Vacation Bacon

VACATION !!!!

I took the Fourth of July week off.

I didn’t have any plans  except to smoke some homemade bacon.

I actually get quite a bit of time off, but I have a hard time getting away from work and I don’t usually take time off early in the year, and it’s not uncommon for me to have 3 full weeks of vacation time left in October/November.

Smokin

That’s my little smoker.  I think that was my 15th anniversary award from work about 6 years ago.  This is the first smoker that I have had and it’s a good beginner model to learn and to see if you have the chops to smoke your meats!!

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Not in the habit of using additives to the fire, but my father in law gave me this bag of hickory pellets so I thought I would use it up today.

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Made up two packets.  One will go on the bottom and the other on the top of the charcoal.

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The bowl of unlit charcoal gets set inside on the bottom.  I have to hand feed replacement charcoal though that little door on the side and I pick out the biggest lumps from the bag so it is easier to reload the charcoal.  I’ve smoked with lump and briquettes and not sure there is a huge difference in using either one.

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This little piggy went to get smoked !!!

The good news is that I have found a local source for getting my pork belly rather than having to go some distance to find the pork belly, but the bad news is that they only have chunks of the pork belly, not the big slabs.  I would rather have the big slab, but this works for me !

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Charcoal burning and the pork belly is on the grill.

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VIOLA !!

About 2 1/2 hours later, WE HAVE BACON !!!!

It will go into the refrigerator overnight and we will start eating it the next day !

This might be about the 8th time that I have made my own bacon, and I am still learning but just nibbling on a tiny bit of this, I think this might be my best !!

https://bacontime.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/homemade-bacon/

https://bacontime.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/making-bacon-part-iii/

https://bacontime.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/making-bacon/

 

Smokin’ !

SMOKIN’ !!!!

Things that have been on the smoker.

 

Smoking

 

Turkey Wings:

I’ve bought smoked wings before when they were marked down at the store before and I saw these wings were marked down as well.  I shredded the meat and had them with rice for my lunch for the week.  They turned out really well.

 

Lamb Shanks:

I’ve bought lamb shanks before on sale and thought they were fine when I cooked them.  Thought I would try smoking them.  They turned out “OK.”  I haven’t eaten a lot of lamb in my life but I do like my lamb rare and theses were well done.  Shanks also have a lot of tendons and connective tissue and makes a bit of work to eat.  They tasted fine, but doubt I will smoke shanks again.

BACON :

Yep. another slab o’ bacon.  The last one I made had too much brown sugar on it so this time I went with a bit less.  Also, I had to use table salt instead of kosher salt and I did not use enough.  No salty flavor at all.  But, the good thing is even if the bacon is a failure, I still have smoked pork !!!

VACATION !!!!!

Well dang…. vacation is over.

I do have to say that for not having spent the week on a exotic,remote, tropical location being waited on hand and foot by a never ending stream of Polynesian woman (Fletcher Christian knew what was going one there !!!), it was on of the best vacations that I have had recently.

I ended up doing quite a bit of things and I think the biggest reason was that I got up everyday and went to the gym. It’s a good way to get the day started and prevents me from lollygagging the day away !!

Went for four nice little bike rides.

 

I had a gift card for Chili’s and we had a late lunch there one day:

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I was not impressed with this burger.

 

It was my daughter’s birthday which meant FREE SUSHI at JuRin:

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For me, this was sushi dinner “B”.

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Also got a nice “Caterpillar Roll” .  (Eel) YUM !!!

 

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Also being my daughter’s birthday, she had an sleepover with three of her friends.  I got to go out at 6am and get them doughnuts.

 

Vacation_005Did a little smoking on the smoker !!

Did another hunk of homemade bacon.  This time it did not turn out as best as it could.  I think that I had the heat too hot for a while, but I am getting close to getting to the perfect recipe and process.  Also tried smoking some salmon.  That also was not the best because of the high heat but it was still very good.  For good measure I put a slab of beef ribs on as well.

 

The doctor said I could have one beer while on vacation:

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You’d be surprised at how quickly this was emptied.

 

We put a fence around our backyard about 13 years ago and I still had some leftover parts that I finally wanted to use up and get out of the garage.

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TADA !!!

A new planter box !!

 

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I think it will last 3-4 years before it goes onto the burn pile.

 

And now, another project:

I have some good skills with concrete and there are several things I can make: Bowls, plant stands, specialty bricks and some various do-dads.  The wife had a friend that she had previously given a brick to and she requested several more so we took the time to whip some out:

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Combination of a sand mix and a pea gravel mix.

JUST ADD WATER !!!

How much more simple can it be??

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If you have a backyard, every proper house should have a wheelbarrow.

 

 

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The wife has a kit of plastic molds and letters that are used to stamp letters/names/words on the bricks.  Even though the molds are plastic and the concrete doesn’t stick to it, it helps to give them a little spray of WD-40 to help release the bricks. (Helps with the clean up too.)

 

 

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Like the bag said, just add water and mix !

 

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While the concrete is being mixed, the letters are being arranged for stamping.

 

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Concrete goes into the molds.

 

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Have to wait for the concrete to set to just the right condition and then it gets the letters pressed in.

If the concrete is too wet, the letters blur and if the concrete sets up too much, it too hard to press the letters in.

 

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Finished product.

 

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This is one of my specialties.

Just trowel a fern leaf on the top and when it’s dry, peel off.

 

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And of course, the clean up.