I was convinced by a few people to do one more small cure while I am still in Brooklyn. I had some of those great sourced items I wrote about in The Bacon Gospel : Bacon for Brooklyn, just begging to be used. I began dreaming of curing with jasmine tea from China and honey from India back during the first big cure a few weeks back. So I just had to do a couple of slabs of Jasmine Tea & Lemon. I was so pleased with the flavors the tea infused the bacon with, which is great because I was crossing my fingers all week that floral bacon was a good idea (this is experimental curing, after all!). It was more than a good idea, it was absolutely one of my best flavors so far!
After his second request, I am now somewhat in awe of the palate of one of my oldest friends. Last month when he requested Horseradish-Lemon-Turmeric I remember giving him a doubtful look. Horseradish-cured bacon? However, it turned out to be a delicious, warm flavor combo. A fellow native of the Pacific Northwest, he this time asked for Honey & Pine, yes pine. Where would I find pine that I trusted for curing here in Brooklyn? Lucky for us both, I recently spent a long weekend in the Berkshires. There I found the freshest, most pine-y branches to bring back and use. I was very curious to find out what that slab would taste like. Sweet? Bitter? Neither actually. It turned out to be woodsy and meaty, and what I can only describe as refreshing, not a word often used in reference to bacon.
I did another Brandy-cured slab, this time combining Armagnac, Vermont maple syrup, black pepper, cinnamon and other spices. I really enjoy the way the sugars in the liquors I've used caramelize once cooked. The aromas are beyond enticing. I want to do many, many more flavors featuring liquor of different types. Tequila bacon is a distinct possibility in the near future.
The last flavor is Chinese 5-Spice. The aromas are pretty crazy on this one, too. This is one I've done a few times before and is my girlfriend's favorite. 5-Spice is a combination of pork's best spice friends and Sichuan peppers, special little peppercorn husks, that add a completely unique fruity heat.
*Brandy & Maple
*Jasmine Tea & Lemon
* Honey & Pine
* Chinese 5-Spice
All told, I cured over 40 lbs of bacon in 14 flavors during the Brooklyn leg of this project! At this rate I'll hit my goal of 100 flavors much sooner than anticipated!