Thursday, February 3, 2011

bacon and hams

This weekend (weather permitting) I plan to visit a nearby smokehouse in Washington County. Locust Grove Smokehouse of Argyle, will be taking my 16 pounds of pork belly and two thighs and smoking them into bacon and ham. I'll get to pick flavors, cuts, bacon thickness...it's the kind of shopping you just can't do at the store. It will take somewhere around two weeks to pick up my meat, but it seems like a pretty simple transaction. Drop off frozen packages, fill out order form, sign papers, come back to get over thirty pounds of farm-raised meat.

I can't say enough good things about this first hog experiment. It has been a wonderful ride. From picking her up at Dreammaker Farms last fall to picking up these vacuumed sealed packages of bacon: all of it has been a rewarding experience. I think a pig will continue to be a presence here on the farm, specially in these off seasons when other activities like the garden, lambs, shearing, and such are calmer. And while some of it was luck (finding Vicki the Butcher, free feed, and local smokehouses) some of it was just experience. I knew how to build a pen, had a truck to move animals and supplies in, had hay and a life dedicated to animal farming ready. I think the reason Pig was such a success was because of the lessons on this blog. Years, even just a few, have made me better at this, and PIg was not so much an experiment as a project with a good head start.

I get paid tomorrow. After the mortgage check is sent I'm buying a crock pot. Little celebrations go a long way in the North Country.

29 Comments:

Blogger farmgirljen said...

Congratulations and well done! I'm glad things are calming down for you. I was worried about you during the blog where you talked about being so tired (not sick, but tired). As I thought about it later, it dawned on me - you are working two jobs, sister! And you are doing it all on your own. While that is amazing and awesome, a little bone-tired is probably to be expected. Hang in there, Jenna! You are doing such a great job on your homestead, and inspiring the rest of us in the process. Fire up that crockpot! At our house, we love pork loin covered in saurkraut and cooked on low in the crock pot for about 6-8 hours. Sounds simple, tastes delicious (if you like kraut, that is).

February 3, 2011 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Mama said...

Jenna, you'll love your crockpot. Pinto beans in it make for many great meals, cheaply. And apple butter is awesome in it, too.

You made me smile when you wrote about your Pig experience. I'm so glad it turned out well. You are really pretty amazing, you know. You definitely deserve an early spring and a nice long summer.

February 3, 2011 at 8:59 PM  
Blogger Geek 3000 said...

oh and next time render the lard! If you can boil water, you can make lard. the best for frying eggs, making pie, and just about every cooking need!

February 3, 2011 at 8:59 PM  
OpenID Tami said...

I still use the crock pot that my Mom gave me for my birthday 25 years ago. I recently picked up a larger one at a thrift shop for 5 bucks in perfect condition! Crock pots are the bomb! Pack it full of stuff in the morning, put it on low and when you get home...dinner is ready! Even tougher/cheaper cuts of meat slow cook to be more tender. That and the vacuum sealer have been great investments!

February 3, 2011 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Rural Revival said...

Crock pots are a wonderful invention. I see them constantly at my local thrift store. I want to bring them all home with me. : )

~Andrea~

February 3, 2011 at 9:34 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Roy said...

I have a theory that crock pots show up in thrift stores so often because you can't kill them - so they outlive their owners!

February 3, 2011 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

I've so enjoyed hearing about your experiences with Pig. And I'm very envious of your freezer full of pork!

Love the Crock Pot. We like pork seasoned with salt, pepper, and onions and apples(or onion powder when I forget to buy onions). I use either apple juice for the liquid or broth. Finish it off with a little brown sugar near the end of cooking. So good!

February 3, 2011 at 10:09 PM  
Blogger Karl Micheal said...

As everyone else here has said, Crock Pots are the best. I have four..I bought two, a third one was my mom's and the fourth a friend threw out because she thought the ceramic crock insert would not clean up. Well, a little soak in soapy water for a day and everything just wiped right off. Anyway, put whatever you want to cook in it on low, go to work and when you come home...Din Din is ready. Keep up the good work Jenna and be sure to take care of yourself!! God bless.

February 3, 2011 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger Casie said...

you can render lard in the crock pot!

February 3, 2011 at 11:02 PM  
Blogger Ruth @ Hope, Joy and Faith Farm said...

We are getting ready to start our fifth year of pig raising. We still learn something new every year! I love it and glad you had a good time to!

February 3, 2011 at 11:03 PM  
Blogger Mare said...

LOVE my crockpot! You will too!

February 3, 2011 at 11:09 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

Jenna,
The crock-pot will be one of the best things you'll ever buy. I use one at least twice a week, sometimes more. You can make everything from drinks, desserts, sides, as well as main dishes. I'd recommend www.crockpot365.blogspot.com for lots of great recipes. It's also great in the summer because it doesn't heat up the house or use as much electricity as an oven.

February 3, 2011 at 11:41 PM  
Blogger Betsy said...

I agree with all the crockpot love. (split pea soup with ham? my favorite!) But I also wanted to say how happy I am to hear you back to sounding chipper. I've been checking your blog compulsively many times every day, (stalker? that's me, apparently!) hoping that things were going to get easier for you. I'm so glad they are perking up! And I hope you're getting a little more rest, or whatever it is that you need to feel strong again.

February 4, 2011 at 12:51 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Home rendered lard is the way to go. From research, lard is not as bad for you as 'they' make it out to be. 'They' would be the university studies that were funded by vegetable oil manufacturers!

It's the lard on the supermarket shelf that's bad for you, because it's been either hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated to increase its shelf life which is what makes it really bad for you.

But lard rendered at home and kept in the fridge is okay. I would love to have some of that because, although I've heard that potatoes fried in duck fat are the best (I've never had that much duck fat on hand to try it), I can tell you definitively that potatoes fried in lard pretty much rock.

February 4, 2011 at 1:07 AM  
Blogger Wild Plum Cottage said...

You'll love your new crockpot. Mine gets used almost weekly all winter long. I love coming home to a hot dinner and a house that smells delicious at the end of a cold, rainy day.

February 4, 2011 at 1:08 AM  
Blogger Rosie said...

I do a pork shoulder/but in my crockpot Mexican style and turn some of it into chili verde.

Put cut up carrots and onions in the bottom of the crock. Season the roast with salt and pepper place fat side up sprinkle with oregano, I use lots. Then open a beer and pour it over the roast.You can even add more carrots and onions around the roast, they add flavor. Put the lid on and slow cook for 6 to 8 hours. The let it cool a bit and pick through the meat. It should be falling off the bone. Use some for burritos or carnita tacos and pour a can of green enchilada sauce over the mass you want for chili verde.
It is yummy and makes many meals. If you split it up you can season it up a bit different and not go in to pork overload.

Oh man... I know what I am making tomorrow for the weekend...

February 4, 2011 at 2:57 AM  
Blogger Bovey Belle said...

Well done with the success of Pig, and I shall raise an imaginary glass to the Pigs of the future. You will gradually find out all sorts of recipes for salting and curing and perhaps try air-dried charcuterie in the future like someone I know of in Somerset (must invite myself to dinner one day!)

I have a crock-pot, but have only used it once as my husband was very dubious about food NOT cooked at roaring hot temperatures. Sounds like everyone on here's survived though!

Paula - here in Britain we can get pots of duck fat in the run-up to Christmas and believe me, they make the best "roasties" ever! You just have to forget the calories for that one day . . .

February 4, 2011 at 3:12 AM  
Blogger Odie Langley said...

I know this has been mainly about pork but one of my favorite things to do with my crockpot is to take any cuts of chicken, mix a couple of cans of cream of chicken soup and cream of celery soup and pour over the chicken and let it go for 6 hours on low and the taste is so very good and you haven't done much of anything. So easy and good.

February 4, 2011 at 5:18 AM  
Blogger Peacemom said...

LOVE my crockpot, it's a busy woman's best friend! And pork in the crock is so awesome, do some pulled pork in it, you won't be disappointed, I guarantee it.

February 4, 2011 at 6:24 AM  
Blogger Ohiofarmgirl said...

crock pot - yay!
bacon - yay!
lard - double yay! like everyone else.. its spectacular. i use it for everything - frying, baking, the works. its easy peasy to render at home and once you make a pie crust with leaf lard, you'll never go back.

great work!

February 4, 2011 at 8:33 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

Mrs. Roy - I wish that were true! The last crock pot here had a (Porcelain? Glass? Well, breakable anyway) part that you could take out for serving and that ended up shattering. Other than that, yes, crock pots are awesome. I think the same model made a return in the kitchen even. ;)

February 4, 2011 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

That's it! Ceramic I think.

Anyway...

February 4, 2011 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

I can't imagine cooking without lard now. Like someone said, potatoes pan fried w/ lard....the best ever!

And you can get leaf fat from your butcher for cheap!! My favorite way of rendering is in my huge cast iron skillet in the oven. A great winter project because it warms the house and smells great.

February 4, 2011 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

My experienced advise is to forgo the crock pot and buy a digital electric pressure cooker.

Carolina pulled pork and Sweet Italian sausages with red potatoes in mine yesterday.

Red beans and rice overnight.

February 4, 2011 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger luckybunny said...

I reallyed enjoyed reading your journey with pig and am impresed. Seems like everything went very well and stressfree for both you and the animal. You are doing a great job and I have fun joining you through your blog.

Good luck with your crockpot! Mine is going right now with beer braised beef :) A good present to give yourself!

February 4, 2011 at 12:54 PM  
Blogger Lara Katherine Mountain Colley said...

The crockpot will change your life!

February 4, 2011 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Shelby said...

Crockpot -- Yeah!!

And if you want to roast --

Slow cook (an hour or so, use the meat thermometer to tell when its done)

Pork loin roast -- bone in.
Cut a pocket against the bone (between the loin and the bone) and tuck peaches and fresh thyme sprigs in the pocket. Great with fresh, just fine with canned or preserved peaches too. You can rub down the outside of the roast with a little peaches and honey if you feel like it. Sprinkle on a healthy dose of coarse salt and fresh ground pepper and in it goes. Serve it with the grazy (oh my) over some yellow finn potato's and a side of greens and you've got heaven.

This works with good double cut pork loin chops too. Umm!

February 4, 2011 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Get some recommendations on a good crock pot -- the one I had with the metal "pot" that sat on a heater was only good for buffet parties; much better is the one I got when my mother-in-law moved in, biggish with a ceramic crock that lifts out of the heater. The heater surrounds it, not just underneath, so it gets hotter (has lo-hi settings) and you can really give the crock a scrub w/o getting water on the electric part. The only drawback to this inherited one is the crock part is tall and narrowish, not right for a wide pork roast. I bet your readers have even more thoughts!

February 4, 2011 at 4:34 PM  
OpenID gileadgoats said...

Crockpot is your best friend as a single farmer/off farm worker! If you haven't bought one yet, I recently got a smark crockpot, that you can program to turn off, take internal temps etc. it's a little more $$ but totally worth it.

I know people say not to do this, but I do it often, a couple of times a month, with no ill effects.
Throw a frozen whole chicken in the crockpot, dump some seasoning on it, salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, whatever you like, cover it, and cook for 6-8 hours. You'll end up with delicious juicy chicken. Pull that meat out and use it for many meals, quesadillas, burritos, chicken pot pie, chicken salad whatever.
Then throw the bones back in with the cooking juices, add a couple quarts of water, then cook that on high for another 8 hours. Strain out the bones etc. and you have wonderful chicken stock. Freeze it to use later or make some fresh soup.
As a fellow solo farmer with a full time job, this saves me from eating crap food alot of the time, when I'm too tired to cook a little something just for one.

Keep on keepin' on!

February 4, 2011 at 4:34 PM  

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