I am and forever will be a strong advocate of getting to know ones’ butcher. Not only will you benefit from their wisdom in terms of trying new cuts of meat and preparations, but you will also get the personal touch. And by personal touch I mean, your butcher schlepping down to the basement or in the back, getting a fresh piece of meat and cutting it to your order.
A few years ago when Berlin still lived in Brooklyn, he used to refer to my trips to the butcher shop as “dropping bank on meat”. I love cooking and when I do it, it is never half assed and I am always conscious of where my ingredients come from. It is 100% grass fed goodness!
Berlin was moving to the west coast that summer (lucky them!) and I was rendered butcher-less, but not bacon-less. In what he coined as ‘Bacon for Brooklyn’ – a few lucky souls got in on his custom bacon creations. The concept is simple fresh pork bellies, a simple cure and flavors. I greedily secured three bellies for myself. Then came the hard part – flavor selections. Berlin and I sat down, talked about flavors we loved and came up with awesome combinations.
BELLY # 1 – RUM, NUTMEG AND MAPLE
BELLY # 2 – PINEAPPLE CLOVE
BELLY # 3 – BLACKBERRY BRANDY MINT
I whipped out a saute pan and quickly cooked one piece of each bacon. The pineapple bacon quickly browned because of the natural sugars in the pineapple juice was causing my bacon to burn faster than normal – I lowered the heat.
Immediately, as the first piece of bacon made contact with the hot pan – aromas began the blossom. Smells of pineapple and spices wafted into the air. I was cooking bacon partly by my own design, much credit must be given to Berlin – The Ethical Butcher.
I quickly cooked off the rest of my test bacon and thoroughly enjoyed the spoils of my culinary victory.
I cannot wait to incorporate my bacon into pastas, antipastos, salads and who know maybe even desert 😉