Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I've been a bit delayed, but I thought I'd post some pics from my newest diversion, SURFING. I got a call from our friend Matt who happens to own two surfboards and two wetsuits and we headed out about 10:00 on December 2 to Ocean City to foray into the wild world of surf. I spent most of my time trying to get out past the breakers, and had maybe 3 chances where I could maybe have stood up on the board. I didn't really stand a chance. I emerged about 2 hours later, exhausted but strangely exhilirated.

A couple of observations: Wrestling your way into a wetsuit on a 40 degree day is not exactly fun, but is in no way as bad as wrestling your way out of one, wet, on a 40 degree day.
Secondly, Waves, while they may not look crazy from the shore, are much bigger when your head is only inches from the surface of the water.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I had so much success making a bike at home that I thought I might diversify... TO BACON!!

After reading several accounts on how inferior store bought bacon was, and how easy it is to make your own, I decided that I had to try it for myself.

Step one is to get a pork belly. I happen to have a butcher at hand who not only sells pork belly, looks like he has a little one of his own! You take the pork belly and slather it with a dry rub of about 50% salt 50% brown sugar and stick it in a ziploc bag in the fridge for about a week. I thought that I would be creative and I took some pineapple and blended it up with the salt/sugar mix and pasted it all over the little porkbellies. Bad idea. Pineapple apparently has some sort of chemical in it which essentially digests meat protein. After about a week in the fridge, I looked in the bags and found that instead of drying out the juices and curing the bacon, the exterior of the pork belly had turned to salty pig slime. No matter, I simply washed off most of the slime and re-salted the little bastards, left it in for another 3 days and proceeded with the process.

The picture here shows the cured pork belly with the salt brine washed off. The most disconcerting part of the whole affair was the fact that pork bellies come with skin and in this case, a nipple, still attached.

Next step was to wait over night while the surface dried out into a "pellicule" and then smoke the bacon. I decided to turn our chimanea into a smoker by placing a plank over the top and front, and then suspending a piece of wood with spikes and a thermometer from the top. This would be my pork holder. I stoked the fires, and then quenched them a bit by covering the bed of coals with a double layer of tin foil. This kept the heat in the chimney at about 200-250 degrees, ideal for smoking. To create flavor, I put some water-soaked apple wood chips that my dad had mailed to me (think I'm crazy? Meet Ronn Ritz)on top of the foil layer. The water keeps them from bursting into flame and produces more smoke. Then I sat back and waited for about an hour and a half while the bacon smoked and reached an internal temperature of 150 degrees.

After smoking, the bacon was essentially done. All that remains is to slice,

and enjoy!!

Tastes pretty damn good. Next time I skip the pineapple, add some sage and some sodium nitrate!