Homemade Tea-smoked Bacon Part 1

Pork for Sale

Where we are living, in rural Jiangsu province, there are no delectable western delights to be had.  Not even the western fast food outlets that are spreading everywhere in China. For that you have to travel to the nearest city Xuzhou, 2 hours away. However if we want to purchase western goods such as butter, cheese, milk and of course bacon we have to travel to the capital of Jiangsu, Nanjing, about 4 hours away. While not having all these western delights has been good for the waistline, there comes a time when the need for a bacon sandwich or the like becomes an addiction.

So this is where my ventures into making my own bacon started. A month or two ago, I tried a wet cure of some pork belly I purchased at the local market; however I found that it was really salty and didn’t have that lovely smoky flavour that comes with more traditional bacon.

Browsing the web this afternoon I came across this recipe more along the lines of what I was looking for.  Firstly, I am able to access most of the ingredients here in little old Suining, and secondly I can fashion a wok-styled stove top smoker for the smoking process using tea instead of woodchips. So the plan now is to get the curing process underway this weekend. I don’t think I will follow the curing recipe to the letter as I am not using pink salt, as it is poisonous, and instead use brown sugar, salt, some fennel seeds and bay leaves. Once that is done I can start playing with the smoking. Will update, with photos, of how it is all coming along.

How about you? Have you cured your own bacon before? What about smoking, any suggestions or advice for a newbie?

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What’s That Road?

The main road where I live is Dongsheng Road.  It’s an East-West affair and it’s home to the main bus routes.  The piece of Dongsheng we use, the relative piece, is 6kms of tarmaced, easy rolling flatness.  Seeing is believing.  Road rules are as follows.  Travel in any direction on any part of the road.  Indicate if you are injured, otherwise no indication is necessary.  Don’t attempt to look where you are going, just merge and let the stream of traffic take care of the rest.  Feel free to stop to take a call, change your mind, revert to plan C or U-turn at any time.   A complete halt in the fast lane is acceptable.  Luckily, all main roads here have two side lanes, either side, for lower speed traffic. Unfortunately, low-speed is not exclusive.  Driving up the slow lane the wrong way is allowed and makes life a living arcade game.  Come one, come all,  it’s dangerous!