Some time last year, Gusface Grillah over at gusfacegrillah.com experimented with some pulled bacon. Basically, he took a pork butt, cured it, smoked it, and turned it into a piece of art. With fresh tomatoes on the horizon, I decided to make a little pulled bacon for my first BLT of the summer.
First, I whipped up a batch of my Apple Cider Bacon Brine. I purchased a boneless pork butt, about 4.5 pounds, and allowed the meat to cure in the refrigerator for about two weeks. Normally for a pork belly the cure time would only be 7-10 days, but I added the extra time to ensure that the inside of the butt was cured as well. After curing, I soaked the butt in an ice water bath overnight, then rinsed well to remove all of the cure.
The next step was easy: just smoke the butt like you are making pulled pork. I smoked at 250 F with cherry, pecan, and hickory wood until the internal temperature was 195 F. I wrapped the pork but with foil and a towel and let rest in a cooler for two hours. Then, Hope removed the foil, vacuum packed, and placed in the refrigerator for a week.
Vacuum packing and letting the meat rest for a week allows the smoke flavor to mellow a bit, making for a better end product. David, our friend over at Heavy D BBQ gave us that piece of advise and he is spot on.
After the week of rest, I removed the butt from the plastic and started pulling it just like I do for my BBQ pulled pork.
This pulled bacon had a little bit of everything. There was a little bark from the sugar in the cure and lots of smoky bacon flavor. I will say, there was just a bit a hammy taste, but bacon was the prevalent flavor.
As luck would have it, the first batch of Early Girls were available at our local farmers market. So, I took about 1/3 of a cup of the pulled bacon and added to a hot skillet with a bit of cooking spray. I heated until slightly crisp on one side then flipped to crisp the other side. Then, I placed my pulled bacon on some crispy white bread with mayo, and sliced fresh tomatoes.
I packed up the rest in smaller portions and froze for future use. A great use during the winter would be some for chowder or other some other hearty soup. Maybe even as filling for a hearty omelet.
Thanks for stopping by,