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Cajun-spiced Bacon

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Now that I'm on the homemade bacon train, I'm all in—it's been well over a year since I last purchased bacon from the grocery. Smoking up a steady stream of bacon has afforded me the ability to experiment with seasonings a lot over a short period of time and I mostly treaded familiar ground at first with things like peppered bacon, maple bacon, and spiced bacon. That has now left me starting to venture into the more experimental spaces like pastrami bacon and this Cajun spiced bacon. To be honest, I've seen Cajun bacon before and that's why it popped up as a recipe to try, but I don't think it's something I would choose over other bacons when shopping, so I went into this recipe not quite sure how much I'd be into it on the other end.

Developing the recipe itself was pretty easy for me since I've done many Cajun and blackened recipes over the years that use this common earthy and herbal spice mixture that has a light touch of heat to it. Paprika serves as the foundational red base while garlic and onion powders give the seasoning a lot of its sharpness. Cumin is what enhances that earthy quality and it's a mixture of thyme and oregano that bring in the herbal components. To transform this into a cure for bacon, I merely had to add kosher and curing salts into the mix and I was done.

I utilized around a three pound piece of skinless pork belly for this bacon, which was half of what I bought that day—I've been smoking up one regular bacon and one experimental one in each of my cooking sessions. I coated the belly liberally with the cure, then transferred it to a Ziploc bag and set in the fridge for a week. Every morning and night I flipped that bag over to help the bacon cure evenly throughout.

At the end of those seven days, the pork was pretty firm, a good indicator that the cure worked as expected. I had been running my bacons under water before smoking to remove excess salt, but I didn't want to remove any of the seasoning for this bacon, so skipped that step. A few of my past bacons were not quite salty enough, so I wondered if skipping the washing might solve that problem, or possibly end with a bacon that was too salty. It was going to still be some time until I got an answer to that question though as I moved onto the next step of transforming this pork belly into bacon by putting it into the smoker running at 255°F with a couple chunks of pecan wood tossed on the coals.

When the pork hit around 150°F in the center, I removed it from the smoker and let it cool off at room temperature for a bit before wrapping it in plastic wrap and sticking it in the fridge to chill completely. The final bacon had a solid earthy red hue to it all over, which gave me hope that the seasoning would be substantial and really give the final strips that boost of Cajun flavor I was hoping for.

Once the meat was throughly chilled, I cut it into strips utilizing my meat slicer. I went a little thicker than I had been for other bacons mainly as a change of pace, but also thought you'd really want all the boldness you could get out of this bacon, so heftier strips would best deliver that.

Once I was done slicing, I portioned the bacon out into vacuum sealed bags and then placed those in the freezer to wait until I was ready to use them. I know I can always re-portion and freeze store bought bacon, but I never do, and making these single serving bags has been one thing I've really loved about going homemade—I always have the right amount of bacon for just me and wife.

From here, you can choose to cook the strips in your favorite manner, which for me is grilling. I decided the first use of the Cajun bacon would be in blackened chicken tacos, which I was cooking on the grill already, so it made sense to use the existing fire and get the added advantages of not making a mess in the kitchen or smelling up the house like bacon for days (although I personally don't mind that second part much).

On the grill, I placed the bacon over indirect heat and then covered. I let the strips cook, turning and flipping them occasionally, until the fat rendered and crisped up the meat nicely. For this use in tacos, I wanted an extra crispy texture to contrast against the chicken, so I let this batch cook until they were very well browned.

At this point in time, it was weeks from when I actually started the process of making this bacon, so expectations may have grown even more with the added wait and it felt really great to bite into that first crackling strip. Initially I was hit with the comforting smoky, meaty, and salty bacon flavor that was a tad saltier than most of my previous bacons, but also tasted more “right.” After that came a light heat that was the first unique stamp of the Cajun seasoning that was then built upon by garlicky and earthy flavors as I ate more. There was no doubt this had a flavor above and beyond the standard bacon, whether I would pin point that as uniquely Cajun if it wasn't called out by name is debatable though, but it was an amazing tasting bacon none-the-less. That being said, that strong earthy heat isn't going to be warranted in every bacon situation—which is why I always like smoking up a standard bacon alongside my more experimental ones—but when that extra Cajun flavor is desired, this bacon is going to serve you well, big time.
Published on Thu Apr 22, 2021 by Joshua Bousel

Print Recipe

Yield 10 servings

Prep 10 Minutes
Inactive 5 Days
Cook 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Total 5 Days 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Ingredients
3 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon pink curing salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 lbs boneless pork belly, skin removed
Procedure
In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, curing salt, oregano, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Coat pork belly all over with the cure and place in a large resealable plastic bag. Place in the coldest part of the refrigerator and cure for 5 to 7 days, flipping bag about every 12 hours.
Fire up smoker or grill to between 200-225°F, adding 1-2 fist-size chunks of smoking wood on top of the coals when at temperature. When wood is ignited and producing smoke, place pork belly in smoker, fat side up, and smoke until an instant read thermometer registers 150°F when inserted into thickest part of the meat. Remove pork belly from smoker and let cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until completely chilled.
Cut bacon into slices at desired width and cook using your favorite method. Store leftover bacon in Ziploc or vacuum sealed bags in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

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By: meatmaster@meatwave.com (Joshua Bousel)
Title: Cajun-spiced Bacon
Sourced From: meatwave.com/recipes/homemade-cajun-spiced-bacon
Published Date: 04/22/21

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Cooking Tips

How Long Do You Leave Dry Rub on Steak?

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How Long Do You Leave Dry Rub on Steak?

A dry rub can be applied to any piece of beef or fish. To get the best flavor from it, leave it on for at least 12 hours. You can leave it on for longer, but the longer it is on the better. You can leave it on overnight. If you're pressed for time, just rub it on the night before grilling. Once you've grilled the steak, let it rest for about 30 minutes before serving. This way, the meat will soak up the seasoning.

To apply a dry rub, spread some on a rimmed baking sheet, then sprinkle it all over the steak. Massage the rub into the meat and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. This will give it more flavor and give it a great charred crust. You can cook the steak right away, or you can let it sit overnight. The longer it is on the steak, the more you'll notice the flavor.

Dry rubs have a strong flavor and are best used on thicker steaks. Make sure to apply them to both sides and make sure to coat the entire piece of meat. Then, you can put it in the fridge or freezer and let it rest for a few hours or overnight. This way, you'll be able to tell if it tastes good or not and you can easily adjust the seasoning.

If you're unsure of the amount of dry rub to apply, it's best to experiment by trying different amounts. Try experimenting with different quantities and compare your results to past results. You can also use dry rub on other meats or vegetables. It is best to experiment with the combination you like and see which one makes the most flavor. If you want to try other combinations, try mixing up your own dry rub.

When applying dry rub, leave it on the steak for 40 minutes to four hours. The longer you leave it on the steak, the better it will taste. A dry rub is not just for steaks. It can also be applied to other kinds of meat. You can also use it on grilled vegetables. You can also use it on other types of meat, too. The best way to apply it is to apply it a few hours before cooking.

You can use the dry rub on the outside of any kind of meat. It adds flavor to the meat and forms a crust on the outside of the meat when grilled. A dry rub can be applied to a thick cut of beef or a pork chop. A beef rib should be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap to prevent it from sweating. However, a slab of ribs can be left on the steak overnight. This way, the dry spice penetrates the meat and enhances the flavor of the meat.

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Cooking Tips

How to Grill a Steak the Right Way

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How to Grill a Steak the Right Way

There are many ways to cook a steak, but the most important way is by following a basic grilling technique. When cooking steaks, the temperature needs to be around 500 degrees to ensure a good end product. The grilling time can be a bit different for each steak depending on the thickness. Once you've decided how much meat you want, it's time to get started. Start by leaving your steak at room temperature while it gets used to the heat.

When cooking steaks, it's important to follow the proper cooking time and use an instant-read thermometer. This can help you plan your grilling times and ensure that your meat is cooked to the right temperature. Don't guess, as the internal temperature will rise a few degrees after it's removed from the grill. If you're uncertain about the exact temperature of your steak, it's okay to leave it on the grill until it's cooked to your liking. Just make sure that you don't overcook it.

Then, brush the steak with oil about five minutes before cooking it. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, then place it on the hot grill (450-500F). When your steak is finished, it should be medium rare, but it may be fully cooked before you finish. If your steak is still raw when you remove it from the grill, let it rest for five to ten minutes. The resting time will help the steak retain its flavor.

Once the steak is grilled, it needs to be allowed to sit for at least 5-10 minutes before serving it. The process releases juices as it cooks, and the juices reappear when it cools down. It is best not to cut it immediately after cooking. Instead, cover it with aluminum foil. Then, cut it on the grain, which means strands of meat running up the steak.

When you grill a steak, there are several steps you should take. First, make sure you have a good grilling temperature. Second, you need to make sure that the steaks are at room temperature. Having room-temperature meat will ensure a more even cook, and if they are not, they will char and fall apart. You can then finish the cooking process by baste the steak with melted herb butter.

The next step in grilling a steak is to determine the temperature. The steak should be at 120-129F for rare, 140-159F for medium, and 160+ degrees for well-done. Once the steak is cooked, it should be firm but have a little give. As long as you can gauge the temperature, you can be confident with the results. After all, you'll be glad you followed this simple tip when cooking steaks.

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Cooking Tips

Salisbury Steak With Mushroom Gravy Recipe

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Salisbury Steak With Mushroom Gravy Recipe

Salisbury steak is a classic dish that originated in the United States. It is typically made of ground beef and is served with a brown or gravy. In fact, the Salisbury steak is actually a type of Hamburg steak. To learn more about this dish, read on! Listed below are the ingredients and preparation methods. To make the perfect salisbury steak, follow these steps! Enjoy! Listed below are some tips for cooking salisbury steak.

Make the panade: This mixture of starch and liquid helps preserve the meat's texture. As proteins cook, they expand and contract, so the starch in the panade helps lubricate the meat fibers. Refrigerate your Salisbury steak for at least 15 minutes before cooking it. This will keep it moist and tender. Once the steak is cooked, it should be rested for another 15 minutes before serving. In the meantime, you can cut up your salisbury steak into slices and serve it.

Salisbury steak freezes well. Once cooled, place the steak in an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 days. To reheat, wrap the leftovers in aluminum foil and heat at 325 degrees. Remember to stir the remaining gravy before serving. Enjoy your delicious Salisbury steak! If leftovers do not go out, you can freeze them for up to 3 months. The leftovers will thicken due to the flour in the gravy.

The recipe for Salisbury steaks has undergone some changes, but remains mostly the same. Since the name is derived from the town in Massachusetts, the recipe has become synonymous with a bun-less hamburger. During WWI, this was a common term used for burger patties. If yours did, you can consider renaming it as well. If you do, please don't forget to share your results.

To make your Salisbury steaks, start by minced onions. Sliced onions will be used in the gravy. You can use small or large onions, but it's best to use the biggest size you can find. You can also use a large egg. When making the patties, try to cook them for about two minutes per side. Once the patties are cooked, add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions have softened.

The next step in the preparation of Salisbury Steak is to make the gravy. Chicken bouillon is commonly used in this dish, but you can also substitute beef bouillon or water. Remember to add a bit of salt to the beef broth and avoid adding too much water. Then, use your preferred cooking method and prepare the salisbury steak! Enjoy! You'll be glad you did! With the right ingredients, you'll be ready to serve a delicious meal in less than 30 minutes!

To make a meatloaf, you can use ground beef and seasonings. Then, form the patties into an oval shape. On the stovetop, sear the patty and finish cooking it in a brown mushroom gravy. Although it's a simple dish, it has a lot of flavor! The salisbury steak usually contains a patty of beef that's about 3/4 inch thick. In addition to the meat, it also usually comes with mashed potatoes or noodles. Some families add onions and mushrooms to the gravy.

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