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November 20, 2019 64 mins

Host Michael Ruhlman explores bacon with Chef Brian Polcyn and Farmer Jack Algiere.


Special thanks to Stone Barns Center for showing us around. Thanks to Dan Barber for the incredible bread.

https://www.stonebarnscenter.org/


And thanks to Brian for the bacon.


Brian and Michael have written 3 books together:


"Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing. "

https://www.amazon.com/Charcuterie-Craft-Salting-Smoking-Curing/dp/0393058298


"Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing"

https://www.amazon.com/Salumi-Craft-Italian-Dry-Curing/dp/0393068595/ref=sr_1_3?qid=1574221613&refinements=p_27%3ABrian+Polcyn&s=books&sr=1-3&text=Brian+Polcyn


"Pate, Confit, Rillette: Recipes from the Craft of Charcuterie"

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0393634310/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0


Host Michael Ruhlman's new book "From Scratch" is available now:

https://www.amazon.com/Scratch-Meals-Recipes-Dozens-Techniques/dp/1419732773/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1574221670&refinements=p_27%3AMichael+Ruhlman&s=books&sr=1-1&text=Michael+Ruhlman


All of the music on From Scratch is by Ryan Scott from his album "A Freak Growns in Brooklyn".

https://www.ryanscottguitar.com/

Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Sometimes we give them bowling balls, actually because they played
with the bowling balls. Yeah, it's a good bowling. Pigs
and bowling. It's pretty great combination. And that's the sound
you want to hear. It's the sound of knife against bomb.
It's a great sound in the morning. Reminds me of
a victory. Welcome to From Scratch. My name is Michael Ruhlman,

(00:25):
and I've spent the last twenty years in professional kitchens,
writing about and with the world's best chefs. From Scratch
is a podcast about cooking. In each episode, we'll talk
with one chef and one non chef about the same theme.
The great thing about the cooking life is that you
never stop learning. In this show, I want to go
to the edges of what I know and then go

(00:48):
beyond together with you, with all chefs, home cooks, and
everyone who cares about food and cooking. Today's theme is bacon,
which comes of course from the pig, and not the turkey,
as some people may be led to believe. We visit
a forward thinking farm that raises all kinds of animals,
not least of which is the pig, and I speak

(01:10):
with and cook with my dear friend co author and
general mischief maker in the kitchen Chef Brian Poulson, who
will tell you how to cure your own bacon that
most magical of ingredients. It's a good looking pig. Brian
has been owning and running restaurants in Detroit for decades.
He's a great chef and cook, but he's also an

(01:32):
extraordinary teacher, one of the best teaching chefs I've ever met.
In fact, Brian not only teaches charcuterie at Schoolcraft College
in Livonia, Michigan, he also teaches hog butchery classes throughout
the country and I often join him, as I did
for the class at Fossil Farms in Bouton, New Jersey.
You have to bleed the pig within thirty seconds to

(01:53):
a minute after it's stunned. The reason for that is
the heart still pumping, so that heart will facilitate getting
all the blood out. Why is the agent the animal
important agent to the pig. The more exercise marks, more exercise,
more CONNECTI tissue, more connected tissue, more callige, more caligium,
more flavor. Locomotion is critical to muscle development, so they
have to move around, okay, shoulder blade. This also tells
me a little story to age of the animal, bone, bone, cartilage,

(02:14):
so older animal wouldn't have hardly any carlage, like fIF
eighteen month old cartilage is gone. Well, he often gets
his information wrong. He's always funny, and once he's got
you smiling, you're his I was kidding about that, getting
his info wrong. By the way I had it. I
had a woman one time. She goes, where's this chicken from?
I said, fent in Michigan, and said what brand? What

(02:35):
is that? Bard Rocks? She goes, what did you do
to make it taste so good? I said, I seasoned
it with salt and pepper. She was, how did you
cook it? I said, I roasted it. It was so beautiful.
I didn't need anything else. She just wanted a story,
so I told her it was left handed. She was
I knew there was something. All right, Enough of that,
all right now, Brian, you teach hug butchery courses across

(02:58):
the country. I would say, I'm with you on the
chefs or craftsman, but there is a there is extraordinary
artistry in theater to how you break down a whole hog,
even though you are you've done a thousand pigs, even
though you've done that. Do you still keep learning when
you break down that pig. I do. And every pig
tells a story to me. And and there's a hundred

(03:19):
different ways to cut it pick. The only wrong way
to cut a pick is if you're gonna waste it.
So you can cut it for barbecue and cut for shortcutter,
and cut for salam. You can cut it for cooking,
you can cut it for utilization, cut of for retail,
cut of for a wholesale. You can cut it all
sorts of different ways. And there's always a little nuanced.
There's always something so it drives me. It's like it's
like I'll look at I'll cut one kind of I'll say, oh,

(03:40):
this pig looks like it was stressed, so I'm not
gonna waste the me. So if it was stressed me,
you well, like underneath it, on top of the shoulder
blade where the praise is that small muscle, there may
be some tissue there that's kind of uh, soft and
wet looking, and that's a sign of stress. Now does
that mean that you can't eat that bit? Yes, I

(04:02):
mean it does not. I mean you still use it,
but I would not dry here that because the pH
is wrong. You certainly wouldn't be good for salamia, but
maybe home muscle. I might take that into a shoulder
picnic ham, cure it and smoke it and use it
for um, you know, Ei, there's even lunch meets. It
would be good for it. Right, So I still learn
a lot and and it's very exciting. And you said,

(04:24):
well when I when I cut a pickets, you know
there is an entertainment value. I think, but I found
that being a teacher for as long as I have been.
You have to engage your audience. I am. I don't
care how smart I am or any teachers. If the
people who are listening to are not getting the subject manner,
you're not a good teacher. So if I've got a
pepper it with humor, if I've got to make a

(04:44):
joke about this or that, and it engages them and
they remember that, like you know, why do we trust chickens, Michael,
because we don't trust lawyers. Very good you learn that.
We started our discussion with Brian's favorite topic, one of
my favorite topics and an ingredient with near universal appeal, bacon.

(05:04):
We can never stop talking about bacon. We always conversations,
always comet reminds me of that NPR show where the
two women are talking on Saturday Night Life. Oh bacon, Well,
one of the things that I want to do is
I want to encourage more people to do it at home.
They don't, you know, it's it's easy. I couldn't agree
with you more. I mean, in Charcuteri our book, it's
probably the second easiest thing behind corned beef to do.

(05:27):
And you don't need a you know, elaborate smokehouse, although
it would make it better, but you can do it
as simply as on your barbecure harbachi outside introducing I
wouldn't use charcoal briquettes to get the flavor. I would
use hardwood. And you can make your own bacon. It's
very easy. And if you don't smoke it, you can
still roast it, right, yeah, which I which I have.

(05:48):
Roast off is a really good thing. They make good
lardons for Yeah. I'd like to tell people, you know,
I asked them, have they ever marinated a steak? So sure,
you put a stake in a bag with some you
know something to bacon is the same same thing. Well,
caaring is like that. Their principles to follow right, you know,
the amount of time on the salt, the ratio of

(06:09):
salt to the protein. You don't want your end result
to be bad. But and you know, it should be
a staple in your home kitchen. If you're even not
serious home cook, just an average hump cook, use bacon.
You make yourself as opposed to store bacon when you
make a white bean stew or or braised cabbage. You
know something a winter dish like that, Bacon becomes a
flavor enhancer, doesn't have to be the main thing, doesn't

(06:32):
have to be looked at me. I'm on the plate.
It's meant to be there. I am cool. Bacon is
so cool it doesn't need to have that center plate attention.
What is it about bacon that is so universal? Why
do we all love to We just love the smell
of it, We love the taste of it. Every even vegetarians,
I know, if they don't eat bacon, they long for bacon. Yeah.

(06:53):
I mean, I don't know if I should disclose this
to the public, but I snuggled with labs of bacon.
You know, I actually believe that, right, you know, it's uh,
you know, it's like one of those foods that are
important and it's nice to um to recognize it. It

(07:14):
means it's so versatile. I mean every everything has a
place in the kitchen. I mean, flour is important, butters important,
eggs are important, UM, salt is important, pepper is important,
Acid's important. But bacon is just one of those universal
things that it just does. It's perfect by itself, and
it does so much to other dishes. I mean, the
pig is the most versatile animal out there. I mean

(07:36):
there's so many things in charcuter and salumi that you
make from the pig that again are not meant to
be center of the place. It adds so much to
everything it touches. That's what's important about it. Bacon is
one product that falls into an entire category of cooking. Charcuterie,
all those things we made to preserve food before refrigeration
and continue to make today because of their deliciousness. Tell

(07:58):
us about charcuterie from your advantage point. What is it first?
What is it? Well, it's the art of preserving food
before the refrigerator. So everything before the refrigerator. Mean, if
you think about how long, how long has the refrigerator
been around a hundred fifty years because of electricity, but
food has been on the planet slightly longer than that.
And the craft of Sheercus what we call our books,
the craft. I'm tired of people saying chefs are artists.

(08:21):
You know, it's really it's not. It's a craft. It's
something you learn, something you understand. And many things were
not invented for the coolness they are today. Many things
in shercuter were invented out of necessity. It's like, I've
got this whole pig and it weighs four hundred pounds,
and I've only got two children and a wife, and
there's four of us. There's no way we're gonna eat
four inner pounds of meat. But we need to stay.

(08:43):
We need to stay a live through the winter. So,
I mean, you know, there's a lot of things that
out of necessity. The byproduct of it is that it
turns out it tastes pretty good. Like Presciuto, I mean Prisciutto.
Of course, Luigi and Roberto weren't sitting on a hill
a thousand years ago and tuscan and say, what would
you like to do today? Oh? Invents purshoot, though that
is not what happened, Okay, they said, man, let's put

(09:04):
salt on that and this hope it stays good. And
the byproduct is oh my god, it's turned into a
craft of of exact science. How much with the piggy's,
how much exercises, how long it hangs, what type of
salt you use, the environment hangs in the region, the
air of the book. That's why I sent Dan yell
at ham taste different than a than a parmer hand
that tastes different there by own ham. That's does from

(09:25):
um Patenegro, Serreno, Haim in Spain. They're all made the
same way. So important to you, so important well from
my perspective, you know, being a restaurant tour chef for
a long long time. UM, I own my own businesses.
And I don't know if anybody out there listening understands this,
but profit is not a dirty word. Profit is a

(09:47):
good thing when you own your own business, not at
the point of exploiting people for your own personal gain.
It's about respecting our environment, respecting our ingredients, and respecting
those animals that died in noble death. For us, it's
a privilege to be higher on the um food chain, right,
That's what I was thinking. I was thinking about this ladder.
But yeah, higher on the food chain exactly. That's why

(10:08):
we get along some way. You're reading my thoughts and
uh so, utilization is the key to profitability. I mean,
I would buy a half a pig every three weeks
at my restaurant. I butcher it up. I wouldn't make
pshot or I might make roast, I might make a
shinkin spec I might make lonzo lomo, sausage, slambi, whatever,
every single scrap, everything was utilized, first, of course out

(10:28):
of respect for the animal and what I paid for it,
but also out of profitability. I mean it is magical,
is the most magical part of the kitchen to take
underutilized cuts that most chefs might not know what to
do with it, A shank, a shoulder, a neck muscle.
Everybody knows what to do with the chops. The middle

(10:49):
meets the belly, the ham, the head, even the head
for a porqueta de testa or or a brawn would
be in Scottish cooking or so presented the scan which
would be a head cheese and Tuscany. It is beautiful,
beautiful food that lasts relatively long with or without refrigeration.
It tastes great, it blows your mind, and it's highly profitable.

(11:12):
I mean it's my soul. You know, may have chef,
creative guy, but I have a businessman and uh for me,
that's why. I mean, it'sn't been part of my life
since really really early on two I think it was
my first how you just had a big birthday? Has
sixty baby? I love getting although it's like, I think

(11:33):
my best years are in front of me, and uh,
I've done a lot in the restaurant. I've contributed to
a certain amount of American cuisine, not as much as
other people, but in my own small way, and I
see the future for me is continuing down that path,
partially due to the fact that something I've always said
to you is that we practice charcouterie the way a

(11:53):
lawyer practices law or a doctor practices medicine. When you
practice something, you get better at it and you learned
from it. And I know you feel the same way
about this is that one of the things that I thrive,
it makes me very excited about cooking, is that no
matter how much you know, there's almost as much as
you know is what you still need to know, and
you ask any great chef, they'll say the same thing.

(12:14):
They want to There's always something to learn. So here's
an example. Go to a doctor and you've got pains
in your chest and he goes, ah, there's nothing wrong
with you. I know everything there is to know. Run
as fast as you can from that doctor because he
doesn't have the mentality to be great. You know, Brian,
I'm gonna ask you a very hard question. What is
your favorite part of the pig man? Absolute favorite? That

(12:35):
is almost as tough as asking which one of my
five children. I love them all. I love them all equally,
but for different things. But if you held a gun
to my head and you said, I guarantee you either
your brains will be on the paper, your signature. If
it was one of those situations, I would have to
say that the copa muscle. Yeah, the neck muscle that
runs into the lines that I used that muscle for.

(12:58):
Of course, dry carrying is the this muscle to dry here.
It's just delicious, a lot of intra muscular fat, a
lot of flavor. But I also use it for a
typical rep you know. I cook every night at home
for my wife and I and one of the things
I do is a schnitzel, and I take that muscle
and pound it out using a wooden mallet and then
just flattened it, and then egg wash for flower egg

(13:20):
wash and panco crumbs and pan fried, and then on
some nights I put a fridaygg on top. Oh my god,
it's beautiful. Or another one I do. I just had
on Thursday, my mother's ninety two. I cooked dinner every
Monday and Thursday for I took that muscle roasted at whole,
So did in a pan roasted very slowly and sliced
it and we ate it with Hinds fifty seven sauce.

(13:42):
My mother like, you know, do you fight with a
ninety two year old woman? No, you don't. I had mushroom,
but I had a you know, I had other rapini
on the side and all that, but she won and
I actually I had like Hinds fifty seven two for that,
So yeah, slice beautiful like that. Also, you know that
there's a muscle attached to the copa called the pluma,
and it's a triangular sheep shape. I'll make a stuffing

(14:05):
or some sort of you know, pine nut, spinach, vegetable,
make sure of a flap. That meat over tight like
a roast, and I cook it in my wood burning
oven at home, nice and slow. When I have guests over,
like a Sunday or something like that, the easy thing
that you can pull out slice. It's very dramatic and
people will say, what what kind of meat is that?
I say, it's pork. You know, I've never seen that.
You know, it's got a lot of flavor because there's
fat in it, fattest flavor. Fat is our friend, and

(14:29):
we love fat, we do. Indeed, what is somebody going
to the grocery store? How can they How can they
get this magical copa muscle? Impossible? Now, the only way
to do is get a full pork butt, which is
a U. S DA primal cut shoulder top of the
shoulder Boston butt or the top of the shoulder called
the But if it's bone in, it's very easy to

(14:49):
find because the bone in is the shoulder blade, and
there's a flat side and the curve side. Run your
knife along the flat side and that muscle that falls
up is the copa. It's shorter, but it is the muscle. No,
but I was trying to think, is there an American
name for that muscle. Well, in barbecue, they call it
the money muscle. So when they when you leatch a
barbecue show, you go to a barbecue competition and they

(15:11):
do a pork pole, that's the money. Those guys call
it a money muscle because that's where the money, that's
the win. It's a winning muscle. Um. The only butchers
that would know it is these crop of new generation
butchers that are opening all over the country in small
towns like Saucy Song in Cleveland, or like Publican Quality
Meats in Chicago, or like small butchers. When I do

(15:34):
these classes, or we've done classes all over the country,
we find these small butchers, it's amazing. And they'll they'll
it's like the old school customers will walk in and say,
I'm making fill in the blank. They don't say I
want a piece of shoulder, I want to chuck. They'll
walk up to the butcher and say, I'm making a
steak free. The butcher says, I have the perfect cut
for you. I'm gonna cut the meat for you. Because

(15:56):
ultimately butchers are awesome cooks. They can look at a muscle,
they can touch a muscle and know exactly what should
be cooked. And they'll look at it and say, this
is a tough, semi tough meat. It will do well
with moist heat cooking, but not quite all the way
a braise, but not a stew. Or this muscle is
dry heat cooking, good for grilled, good for roast, good

(16:17):
for you know, pan Serrian, whatever this is like a
steak freet for instance, would be that cut or like
the neck muscle that can be grilled, roasted, braised. It's fine,
perfectly fine. Brace could be roasted with the stuffing beautiful
And only a butcher would know that. And probably because,
like me being a butcher, I've eaten every single part
of the pig and I love it. I love it. Brian,

(16:39):
what do you say you you talked about small butcheries.
I've noticed some cropping up. You went to one in Cleveland,
my beloved hometown. Just one, Yeah, but all over the
country I run into people, what's the what's why is
this happening? When we were in St. Augustine doing a
they did a great job, very nice. What's going on?
Why is this happening? It's it's like, um, the phenomen

(17:00):
and I'm a great food in America's happening because the
consumer is more educated and more interested in their food
now than ever before. So, for instance, we wouldn't have
Berkshire Park or Kobe beef on a regular anything like
that unless the consumer wanted it. And if we don't
provide the farmer to raise us wholesome animals and they

(17:24):
make a living, then will never have good food. And
so the small butcher is looking at that and seeing
that people want to know how to cook. But come on, man,
nobody who's stockbroker, dr lawyer? They cook for a hobby
on the weekend. They want to go through the five
year apprenticeship I had to go through. They want to
spend eighty hours a week in the kitchen grinding out

(17:44):
to understand the principles that they wanted to kind of
do surface level cookie, and which is fine. Any cooking
is good cooking. They want to say, hey, what kind
of meat can I get for this? You can't go
into a grocery store and get that these large chains.
When I was a kid, there was a book You're
in every grocery store. They get the whole sides of being.
They would cut themselves. I mean, they weren't the greatest

(18:05):
of butcher's kind of like, you know, they call him
a diner cook instead of a white tablecloth cook. He
could cut a steak off his strip line, but you know,
you ask him where. You know, I want the you
know the steak, I want the flat Oh forget the
flat area that's in the shoulder. I mean they didn't
even hear of it back then. But now you see this,
and I find it to be very important. So the

(18:28):
customers have to support those local butcher shops just like
everything else local. And we'll see a great change in
food in America. And we've already seen it. We're seeing
it's very important and it makes a difference. Um, I
want to read you something that I just read. My
friend Steve Sando sent me a copy of his new
book Puzzoli, about this stew native to the America, is

(18:49):
made with hominy dried prepared corn. Steve, besides having started
a beam company check links on my site, is also
a fabulous writer and cook and thinker. He says, recently,
I made a French daub with meat from a gourmet butcher.
I was using brazing cuts and was shocked by the
high price. Did you explain with dobb is. Daub is

(19:10):
like it's like a beef stew. It's like your Dutch job.
It's a very like provincial dish everyday cooking. It's a
it's a beautiful dish done right, and a daubs should
use a muscle with a lot of connective tissue because
it moist heat, steam breaks it all down, gets the
flavor into the sauce. Perfect. No, no, thank you, thank you.

(19:30):
It's beautiful. Because we don't know what daub is your America.
I was using brazing cuts and was shocked by the
high price. I smiled and made a mental note never
to do that again. From one of these you know,
fancy you know, small butcher's. The daub was fabulous, so
fabulous that I decided to make it a week later,
this time getting the exact same cuts from the grocery

(19:51):
store and following the same recipe. The entire family agreed,
without prompting that the version I'd made was sustainably raised
grass fed beef was matically superior. Uh and there you go.
That's that's it. Yeah, we're getting testament. It's like making
for judo from a factory pig or from uh a

(20:11):
you know, a heritage breed, uh well raised animal. It's
like a soft serve of vanilla ice cream from Dairy
Queen or Ben and Jerry Station vanilla ice cream, and
there's no comparison. What I am most hopeful about is
that young people are getting into this hard business that
they want to open. The is what it takes, man,
Because you know, like me, why out of out of

(20:32):
the restaurant business for twenty eight years and only my
own blah blah blah, Why am I out? Because it's
it's a young man's game. Like I used to be.
Miguel Cabrera, you know, he's very famous Detroit Tigers baseball guy.
That's three sixty. I mean I get to the plate,
I hit a home run almost every time. I'm a badass.
Now I get up to the plate and I can't

(20:52):
even see the ball come over them. I can't even
say ninety miles what where did that ball come from? So,
I mean there's an age factor, and I've got wisdom.
I gotta be in the office. I got to be management.
Now I can't be the player. And it takes young
people with the energy, the passion, and then the right
guidance and the right knowledge to go down the right
path to do the right thing for nat only themselves,
the animals, but American cooking and our food culture. When

(21:16):
we come back, we're going to tour an experimental farm
and speak with its director about how he's transformed his
pig farming by getting the pigs off a grain diet.

(21:48):
To learn a bit more about bacon and the pig,
we visited with the team at the Stone Barns Center
for Food and Agriculture, also home to the restaurant in
Blue Hill at Stone Barns Give you've seen the popular
Netflix program Chef's Table on Chef Dan Barber, and I
highly recommend it. Season one, episode two. You'll see how

(22:09):
agriculture and a high end restaurant work hand in hand.
It's amazing stuff. Stone Barns once raised their animals and
grew their vegetables on fewer than one hundred acres. They've
since been bequeathed four hundred acres of National park surrounding
Stone Barns and Pacantico Hills, a ten minute drive from Terrytown,
New York, on the Hudson River. My name's Jack out here,

(22:32):
and I'm the farm director here at Stone Barns um
and I helped to phone the farm and get it established.
Here we were diversified farms who were raising sheep and
cattle and goats and chickens. How big is it? What? What?
What's this? What's the community? An idea of the scope.
How many animals? Well, we this year we had about

(22:53):
a hundred and twelve head of cattle, so they kind
of go in groups. To get a sense of the place.
We wandered the farm with stone barns as Jessica Galen
who walked us through their crunchy, nearly freezing fields on

(23:13):
a beautiful November afternoon. So we are approaching the flood,
which is our name for our flock herd. So most
of our sheep and cattle move around together throughout the
growing season, so we've found that they do really well together,
so that's nice. They have a different Each animal sort

(23:37):
of contributes different things to the pasture, so it's nice
to have them in a community where they have different
taste preferences or manures are contributing different things. Are obviously
very different sizes, so the physical impact but they have
on the land. Berries. We have a Shropshire and a

(24:00):
Catadin flock, a total of about ninety bread use and
all of their lambs, and that that group is growing.
We have a goat heard that you know, clears our
trail systems. We have about sixty miles of carriage trails
in the preserve here. The goats manage all of that.
We raise hens about eight hundred hens, so about four

(24:22):
hundred dozen eggs a week. So we're calling about two
hundred two hens today. That whole flock has just come
off the pastures and gone into the barns for the
winter for those dogs to ye. So those are some

(24:46):
of our pups and they're being trained, um to live
stock guarding because because our animals are out so you know,
for the hens certainly can use some some work from
from home. And uh then there are coyotes in the
area as well, so um like the sheep. Sure, you know,

(25:07):
it's more that they would just if a coyote started
approaching at night, the dogs would would sunset and bark
loud enough to to scare them off. It's not that
there would be, you know, a fight necessarily. How do
you explain this place to someone who is not familiar
with it, who cares about food restaurants, cooking, how do

(25:28):
you give an overview This is a food culture experiment. Really,
it's it's a we are doing things together that I think.
What's really beautiful about this place is there's a lot
of great things happening individually. You could go to any
corner of this place and get involved in some really
extraordinary cooking or fermentation, or or agricultural practice or husbandry

(25:52):
practice or something. Jack began raising animals here in two
thousand three, including pigs, but their standard of grain was
becoming a big problem. You great success with the animal
good quality all that we did it for years, and
the more we did it, the story kept growing. Our
ethic around it and the storytelling around it was always

(26:13):
about how these animals are experiencing their wild nature and
they get to live in this way that is very
humane um and that they have this outdoor space. But
the more we were doing it, the more we started
to recognize the the impact on the environment itself. What
I started to see was that we were not purely

(26:37):
in this new regenerative model. We sort of had our
foot in two worlds. We were still attached to a
grain based feed system. The problem with that is the grain,
especially organic grain, becomes very expensive. So it it becomes
even more expensive in the labor of managing those animals,
and so the trend to want to keep meeting a

(27:00):
margin and to pay for these pigs pushes the numbers
of animals. So it was two hundred to fifty twenty
breeding souse, multiple bores. This system just kept spreading, and
we had groups of animals everywhere. It was spreading our
labor and really expensive for grain. He was noticing what
any commercial pig farmer should notice. If you have a

(27:22):
consistent monthly expense for an input light grain, the product
the pig will be more profitable if you shorten its lifespan.
It's a simple math, but it didn't feel right for Jack.
After years of doing that, I finally get to a
place where I just said, you know, we have to stop,
like we have to figure this out. And it's really
sometimes it's just impossible to do while the train is running.

(27:45):
The reality with all of the animals we have on
the farm, a cow or sheep, a chicken, pig, they
all have to recognize their ecological purpose. So the rule
that I really clearly set, not that I hadn't believed
that in the past, but I had to really find
that for myself and for this group, is that the
ecological service has to be perfectly clear before we bring

(28:06):
the species on the site, and then we can figure
out how to design the enterprise see if we can
make it work from there. Because realistically, especially for us,
we're trying to show we're starting to what Stone Bars
again is is this place of experimentation. So because we
have this great community, we have not only the privilege
of but also the responsibility to take risks because we

(28:29):
have the great support of the nonprofit of the restaurant
that's really interested in uh, these best unique and different
kind of things to play with, and they can give
really clear response. So I said, if we can't do
this here, then we really we really have some big problems,
bigger problems in the food system that we thought. Even
we totally stopped the program, we sold off the books

(28:51):
that we had. As soon as we did that, everybody
was an uprise because it was like, you know, we
really need to have bacon, we need that, you know,
the not having a poor products around after all that
time got to get you know, started to get people
up in arms. And when did this happen? When did
you sell the stock two thousand and fifteen. At that
point I thought, you know, okay, let's let's rebuild. Let's

(29:13):
really think about the components. What do we need? What's
this wheel look like we need to have. We need
to really recognize that the food source is a really
big issue, that the actual ecology matters. I say that
do we have the land? Do we need this animal?
Could ask what does a pig even do? What's an

(29:35):
undulate four? What is its best possible function in nature?
And how do we kind of try to mimic that
design in a way that actually is beneficial for us,
the forest, the pigs, the consumer. Well, tell me what
what do they do? What do? What do they need? What?
What is their best ecological The thing about pigs is

(29:56):
that they go in. We know, we know enough about them.
They're they're disruptors. They go in, they hit it hard
and fast, they turn it over, and then they're out. Actually,
they hit the land to turn the land. They literally
you know that nose till thing. They just work it.
They eat grubs, they break down logs, they make open space,

(30:16):
and then they leave for a long period of time.
The frequency of returns because they move far and wide.
You know they you know, a group of pigs in
the wild. It's called a singular, right, This is an
interesting singular of pigs, singular of bores. Right. So I
like that term because that's that's the program. They work
as a group. They're so intelligent, they're omnivores, they're they're

(30:39):
eating anything they could basically put in their mouths, and
and they are working in this way, you know, really
impulsive looking for food and moving to those spaces. But
why is that good? Well, because intermittent disturbance is very
valuable in the perennial nature. That opening up the grounds

(31:00):
emulates all kinds of fertility release and new space for
things to grow and change. And that disruption is actually
really valuable for working in forestry. So that's the other thing.
Forests don't need loss of fertility, so they actually back
to the wild animal infrequent touch, so a fairly small

(31:21):
amount of pigs can cover a large amount of ground
and do good. Jacket his team experimented with groups of
forty pigs or so containing them and forested paddocks surrounded
by solar powered electric fencing. This method proved perfect for
improving the land and the life and health of the pig.
How will are they when you get them eight weeks

(31:41):
and sometimes ten, but usually eight, and then they hit
the ground. The key here is that we're also looking
at seasonality. I was going to ask you, right, because
now we're also looking at the fact that the forest
is doing different things at different times. So the spring
is a really productive time to have larger animals in
the woods because there's a lot of regrowth, there's a

(32:03):
lot of invasive sprouting things like that coming up. Um.
They work really closely with the goats in the spring
because we'd be moving, you know, passes one animal and
then another these seems you know, one is turning the ground,
the other is eating. And then we're seating over these
animals while we're with them there, seating behind them. And
then in the fall we want them big again. Late

(32:23):
fall for all the masts, I mean, we have oaks
and hickories are are primary forest trees here and there's
a lot of masts on the ground. Um. And that
both of those seasons actually provides a really different profile
of an animal. So the quality of the animal at
the end of the day not only very unique in
its own right, because it's eating from these spaces. But

(32:45):
it is also very different from the spring to the
fall in these different groups. So one group is maturing
through spring into early summer, the other is maturing through
fall to early winter. To say how we're moving them
around the wood, it's just really key. But here's how
they freed themselves from the constant weekly expensive grain. They

(33:06):
stopped buying it all together and moved to a diet
composed of whatever was already on the farm, waste from
the kitchen, grubs in the soil, and from sources throughout
their community. But I'll start by saying, the whole, this
whole thing hinges around having an entirely waste fed diet. Yeah,
talk about talk about that's important. Yeah, I mean this

(33:26):
is the key. You talk about expensive. We know we
already have pre consumer vegetables from the restaurant. We know
we have scraps from our wash station and around the
vegetable fields and greenhouses year round, we have product. There's
always enough green scraps that are coming off the fields
or out of the restaurant. You know, bottoms of cabbage
leaves and you know lettuce butts and things like that. Um,

(33:49):
And they're fairly specific. So we we also have to
you know, tell the team they know, not put potato
skins and not put onions in there and stuff and
pigs like they don't like bananas. Yeah, there's a bunch
of stuff that just don't like it all. Yeah, bana.
They don't like onions, they don't. They despise onions really. Yeah,
so they they there's a lot of other things that
they like. They like, well, they love the greens, any

(34:12):
kind of green vegetable they love. They love squash. The
funny thing about squashes you have to smash it up
or else they just play with it. So we grind
a lot of that stuff, any of the bigger things.
You know, we got to grind it because then they
just kick a squash around the field. You know. They
sometimes we give them bowling balls. Actually, they because they
play with the bowling balls, you know. Yeah, it's a

(34:35):
good bowling. Pigs and bowling. It's pretty great combination. Anyway.
It's good because they can't break it and they can't
really bite it because it's too big. Anyway, these guys.
The way we set up the program, so we all
the vegetables and then we have a great brewery in town, uh,
Captain Lawrence. So we've done a lot of stuff together.

(34:56):
We Planet hops I grow some grains and raspberries for him,
and we were taking test batches of totes of grain
mash back and uh, you know, trying to mix it
into the feed and stuff. Mash as a thing is
a lot of times people will feed it as a
supplement to cattle and stuff like that, but it's so
fibrous that it goes right through an animal like a pig,

(35:19):
especially as big as a short digestive track. It's not
like it's kind of room and that can manage the fiber.
So it's not a great food source for big And
just to the profile of something like mash is that
because it's been fermented, it's lost all its sugar, but
it's full of protein. So the fiber is the only

(35:39):
thing in the way of that protein. So what we
do is we fermented in barrels. Were fermented for three
weeks with a gas exchanger, and it goes into kind
of a kimchy you know, ferments down and the fiber
breaks down and it makes it digestible. So we put
the molasses on it and barrel it up. We've been
doing that for a while, but you know, we just

(36:00):
we'd get a call from the brewery and run over
there and get the palette on the you know, put
the thing on the back of the truck and bring
it back. But it was kind of on a whim.
And then once we started telling them about what we
were doing with these barrels, they were like, no, bring
just bring the empty barrels in the glasses to us.
We'll just pack it right into the barrels and make
the ferments. So now we can go every two or
three weeks and just pick up the fermented barrels. So

(36:20):
it's this great relationship, right. It's super clean for them
because they don't have any open container. It's all you know,
barrel sealed. Uh, So it's clean on their end. It's
it's stored in their warehouses and we can just pick
it up and and bring it back. And we're feeding it,
you know, three or four week old grain and another
clever source of free pig food a grocery store of course.

(36:44):
And then we get all the old dairy and second
day bread from our local grocery store. And they're loving
it because we're not stinking up there there there dumpsters
are clean now, so that becomes the the program. The dairy,
the mixed mash, fermented mash, and the vegetable scraps are

(37:04):
a great balanced diet for the animals. And to continue
on the theme, the pigs sleep and feed on a
bed of free tree chips from local arborus. And good
fresh chips are really important in this process because they're
they're nitrogen absorbers, all right. So what we do is
we set up these temporary homes like uh, I call

(37:25):
it a hamlet. It's like, yeah, why not, so I
missed Jack's pun hamlet? Okay, Okay, moving on. So there
there space is, you know, fifty by fifty pretty good
size area that we lay down the chips nice and thick,
and on that we put um some big concrete blocks

(37:45):
like mafia blocks in a little L shape, and their
huts are in there and that is penned in right,
so they're on there at night, and then we let
them out into these long runs through five acres at
a time and we let them out into quarters of
that of that area, and so that way they eat
and they're watering and everything and they're sleeping is all

(38:08):
on this nice pad. Yeah, on the woodchips and then
we let them out to work. So that way, you know,
during the day, we can open any one of those
doors and let them out into those sections. And what
do they do? What do they do to these sections?
So they just are so methodical about how they open

(38:29):
the ground. It's really awesome to watch them work. They
they are turning logs over there, looking for grubs or
you know, playing with each other in the space. It's
it's a really safe, kind of a calm environment. So
there they spread out. At first, we were curious whether
or not they would go to the further lengths of

(38:49):
those areas, but they're very curious. So they you know,
they run their borders. They and they'll open the space
and that's when we will come in behind them and
broadcastings clovers and orchard grass and uh, wildflowers and stuff.
You'll feed them this. We're just spreading it on them
and they're pushing it into the ground and then when

(39:10):
they move to another planting it frozen, they're planting it.
And this is how we do our forestry. And so
what were they're doing is they're eating out things like uh,
you know, garlic, mustard and turning over things like barberry
and stuff like that that are that are blocking the
young hickories and stuff like that to come in, and
so they open the floor. We can come in and

(39:30):
broadcast uh you know, lower grasses and things like that
to stabilize the floor, and then they don't go back
to those areas for years. So we're working them across
you know, a hundred acres say a forest over the
course of years. That keeps us from polluting the ground because,

(39:51):
like I said, there's all that manure it I was
gonna ask what happened? What about waste that always seems
to be a part of pig production. The chips soak it.
That's why we use the fresh remial ship like the
fresh chop ship, not like mulch. So the animals never
really in the same place for very long at all.
They have a home for where they're sleeping and wallowing

(40:13):
and eating, which really shouldn't be happening in the forest,
and they're eating a totally waste fad diet. So because
we're doing that, the entire cost of the operation is
focused on labor and relationships rather than the cost of
a grain product, which gets us out of a treadmill
kind of system where we're trying to keep up with
a thousand dollar grain bill a week, and this way

(40:36):
we spent about half overall between labor, all of the
relationship labor and the cost of feed and that sort
of thing, compared to the grain plus labor. So that
gets out, gets us out of that treadmill, and now
it's all about how much land we want to put
them on. We could continue to grow that operation. There's

(40:56):
no shortage of mash, there's no shortage of extra vegetable,
so there's no shortage of expired dairy. All of those
things are being thrown in landfills or composted. At best.
Compost is great, but if the pigs can eat it,
they should, that's kind of the way we look at it.
So that material ends up in compost eventually kind of
through those pigs, you know. That's that's the idea. That

(41:17):
way we have some circularity in it. The other thing
is that shifting to a waste fed diet changes the animal.
Lots of things change the animal by the time it
comes to butchery and cooking. And first of all, their
meat is red and deep and rich, and there's a
lot of because the animals getting exercise and an omnivor
omnivore diet. There, the meat is richer, it's more red,

(41:40):
it's denser, the nutrient density is higher in those animals,
they're fat can change dramatically from a grain fat. I
couldn't help but notice that this entire operation is done
with the exact same spirit as charcuterie, the utilizing of
all resources around you, wasting nothing. What is the what

(42:00):
is how important is charcuterie to the whole big situation. Well,
it's an entirely other layer that builds value, builds technique,
builds uh seasonality. Using this animal across the entire year
requires shacuitari. So that, to me is the piece that

(42:21):
we should all be aware of. That there's a seasonality
for the animal, but they're also seasonalities for all of
the parts, because some are fresh and some are cured,
and some are cured for a long time. So that's
what we want to kind of wrap our heads around
a little more and be practicing that together and try
to get our heads around this idea that um having

(42:42):
an animal constantly available to us has gotten us a
little bit far away from the real specialization of season
and timing for how we're eating these animals too. I
have I have two more important questions for you. One
is you called this a food experiment that it's ongoing.
What what for you is success? Success is recognizing new questions,

(43:09):
Like success is delicious, success is a beautiful thing. Success
is something that is like inspiring to ask the next question.
We want to know that what we've done is actually
beneficial to this place. That is really interesting. It makes
us hungry, It makes us want to come back to

(43:29):
the work, it makes us think at a higher level together.
That's that's success that I don't know, you know, if
there's one thing that we've done where it was like
exactly like we thought it was going to be, but
I don't know if that ever mattered honestly, Like Dan
and I have always been in that place. It's like,
if there was a success, it was like already in

(43:49):
the wake. You know. It's just at the same time,
you know, we've learned a lot from things that just
did definitely not go like we thought. And because that
where we get creative, Like that's where most of the
stuff happens, right at that live edge of things, like
it's in the problem solving, and there's a little bit
of constellation that happens too, because there's like, no, that

(44:11):
didn't happen for you, like you thought of you know,
it was really gonna be good. So well, here's how
we did it. We ended up doing it this weird
cooking it like this, or it might come the other
way where the chef at the end of the day says,
you know, starts the same could how does this work?
How did this even happen? How did we get this
amazing flavor? Like and so it gets us to think
on the farm space, like really to to break those

(44:35):
old stories of what we thought was really so success
to me is that we're just The food system is
an evolving thing, and in cuisine it's like the result
of our relationship to a place. The last question that
that is critical to me, um is what breed makes
the best bacon. That's a great question. Well, I'll tell

(44:56):
you that I eat a piece of this mangalitsa the
other day. I mean it was this bacon cooked. It
was still like like four inches wide, and there was
a strip of it was all fat. There were two
strips protein. Yeah, two little strips of meat sort of
read right in the middle and it was all fat,

(45:17):
and it went into my mouth and I it just disappeared.
It was an extraordinary thing. I think, you know, each
to their own, a wonderful animal produces amazing bacon at
the end of the day. But I definitely have learned
to covet those big fat backs and you know that

(45:37):
on there, and to me, that's what makes a bacon
way different than interesting we might be used to at
the diner. And this newer, more creative way to feed
and raise animals makes Jack think that pork could eventually
be something that tastes of a specific place and time.
The genuine teroir of an animal a breed is a

(45:57):
valuable thing to consider, but there are a lot of
other parts of that, especially when you're out of a
conventional system, that really start to affect flavor and and
honestly would make every farm have a slightly different animal,
even if they were raising the same breed. That's what
we want to get to to me, like, that's exciting.

(46:18):
That's when a place can sing through the way we're
farming in this way, it's doing this job, that's living
this incredible life. It's really servicing our place it's creating
an economy. At the end of the day, it is
extraordinary eating quality extraordinary. Indeed, when we come back, we're

(46:38):
heading into my kitchen with chef Brian Poulson to show
how easy it is to cure bacon yourself. We may
even cook some of it too. If it wasn't for bacon,

(47:12):
everyone would drink cooling and commit suicide. We're going to
be doing two things at once, curing bacon and cooking bacon.
As my wife said a couple of weekends ago, who
doesn't love the smell of cooking bacon? I sure do.
It started to fill the kitchen. We're gonna cook some bacon. Now.
I normally start my bacon and water. Well, let's talk

(47:34):
about that, because there's no wrong way to cook bacon.
But everything you do in the kitchen is, you know,
it has a purpose. So if you add water to start,
what you're doing it facilitating rendering the fat. So you're
gonna end up with a crispier end product because the
fat is going to be rendered into the liquid um. Personally,
I like my bacon to taste like a steak. If

(47:55):
you notice how thick I cut it, I cut it
just past an eighth of an inch, uh, not a quarter.
I mean this a little bit thicker than an eighth
maybe three six tins, and that gives it the opportunity
to still have some good mouth field chew and be
crispy on the outside. Now, my wife, on the other hand,
likes it like thin bacon that's crispy and crunchy but

(48:18):
not burnt. And the thing about bacon two is that
it's of course cured with salt, but oftentimes it's sweetener sugar.
In this case, this is a maple you know, maple sugar, bacon,
maple sugar, maple syrup, salt and of course curing agents,
and the sugar acts as a uh an ingredient that

(48:39):
offsets the harshness of the salt. Salt does its job,
the sugar makes it more palatable, but the sugar is
also the first thing to burn. So that's what you
have to watch. So right now you've got a cast
iron skillet, which is which is absolutely perfect. Uh. We
shouldn't really overlap them like this. We probably have too
much bacon for this sized pan, or we can This
bacon isn't gonna shrink like commercial bacon does because it's
it's a seven A cure stuff I make here and

(49:02):
gently getting said, if you want to add water to it,
that's what you said you like to do. It's fine.
I like to do. I like to do water because
it allows me to do other things on the swim.
I don't I don't have to think about it that
it renders the fat. You kind of like that set
it and forget it thing. Yeah, exactly right. So I
like convenience. But as soon as I hear this crackle,

(49:23):
I know they're gonna pay attention to right, so you
you're not can turn it up to high because water,
because the water will keep it at can't go over
two or twelve degrees right sitting in the water, So
it renders the fat. But you're saying that you'll have
a better mouth, you'll have a denser mouth feel to it.
Not with the water. I think that with the dry pan, definitely,
because I like that because the outside kind of gets

(49:44):
caramelized in the center space. If you cut it this thick. Now,
this is thicker than you normally would see commercial bacon sliced.
They like it thinner because packaging and all that stuff, right,
and it's faster to cook, blah blah blah. But bacon
is such an important part of American cooking. It's as
an important part of the American kitchen. It's it's it's
you know, you think about what makes great bacon is
a great hog? Right, and starting with that, which I

(50:07):
hope we talk about pigs. But um, if you think
about functionally ingredients like what we teach at schoolcraft where
I teach, right, we teach a students functionality ingredients like
why did each thing has to have a purpose. It
doesn't have a purpose, he shouldn't be there. You think
about the simple American breakfast bacon and eggs, right, think
about the importance of each ingreen and eggs are important,
but the chicken merely makes a contribution. The pig makes

(50:28):
a complete commitment. So that shows you how important bacon is.
So we just have a big three pound chunk of
pork belly skin on. I got my belly at Dixon
Farm stand Meats. It's in the Chelsea Market in Manhattan. Now,
pork belly, a whole pork belly is about two ft
long and about one ft wide. It's a big rectangle,

(50:49):
half meat, half fat. Often with the skin on which
I prefer, and it is many chefs favorite cut. So
I see how much the liquid Now that it's it's
not more water coming out of this big and it's
the fat renjury. It's probably pulling out some salt and
sugar as water we'll do, and then it's gonna go
back into the bacon. That's right. You'll get evaporation from

(51:09):
the water. The fat of course doesn't evaporate, and then
you'll be frying it in in the rendered fat, which
then gives you the carmelization on the outside. And if
you notice to look at see cut it cut it
that thing, it's not all curled up, you know. You
know what commercial bacon does when you put it in
a pan with water, it shrinks up. Because most commercial
bacons are injected. You know, they make the brine solution

(51:29):
of salt water and they injected in the commercial kitchen.
We call it the Keith Richard's method. You know, instead
of using heroin, we used actually a Brian method. So
injecting the water cures it faster, but also that water
has to be released. It's like ballpark Frank's, you know
that they'll those hot dogs they pump when you cook them.
They're plumping. They're plumping because there's so much water inside

(51:49):
the hot dog. That's why they plump. This belly looks
real nice. I like it. It's the color of the
pigment of the meat is nice and red. It looks
almost beef like. The fat is got a nice white
hue to it, which I like. And of course there's
two types of fat on the pig. They're soft fat
and there's hard fat. The belly lower part of the
animals a soft fat, and that's the luscious, creamy mouth

(52:10):
feel delicious fat and the heart fats going up the
back by the neck issues for like salami. So this
the pigment of this meat is very good, which tells
me it looks like a healthy animal, good diet. I
like the connective tissue that's still attached to it, because
connective tissues collagen collagen's flavor. So we're gonna take the
cure mix, which we use salt there. So we use

(52:34):
koash your salt, and it looks like you're putting about
a third of a cup of consalts into a ball,
and you've got pink salt, which is sodium nitrite. Nitrites
do three things to me. They prevent boshelism toxins from growing,
which can happen in a smokehouse or in a dry

(52:56):
cured salami. They turn the meat pink and they give
it a peek and flo. Nitrites are the reason a
pork belly tastes like bacon rather than spirits. Curing salt
TCM quick cure and secure nitrates get a bad rap.
You know this. This particular product is highly regulated by
the U. S d A. It's sodium chlorine, which is

(53:17):
pure salt. Six sodium nitrate and nitrates are important in
the smokehouse because it kills botulism and you can't safely
smoke in the charcuterie world, which is what we're talking.
Different than barbecue, different than uh hot smoking and other
they do it at higher temperatures. We do this kind
of smoking at a lower temperature, so our chambers about
eighty degrees. Why is that important because we're working in

(53:39):
the danger zone and the danger zones where bacteria can thrive,
so we have to address it. Also, we have maple syrup,
the quarter a cup of maple syrup, the bowl and
salt and the pencil, and of course the sweetener whatever
sweetener you use is there to offset the harshness of
the salt. And then brown sugar and maple sugar. So

(54:03):
tell me about maple sugar. Where it's the hydrated maple syrup.
Its basically take the water out of the maple surrup
and you have maple sugar. So I'm just gonna mix
all the ingredients together. It's uh, you know, it looks
like eleven or twelve months old because it's uh, it
would have to be that old for the belly to
get that thick. Commercial hogs only go about five months.

(54:25):
And if you look at a commercial pig like a
typical grocery store, I can't say what name, I don't know,
but they're much thinner than this. And so this tells
me it's got some ah to it, which is good.
So we're gonna rub it on. I do a seven
day cure. So it's a very slow migration. The salt
penetrates the muscle very very slowly while it's imparting flavor.

(54:47):
Because the salt's job is to remove the water. The
muscle is about water. While that water and salt gets dissolved,
it also takes the flavor of the other ingredients in
this case maple syrup and maple sugar, and then of
course cure nitrates. We're going to turn our attention back
to the stove. I heard that bacon starting to crackle
and knew we had to pay attention to it. It's

(55:07):
ready to be turned. But you see it's not shrinking
up because we didn't remove that much water and we
didn't part water too. When you turn, so you should
get a nice, beautiful color on the other side of that.
Very nice. Oh, so I turned it as soon as
the water went down, I turned it to load. That's
that was exactly the right thing to do. And look

(55:28):
at it's not swimming and fat. It's not swimming in
um and water because the water is evaporated. But also
we haven't lost any shrinkage. Are the bacon is basically
the same size ras is getting cooked and so it
makes a difference where you get your meat, oh definitely, yeah,
and how you treat it. This is a Michigan Berkshire

(55:48):
pig that we're cooking. That looks good, all right. So
you've got this sort of slushy mixture of salts. Yeah,
so mix it all up and now we're just gonna
rub it on the belly. Now here's here's a thing
or two to remember. Um, you have to choose a

(56:12):
container that is nonreactive, because salt's the most powerful ingredient
in the kitchen. So if you use like a cookie sheet,
like an aluminum pan, this that particular metal or nickel,
which is another cheap metal that used for cheap pants
salts so powerful. It can pit the metal and you
don't want to impart that metal into your food because
you know you probably shouldn't be eating aluminium nickel. Um.

(56:34):
So we're gonna use a plastic zip blocked bag, which
is perfect because the bag itself is nonreactive the plastic,
and it also forces the cure to stay adhered to
the surface area. And we've got a kind of a
square rectangular piece of belly. There's six sides to it, right,
So when we put the curea on, we're gonna rub
it on. You just use your hands and this belly

(56:56):
right here you can see part of the square ribs.
We're right here. You gotta make sure you rub it
really it into the nook, every nook and cranny. The
side with the skin is important. But you're gonna get
slower penetration to the skin, then you will the fat
and meat side. So I've got like a piece of
wax paper down first, I'm not making a mess out
of your table, and then when I put it in

(57:16):
the bag, I'm going to rub the skin side, and
then I'm gonna massage the bag. Now they might sound
weird to your listeners, It's okay to massage your your belly.
I guess it's the best way to say it. So
I'm rubbing the sides, and you know, right right away
this isn't you know, the salt side could immediately start

(57:38):
ripping the water out, but by tomorrow, within a twenty
four hour period, this bag will have a little bit
of juice in it. The juice came from the meat,
the water in the meat itself, so the salt is
doing his job, you know. I usually I get a
lot of questions. People are making their own bacon. They've
got the book Charcouterie where you can actually where this
we have this recipe um and they say it's not working.

(57:59):
There's no water to come out. That's that's It's a
typical response because they're expecting. But you know what, probably
cause they have a better piece of meat. Yeah, the
the the curious. This isn't gonna swim you know, you're
not gonna reduce the water activity by or anything. It's
slowly just going to work its way through the muscle,

(58:21):
through the cell structure where the water is and carry
with it the cure and the and the sweetener in
this case the maple. This this should not be swimming
in water by the at the end of seven days. Now,
if you have a poor quality pig, the poor the
quality of meat, the more water is gonna come out. Okay,

(58:44):
So there it's in a regular like gallons black bag,
or do a two gallon if you've got a bigger right,
I can fit a piece of belly and two gallons.
If and it's a PERI just goes in the refrigerator.
I started skin side down, so I just want to
massage them so with my thumb and four finger, right. Nice,

(59:04):
And that's basically it. Now. Let you gotta let nature
take its course. Now tomorrow or maybe the second day,
we do what's called in the in the professional kitchen,
we call overhauling. You know, I wouldn't I wouldn't use
bags and kitchen. I would use pants and its I'd
flip it over so the top becomes the bottom, bottom
becomes the top, and you have an opportunity for it.

(59:25):
Uh even even exposure to the ingredients. Well in this
blastic bag. All you gotta do is, you know, when
you're making your coffee, what's today Saturday? So Monday morning,
you get up, make your coffee, reaching the REFRIGERI to
grab your bag, giving him a sage and flip it over.
It's done, beautiful. Take it out at for seven days,
give it a quick rinse, get the residual salt off

(59:45):
the top, and then slowly, slowly smoking whatever flavor would
you like? I like, what what do you recommend for
people who don't have a smoker? You got a barbecue?
You can do it on a barbecue grill, habouti or
something like that. Okay, you're on West twelve Street in
Westville and there's a fire escape outside. They don't even
let me have a little roll out there. Well I

(01:00:06):
don't know. The fact is you can just roasted roasted
in the oven. Yeah, and it will be fine. It'll
still be bacon. I would take. Don't have a smoky flavor,
I would. I would then give it a different flavor profile.
Maybe put the gen mustard on it, score through the fat,
you know, maybe take the skin off at that point
for roasting and uh maybe score the skin, rub it

(01:00:26):
with mustard and let it roast nice and slow like that,
so the skin gets crispy and the and the scoring
allows to flavor the mustard get in there. That would
taste really good. Um, it's nice. It sounds like you
actually know what you're talking about. Being around the black
ones are cos alright, let's take a look at this bacon.
How is this bacon? Look? This looks good? Man. See,
this is about as far as I would take it.

(01:00:47):
I like it, you know, I don't know. It's not
quite not quite medium rare, but I like it like
chewy still. So for me, it's like this. So at
home when I make bacon like this, I pull it
my my portion out now and I leave it in
and I get more caramelization. For for my wife, who
she likes more like this piece and I like mine

(01:01:07):
more like this piece. Does she give you an Aedi
boy when you do that once in a while, everybody
likes an Addi boy? Told you that story? Yeah, I mean,
people think I know what I'm doing. You know, I'm
pretty good at what I'm doing. Seven I get. I
get nothing from my family sometimes that's funny. All Right,
we're gonna take this stake out paper towel or something.

(01:01:30):
We're getting nice caramelization and not burnt, right, little little
crispy on the outside. That's good. Yeah, deep red bacon
that's from the cure cure also gives it that bacony flavor. Um.
If you cure cure a chicken with pinks, so you're
gonna get a hammy flavor. You're not gonna get the
same color because there's the what turns the meat pink

(01:01:52):
like that is the mile globe protein. Chicken has less
mile globe in the other muscles. Alright, so let's give
it a taste here. So I'm just gonna pay the top. Good.
It's gonna be it's gonna be warm. So your kids
over there in the couter are looking on quietly happily.
I have two of my five children live here in
New York, so I'm doubled down, and I'm doubling up
the spenty time with them and you at the same time. Okay,

(01:02:15):
how's it making. Well, that's here, you guys, want to taste.
Here's the thing. Take a piece. Let's i'll taste it together,
and I'll tell you what you should be thinking about.
The first thing on your palette. When you taste bacon,
it should not be salty. You know you don't want
it to be salty. Personally, I like the mouthfil so
I'm gonna take it good bye. First thing, I chased

(01:02:36):
a smoke. Then miraculously enough I chased pork. Right, there's
pork flavor. To me. That's a sign of really good
shark cuiter is when you taste what the original ingredient was,
which is in this case pork. Now a little bit
of sweetness and then now just a little bit salt
on the side of my tongue. That's why I taste
always on the side of my tongue, that on the top,

(01:02:59):
always on the side. And I really find good salted
food very delicious, but not overpoling. M hm. And you're
gonna be eating this with other ingredients, wouldn't Yeah, as
you said, very good to fight as well. Beautiful. Thank you, Brian,
Thanks for this bacon dumb. I appreciate it special. Thanks

(01:03:23):
for the hospitality to Jack Algier and Jessica Galen and
the Stone Barn Center for Food and Agriculture. Also thanks
for the bacon Brian. He and I authored three books together,
Charcouteri Salumi, and most recently a book called Patte confi Riette. Lastly,
my new book is out now. It's also called From Scratch,

(01:03:45):
but it's all about cooking and ten meals that can
teach us all we need to know in the kitchen.
We'll have a link to it in the show notes
and on my site Ulman dot com. From Scratch. The
podcast is produced by Hi Jonathan Hawes Dress. Our executive
producer is Christopher Hasiotis. Our supervising producer is Gabrielle Collins.

(01:04:08):
The music is by Ryan Scott off his album A
Freak Grows in Brooklyn. From Scratches a production of I
Heart Radio. For more podcasts from I Heart Radio, visit
the I heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you
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