Monday, November 30, 2015

November 29, 2015: What I am Thankful For - and it's NOT Bacon Scented Underwear!

MY LIFE WITH BACON continues this week with what I am thankful for (yes, it's her), and featuring a new product: bacon scented underwear.


BACON SCENTED UNDERWEAR IS FOR REAL! Amazing new product is available for purchase; read about it here. It's available for $20 in both men's and women's versions. Bacon-scented pillowcases are also available. A bacon-themed site, J&D Foods, is the purveyor.

THIS WEEK'S BACON is some of the bacon I smoked up last weekend, plus bacon purchased in Vermont for our family's Thanksgiving weekend.

I'll review the Vermont bacon in the future; here is the home made bacon from last week along side some Taylor Ham (top of picture). Taylor Ham is a NJ thing...

WHAT AM I THANKFUL FOR? Like all of us, I am thankful for LOTS of things, starting with my wife and our life. Thankful for the freedoms in this country and the people who defend it.

Each year, at the Peck Thanksgiving, the Saturday after the traditional holiday, each person around the table has to answer the question, "What are you thankful for?" Some answers are funny, some poignant, some traditional, some boring, and some are outrageous and entertaining. This is my answer for this year, with some research:

I am thankful for the author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale was born on October 24, 1788 in Newport, NH.

She was home schooled, a poet, and author, and later the editor of a magazine called “American Ladies’ Magazine” and related journals. She has been described as the “Oprah and Martha Stewart combined” of her day, as an arbiter of American tastes. A true patriot, one of her initiatives was to raise money for the completion of the 221-foot high Bunker Hill monument. She asked her readers to each donate a dollar, and she also organized a craft fair at the Quincy Market.

But her real legacy is why I am thankful for her.

1863 was a momentous year in the United States. 

The Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves, went into effect in January. 

The Union Army was handed a major defeat in May at Chancellorsville.

West Virginia (previously part of Virginia) became the 35th state. 

In July, America suffered its bloodiest three days in history during the Battle of Gettysburg, where there were over 46,000 casualties.

And on September 28, 1863, Sarah Hale wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln.

Here is some of what it said:

“Permit me, as Editress of the "Lady's Book", to request a few minutes of your precious time, while laying before you a subject of deep interest to myself and -- as I trust -- even to the President of our Republic, of some importance…” She goes on to say, that by “the noble example and action of the President of the United States, the permanency and unity of our Great American Festival of Thanksgiving would be forever secured.”  

Three days later, Honest Abe made Thanksgiving the national holiday that it is today.

Hale is the single most responsible individual for making Thanksgiving a national holiday in the United States. I'm thankful for her work in helping us all be thankful.

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 22, 2015: Bourbon-Jalapeno-Tequila Infused Bacon

MY LIFE WITH BACON continues this week with a review of the bacon I started curing a week ago, and some great pork shoulder (pic below) for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.

THE CURE consisted of  Knob Creek Bourbon, Tapatio Tequila and jalapeno peppers, in a modified version of this recipe.

Here's a picture of the curing bacon in baggies. Flipped 'em over in the morning and again in the evening for a full week, from Saturday morning to the next Sunday afternoon.

POST CURE, above, this is what it looked like, just before a rinse.  Below is the pork shoulder, after sitting in a nice injection 'marinate' for 24 hours and before going into the smoker.

I smoked the hunks of pork belly with the 9-pound pork shoulder. Everything fit rather snugly in the smoker. This became pulled pork, which will be consumed by the family over Thanksgiving weekend. The pork was injected per this recipe, and I used "Carolina Dirt" rub.  I also smoked the jalapenos, which can cook up with the bacon later.

POST SMOKING, here's what the bacon looked like. Because I purchased it in long hunks (probably not intended for use as bacon) I had to slice it width-wise. I did cut some up lengthwise for my cooking test.

COOKING THIS BACON was a melange of olfactory sensations. Son Sam said it's the best bacon he's ever tasted. And below more pork shoulder...




Weekend topped off by friends, the Oakleys, whose son Will dropped off a gift.

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 8, 2015: The W.H.O. Bacon Scare is a Conspiracy!

MY LIFE WITH BACON continues this week with news analysis of the Wall Street Journal,

OOPS, didn't notice that I didn't actually publish this last week. So you get a double-dose of posts.

BACON IN THE NEWS--------------------------------------------------

BIG NEWS STORY IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL - this week, the esteemed WSJ published an op-ed piece entitled "The Climate Agenda Behind the Bacon Scare". In it, the journal links anti-meat proponents, who are also often climate-change enthusiasts, in a sort of conspiracy to get the world to eat less meat. The article claims that the actual scientific evidence between eating bacon and cancer is scant; the evidence related to process meats is even thinner. Great analysis of the article here; in reviewing the actual studies, I have to agree that the link between bacon consumption in reasonable quantities, and cancer, is weak.
THE DANGERS OF DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE. Of course, I've previously written about another global chemical catastrophe-in-waiting, and that is over-consumption and improper use of the chemical DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE. Again, the article here is worth the read. People have been known to DIE when over-consuming dihydrogen monoxide. It is also commonly used by people who prep for eating competitions. See the "Training and Preparation" section of this article.

BACON SHOW IN VEGAS - yes, Sin City is getting in on the bacon craze. This link is a highlight video of the burlesque 'strip' show. Looks like fun! Sponsored by Hormel's Black Label bacon.

November 15, 2015: Jalepeno Bacon at home, and a review of Pederson's Natural Apple Smoked Bacon

MY LIFE WITH BACON continues with another home-made bacon, this one inspired by last week's post. I'll cook it next week and give you a report.

I, like all of us in the civilized world, are so saddened by the events of Paris, and angered by the senseless murders. A good listen, a podcast by Sam Harris: Still Sleepwalking Toward Armageddon. Frightening.

THIS WEEK'S BACON is HOME MADE BACON inspired by Hormel Black Label Jalepeno Bacon. As you might know from last week's post, the Black Label Strip Show in Las Vegas is an actual live show; when I looked at the varieties of bacon they offer, one of them was jalepeno based.

I bought the bacon at Costco - and it came in chunk strips, typically for braising. But I chose to cure it and later, I'll smoke it. Here is the bacon, currently wet curing. I'll cure it for the week, and smoke it next weekend.

I followed the recipe below, with a few twists. One of them is a trade secret; the other is that I used tequila in addition to the bourbon.

The recipe comes from this very interesting site. Photo of the actual recipe below:

I also made some commercial bacon this week: 


The package was 10 ounces, but it weighted in at 10.2 ounces. Nice little bonus. It cooked down to 2.9 ounces and produced 75 ml of bacon fat. On opening the package, it had a clean, sweet, slightly smoky aroma. Very tasty; solid, solid bacon. The bacon did curl a bit and I had to use my press to flatten those pieces out. 

Good, solid bacon.