What you can eat:
Stephen’s Premier Bacon….This is a savory bacon, with a pronounced flavor coming from black pepper and juniper as well as the hickory wood used to smoke it. I developed this recipe to make a bacon that is distinct from the sweet applewood bacon that you see everywhere. I like applewood bacon—but it’s a breakfast bacon. Stephen’s Premier is good for any meal! It goes well in sandwiches, cubed in salads or with pasta, eggs, wrapped around scallops or figs, draped over roasts, in a mess of greens, or right out of the pan….
I’m not a fan of super crispy bacon—I like it chewy and meaty. No matter—cooked any way you like, I bet Stephen’s Premier will rock your plate (or whatever you eat off of). I also like to cook it in a cast iron pan, pouring the fat off as it renders (to use later!) so the bacon doesn’t overcook. No matter—use what you got and cook it your favorite way. It’s bacon—if you love it, it will love you back!
Smoky Chili Oil…. When I cure the bacon, I use whole chilies—their essence magically sneaks into the bacon, leaving flavor without the heat. Later, in the smoker, I put the chilies under the bellies in a pan, so the smoky fat bathes over them, but I’ve gotta get ’em out before they get too hot! After the bellies are done but the embers are still giving off cool hickory smoke, I put the chilies back in the smoker for a bit. The chilies have a lovely smoky bacon essence in them now, so I take them and submerge them in Italian olive oil. Drizzle this oil in soups, pasta, over meats—wherever….
Occasional Products – These are items that I make every once in a while….
Damn Fine Smoked Ham….I’ve gotten together with my brother-in-pork Edward from Dehesa Foods, and we’re making some excellent smoked hams! I came up with the brine for this while working on the back bacon – it’s brined in molasses, with juniper and fresh bay leaf and is slowly smoked over oak and cherry with a hint of hickory.
Damn Fine Black Back Bacon… This is my take on a sweeter bacon. Back bacon is a traditional British cut. It’s made from the loin – often with some of the rib meat still attached. To give it the Damn Fine Bacon flair, I’ve brined it in a mixture of treacle, coffee, stout and warm spices. It’s smoked over just oak and cherry, with a regular basting of treacle, crushed juniper and black pepper.
Damn Fine Cider-Brined Loin… This new item came from my desire to do another back bacon, but since the cut for true back bacon (loin with some of the belly still attached) is hard to get, I settled on doing just the loin. I use cider to tip my hat to the pork-and-applesauce dish that’s so Americana. I use local cider (both hard and soft) as well as a bit of coriander and bay leaf. After brining for a few days, I smoke the loin using apple, apricot and cherry woods.