punch the whole tongue evenly about 20 times. Rub the tongue in the cure mix and refrigerate it for 48 hours.

Set the chips on fire using one pan, then smother the fire with a small amount of water. Transfer the smoldering chips to the bottom half of a two-part perforated/nonperforated pan. Put the tongue in the top, then cover it tightly with tin foil. Poke 1 or 2 small holes in tin foil for smoke to escape. Cold smoke for 1 hour. (I used my cold smoking set up because I have one.)

Place the tongue in a stockpot and cover with 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water. Add mirepoix. Bring to a boil, then turn down to just above simmer and cook 2 hours.

Remove the tongue and cool it in an ice bath. When it’s cool enough to handle, peel off the outer skin. Wrap the tongue in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve the tongue, slice it thin like deli meat for sandwiches or cut thick slices and grill. This also works nicely warmed up with chicken stock and
served with lentils.


Heritage Foods USA: Old Spot Bacon

Having easy access to affordable bacon is important to Americans, but it’s also increasingly important to know where our bacon comes from. I’ve tasted many different brands in my lifetime, but as much as possible I try to support small producers (and find that’s where the best bacon comes from anyway).

Heritage Foods USA was founded in 2001 as an arm of Slow Food USA, a non-profit organization established to “counter the rise of fast food, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.”

Heritage works directly with 40 family farmers and processes 200 pigs per week. All of their cuts come from humanely raised, heritage breed pigs.

I recently tasted their Maple Sugar Cured Gloucestershire Old Spot Bacon, and it’s one of the best I’ve ever had. The fat marbling in this bacon is so sweet and milky, and this is a bacon I would definitely bake instead of frying so that with each bite you get a good mix of fat and lean. If you get a chance to try it and decide you like their bacon as much as I do, Heritage offers a Bacon Subscription to guarantee you’ll receive 3 pounds of their bacon every two months.

Bourbon Bacon S’mores

bourbon-bacon-smores

Bourbon Bacon S’mores

American Social in Ft. Lauderdale has refashioned a camp-site staple by adding bourbon and a savory slab of bacon to the traditional S’mores recipe. S’mores are campfire favorites because of their ease of preparation, but when you want to make a camping trip even more special, consider taking the time to make the homemade graham crackers and/or marshmallows before your next trip and bring them along. They are truly worth the work. You could also serve these as dessert at a summer party when you want to “wow” your guests.

Located in the heart of Fort Lauderdale’s famous Las Olas Boulevard, American Social invites guests to come enjoy an endless selection of local and regional craft beers, frozen “pour-it-yourself” beer taps, fresh fruit spirits, traditional cocktails and all-American cuisine. Satisfying cravings around the clock, classic American dishes are available for lunch, dinner and late-night snacking. Honoring our country’s rich heritage, American Social’s warm decor features gas lanterns, original old-Chicago brick walls, and a good old-fashioned handcrafted Ipe wood bar. Also available are our two self-serve beer tap tables where you & up to eight of your friends can enjoy four of your favorite craft beers from the Lazy-Susan draft system in the center of the table – it’s like having 4 kegs right at your fingertips! Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Smores3-1
Homemade Bourbon Pecan Marshmallows Ingredients:

3 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold bourbon
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large egg whites
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup candied pecans (chopped)

1. Oil a 9 x 13 baking pan and sprinkle on powdered sugar generously to cover and coat entirely (including side walls). Set aside. Combine 1/2 cup cold water and 3 1/2 packs of gelatin and whip until resembling egg whites.

2. In a medium pot, combine sugar, bourbon, syrup and salt. Heat over low heat and whisk until sugar is dissolved, about 3-5 minutes. Turn heat up to medium and let sugar come to a boil. It will bubble up, so be careful so that it does not overflow. Let it boil for 8-12 minutes, until it reaches 240 degrees F. The mixture will appear to be a light brown color, but the marshmallows will still be white.

3. Once mixture is at 240 degrees F, turn off heat and gently pour it in the mixer over the gelatin mixing at a low speed. Once all of the sugar has been added, turn the mixer to high and beat for 6-8 minutes. It should grow in size to be white and fluffy. About 3-4 minutes in, add the egg whites to a separate bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Once stiff peaks are formed, combine egg whites, candied pecans and vanilla extract to the sugar/gelatin mixture and fold together.

4. Transfer to greased sugared baking pan from before. Spread mixture evenly, to make sure all marshmallows are same size and allow to sit for 3-5 hours. Cut to desired size and coat in powdered sugar. Transfer to cover plastic container and label. Do not refrigerate.

Homemade Graham Crackers Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups white, whole wheat flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
13/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
7 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp. cold water
3 tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Combine the dry ingredients and mix. Next, cut the cold butter into small pieces and using your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it is well combined, you can use a food processor.

2. Stir in the cold water, molasses and vanilla. If the dough is too dry, add a little more cold water a teaspoon at a time. Continue to combine with your fingers.

3. Gather the dough into a ball and cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes. Refrigerating will help make the dough less sticky when rolling it out. You could skip the refrigeration part, you’ll just need more flour when rolling the dough.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Flatten and roll the dough onto the parchment paper to the thickness you desire, approximately 1Ž4 inches. You may need to use some flour to keep dough from sticking to the rolling pin.

5. Using a pizza cutter cut through dough into 2” x 2” don’t worry they will bake back together. Using back of a wood skewer or fork poke 4 – 6 holes in each square.
Bake 7 -8 minutes then remove and brush with melted butter and generously coat with cinnamon sugar. Return to oven for 6 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and quickly transfer from pan so not to burn. Allow to cool.

Ingredients for S’mores:

8 ea. 2” x 2” graham cracker squares
8 slices of cooked, crisp applewood bacon
1 large Godiva sea salt and dark chocolate bar
4 homemade bourbon pecan marshmallows

To assemble:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Place all graham crackers sugar side down and top with one square each of chocolate
3. Place in oven for 4 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt
4. Gently brown marshmallow on all 6 sides
5. Remove graham crackers from oven and top half with toasted marshmallows
6. Chop each slice of bacon in thirds and top marshmallows
7. Place remaining four grahams with chocolate atop bacon

The post Bourbon Bacon S’mores appeared first on Bacon Today.

Summertime Spaghetti alla Carbonara

summertime-spaghetti-alla-carbonara

This recipe comes to us from the “Bring Home The Bacon” line of products. This Spaghetti alla Carbonara recipe was created to highlight the flavor of their Truffle Bacon. It puts a spin on a traditional carbonara recipe by adding sun-dried tomatoes and truffle bacon. Feel free to substitute your favorite bacon brand.

Local salt purveyors Aaron and Liz Eckburg have been busy. These two serial entrepreneurs have parlayed their love of pork products and salt and have launched a new line of bacon aptly named, “Bring Home the Bacon” and are working to bring it to local grocery store shelves. These bacons for every occasion are: Applewood Maple, Savory Herb, Chocolate and Black Truffle. “As far as we can tell, we have created the world’s only black truffle bacon and we’re excited to share our premium proteins with bacon lovers everywhere,” said Aaron Eckburg.

About go lb. salt: Founded by owners Aaron and Liz Eckburg in 2011, go lb. salt is Arizona’s original salt bar, bringing premium sea salts to select local farmers markets in the Phoenix area. go lb. salt offers Natural & Organic sea salts and Smoked sea salts, Himalayan Aromatic sea salts, Himalayan Saltware cooking and serving slabs, premium imported peppercorns & pepper berries along with certified organic flavored cane sugars. All products are gluten-free and vegan-friendly. Visit www.golbsalt.com for more info.

pasta carbonara

1 lb. spaghetti
2 Tbsp. EVOO
1 lb. Truffle Bacon – (Bring Home The Bacon brand from go lb. salt)
1 medium onion (1/4?? diced)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 oz. sriracha salted sun-dried tomatoes (or plain sun-dried tomatoes – optional) fresh pea shoots (optional)
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
1?2 c. grated grana padano (or Locatelli pecorino romano)
Sel Gris sea salt
Tellicherry pepper

Instructions:

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti pasta until al dente. Drain well. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or rendered bacon fat), and set aside.

2. Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook chopped bacon until slightly crisp; remove and drain onto paper towels. Leave bacon fat in pan; add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and heat in reused large skillet. Add chopped onion, and cook over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add minced garlic, and cook 1 minute more.

3. Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes and return cooked bacon to pan; add cooked and drained spaghetti. Toss to coat and heat through, adding more olive oil (or bacon fat) if it seems dry or is sticking together. Add beaten eggs and yolks and cook, tossing constantly with tongs or large fork until eggs are barely set. Quickly add 1?2 cup grana padano, and toss again. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that bacon and grana padano are very salty).

4. Serve immediately with pea shoots sprinkled on top, and extra cheese at table.

The post Summertime Spaghetti alla Carbonara appeared first on Bacon Today.