Tuesday, 7 April 2009

this little piggy...

People really love their pork. A recent flippant comment on my twitter account caused a huge uproar (and multiple PR opportunities) and it seems that the internet is devoted to the noble porcine in all its shapes and forms.

Here are a few I've stumbled upon in my persuit of ultimate bacon enlightenment:

Bacon Today - a website entirely devoted to just one piggy part. How to cook it, where to find it, what to do with it once you've got your greasy little hands on it..I especially applaud them for finding odd bacon products, such as the Swedish 'squeezable bacon'. Yep, bacon in a tube.. requiring no cooking or refrigeration, this one is for those busy bacon-on-the-go types: One quick squeeze and you're ready to rock.

Whatever it is (probably not bacon), this site loves it like a pig loves truffles.

If you're a little more highbrow (and DIY) then Best By Farr a great site by US blogger, Ryan Farr. He'll show you - from 'go' to 'whoah', how to cure and roll your very own Pig...face.

I'm not talking about those horrible little flowers Bourke's Backyard made so popular in the early 90's, but real, porky, tongue, ears and jowls. Oink.

You may have heard of the turducken (chicken, stuffed in a duck, stuffed in a turkey) but have you heard of the Pig Wrapped Pig Stuffed Pig? Created by humble copy editor Jim Webster for a Mario Batali judged competition. So what is it exactly? Webster's creation is a homemade pork sausage flavored gently with orange zest and toasted fennel, stuffed in a pork tenderloin, then wrapped carefully with pancetta and grilled. He says "It's a bold marriage of flavors, contrasting salty and sweet."

Feel like giving it a try?

Pig-Wrapped Pig-Stuffed Pig

2 tablespoons fennel seed

1 tablespoon salt

2 large oranges (finely minced zest and juice, used separately)

1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut in 1-inch chunks

1 cup orange marmalade

2 pork tenderloins, about 1 1/2 pounds each, each sliced in thirds (3 pieces, about 4 inches long each), butterflied and pounded to about 1/4 inch thick

10 to 12 ounces pancetta, sliced thin (24 to 30 slices)

To make the orange-fennel sausage: Heat a dry skillet. Toast the fennel seed for about 3 to 4 minutes. Keep pan moving to keep seeds from burning. Run the toasted fennel seeds through a spice mill to grind. Toss the fennel seed, salt and orange zest with the pork shoulder chunks. Run through a meat grinder. (Substitute 1 1/2 pounds bulk pork sausage to eliminate this step.)

To make the glaze: In a small saucepan, combine orange juice and marmalade. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes, or until you are ready for it at the grill.

To assemble the meat rolls: Take 4 to 6 slices of pancetta (depending on the size of your butterflied pieces of tenderloin), and lay them out on a work surface, overlapping the edges slightly. Put a piece of tenderloin on top of the pancetta. The tenderloin should extend a little beyond the pancetta on the sides. Place 3 ounces of sausage down the center of the tenderloin. Fold the ends of the tenderloin up. Get your fingers under the pancetta on one of the sides, and pull the pancetta and tenderloin up to cover the sausage. Roll the package over the rest of the way. These can go straight to the grill, or be individually wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.

To grill: Preheat grill. For gas grill, turn three burners on high until grill is about 400 degrees, then turn off the middle burner and leave the outside burners on high. For a charcoal grill, set up for indirect heat cooking.

When grill is hot, put the meat over the middle burner. Cook covered for about 5 minutes, then turn 1/2 turn. After 5 more minutes, brush glaze on meat and turn 1/4 turn. After another 5 minutes, baste with more glaze and turn 1/2 turn.

Monitor temperature of the biggest piece. When the internal temperature gets to about 135 degrees, take roll off the grill and baste with more glaze. Allow to rest about 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Leftover glaze can be used as a sauce.

Serves 8 to 12.

Source: Jim Webster, Clearwater

Watch the magic happen:

My favourite quote: "That's the soundtrack to pork porn right there."

And lastly, bacon candy. You knew it felt so right the first time you ate pancakes with bacon and maple syrup...the taste sensation is now portable in a range of pork candies.

Lollyphile.com produce maple bacon lolly pops, complete with shards of bacon suspended in amber-like maple candy - just to remind you of what you're eating.

I wasn't aware that pairing bacon and chocolate was considered 'gourmet' but Vosges - a candy company specialising in odd couples (including 'enchanted mushroom chocolate'), seem to have cornered the market in making the bacon-chocolate combination a bit fancy.

So whether its bacon candy, rolled face or bacon greaser hairstyles - chances are you're not alone in your love of the porcine prince and all its wonderful applications. Oink.

(all images sourced from the discussed website and are for pictorial reference of what you'll find there)


Forager said...

The maple bacon is the one that got me. I know Canadians have streaky bacon with maple syrup but seeing those little flecks of bright pink bacon encassed in a boiled lollypop just doesn't quite work. Still.. I'm curious to try it..

Simon Food Favourites said...

everything bacon except possibly this one
s :-)