Friday, February 14, 2014

Holy homemade bacon

This is one of those times when you try something and you really, truly know you will never, ever go back to the way it was.

We cured our fresh pork belly last week with sugar, blackstrap molasses, salt and pepper, following this recipe, and just cooked some up this morning. Wow. It was so delicious. We were planning on smoking the slabs, but have decided against it because it is just too darn good. This stuff won't be for sale, friends... we are keeping it for special dinners (like tonight's V-Day homemade pizza-by-the-fire), lazy Sunday mornings, and maybe a lucky Supper Club or two.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


With 20 pounds of leaf lard in our freezer from our pigs, I decided to render the lard. Leaf lard is, at room temperature, very soft and oily, almost spreadable. But there is still a bit of muscle in there, so it has to be rendered at a low heat to be able to strain out impurities. So I chopped about 3 pounds up, put it in a baking dish, and baked it at 300 for a little less than 2 hours, following a simple "recipe" from Flying Pigs Farm. I strained the lard into ice cube trays for freezing and some into the small mason jar that is ready to use tonight for sauteeing vegetables, making pie crust, roasting potatoes, frying an egg, or for pretty much any other dish you'd use bacon fat in.

We'll offer some to our pork customers - save money by not having to buy butter, which goes for about $5 per pound for organic unsalted (and, believe me, doesn't cook up savory dishes as flavorfully).

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Your not-so-standard Super Bowl fare

So, it was an underwhelming Super Bowl game on Sunday.

But we spiced it up with some non-traditional tastes. Making room in our chest freezers for all of our delicious pork, we thawed out 40 chicken feet and one pig's tail. Think: "buffalo chicken feet" and "brined, braised, broiled tail."

It was a lot of work. Chicken feet: clean, clip off claws, boil for an hour, bake to dry out, deep fry and toss in buffalo chicken sauce. Tail: brine for 24 hours, braise for 3 hours, rest for 8 hours, broil for 30 minutes.

And it didn't taste all that great. But it was so worth the adventure (and the extra square foot of freezer space).