Friday, June 26, 2009

Bacon madness

First off, I'd like to preface this entire post by saying it is the product of too much free time and an overactive imagination. Yesterday, I procured another entire pork belly, ribs attached. With the ribs removed, I figure this to weigh 8 lbs. give or take. So, I'm looking at doing 4 different 2lb. slabs. One will be a tesa, leaving 3 rashers of bacon. I plan on curing the tesa with the same flavor profile as my porcini salame, which is dried porcini powder, fresh and dried sage and garlic. Now, on to the bacon. I will do one of the sage, ginger, garlic bacon(basically, Ruhlman's breakfast sausage made into a bacon cure). For the second, I may go rosemary, fennel seed, hot pepper, honey, lemon zest. As for the last, this is where I think I've gotten a little weird. I was thinking of orange zest, brown sugar, hot pepper, mint and..............unsweetened cocoa powder? Bear with me. It seems to be fashionable lately to pair chocolate and chillis. I also have seen plenty of bacon and chocolate combinations. So, I figured it might work. And, let's be honest, it's bacon, would it really taste bad? I'd like some input prior to actually starting. Ideas, thoughts, opinions? Let's hear 'em. Sorry for the poor picture. Thought I'd take a quick snap of the curing bacons/pancetta. Top left is cocoa, bottom left rosemary, fennel, honey. Top right is sage, ginger, bottom right is the pancetta.


  1. I'm all over the chocolate bacon combo.

    I made some chocolate guanciale toffee a few months ago that was killer, but I never thought to actually put the chocolate IN the bacon.

    I'm intrigued. My pig arrives next Wednesday, so you may have just inspired me to riff off of this. Minus the orange, of course :)

    To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about the inclusion of the mint in all of that. But, I'm open to experimentation, so you'll have to let me know how it turns out!


  2. Actually, I must confess. The chocolate bacon idea was stolen from YOU, with that exact post. You're not a fan of orange, I take it? I'm a huge fan of orange and chocolate together. As far as the mint, I realize it may seem out of place. This idea occurred having eaten a clam dish(far fetched clams-chocolate, I know)with mint and chillies, the combination was fantastic. But, I guess I don't have to include an herb. I don't think I have any, regardless, so, point is moot. OK, so, orange zest, brown sugar, cocoa powder it is.

  3. Wow, Scott, I thought your idea was pretty out there 'til I read about Porsha's chocolate guanciale toffee! My first thought is "That's totally crazy!," and immediately my second thought is "Where can I taste some!" I will definitely have to dig that post out of her archives.

    Can't wait to hear how the bacon turns out!

  4. Indeed!

    I'm looking forward to hearing how these all turn out, too.

    And Larbo, not sure if you've ever tried Vosges Mo' Bacon bar, but the chocolate guanciale toffee is a decent substitute for it. Really, it's kind of like a salted caramel covered in chocolate, with a nice meaty aftertaste.


  5. Hey Scott,
    Just wanted to follow up and see how your cocoa bacon experiment is working out?

    Our side of hog was delivered last night, and it turned out to be much larger than either my grocer or I had anticipated (he was expecting 80-100lbs, it's closer to 150)

    That being said, I have a belly side to prep for bacon, and (wait for it!) am going to attempt a prosciutto!

    Wish me luck!

  6. I'll be posting pictures soon. Been on a mini vaca. The cocoa bacon is a good bacon. Really no hint of cocoa. Strange, because the cure really smelled of strong chocolate. I guess the smoke just blew it away. But, like I wrote, it's bacon, what could really happen to it?

    That sure is a load of hog you got. Reading your post yesterday, I think you should try a lavender, star anise, cardamom and pink peppercorn bacon ;).

  7. Hmmm... you might be on to something with that, actually.

    That sounds strangely alluring!

    I'll probably be trying out many bacons (bacii?) with this pig - the belly was almost too big to get into my fridge!