Bacon is the cure

I missed last weeks blog as unfortunately, like many other people, my wife and I contracted covid. We’re over the worst of it now but it kept me in bed for three days, therefore no cooks. I have tried my best to make up for it since.

As soon as I was well enough and had my appetite and taste back, I fired up the grill. I had taken delivery of my next accessory from Grden Grills - a plancha. In my mind there was only one thing for it, smash burgers. I have tried them before on a grill pan which worked to point but I think a cast iron plancha is definitely needed. It made a huge difference.

My next cook was a chicken on the rotisserie. I also placed a foil dish underneath with some sweet potato wedges and some garlic butter. A simple meal, with a good amount of leftovers.

As I had some time on my hands due to isolating, I finally got round to curing my own bacon.

I had seen that the Smokey Carter made a kit so I thought I’d give it a try. The kit came with everything you need to cure your own bacon except the actual meat, which I had delivered by our local butchers. There are two cures in the pack - a smokey hickory and a fennel and lemon.

I decided to make both at once as my wife is gluten intolerant and only the fennel and lemon is gluten free. The process itself is actually very easy. Place the bacon in the plastic bag provided and add the cure. Mix around until the bacon is covered by the cure and put in the fridge for two days. After the first to days turn the bacon over and leave alone for another two days. After the second set of two days is up, rinse the bacon under water and dry. Then wrap the bacon in the mutton cloth provided and put on a wire rack and return to the fridge for a further three days. Once the three days are up you're ready to cook up some bacon.

We absolutely loved it. The flavours are great and it really makes a huge difference to cook bacon and it not reduce in size by half and ooze water! And after three days in bed and a pretty rubbish week, a proper bacon sandwich was very much the cure! I really think this will be how we have our bacon from now on. It’s easy to do and the flavours are so good. A 1.8kg piece of bacon cost me £18 so obviously it’s a bit more expensive than supermarket bacon but the extra cost is more than worth it. The cure is very good value too, with 200g of cure enough for 5kg of bacon! Head over to The Smokey Carter to give it a try.

I then saw that The Rusty BBQ Co had made a South African braai lions tour rub. Being a big rugby fan, I had to try it. My wife and I went to South Africa for our honeymoon and the meat and flavours there are nothing short of amazing. I had a tri tip in the freezer which was the perfect cut of meat for the rub. I’ve also since tried the rub with potatoes which also worked really well.

The next cook was a classic - chicken wings on the Kamado Joe junior. I cooked them for 20 minutes each side indirect at around 180C. A great crispy skin and always a winner.

I then cooked something that I had wanted to try for some time - pizza. I’ve been following a few accounts on instagram that cook a lot of pizzas and couldn’t wait to try it. I’ve had to wait a while as I didn’t want to use my new kamado straight away at the high temperatures required to cook a good pizza. But now I have a lot of low temperature cooks under my belt I felt it was time to turn it up. I bought some pre-made dough as I am most definitely not a baker. Whilst the grill was heating up I rolled out my dough whilst my wife made her own gluten free version (she most definitely is a baker). We added our toppings and also got the kids to decorate their own pizzas. I got the grill up to around 275C (550F) and put the pizzas in for 5 minutes. I was very happy with the results and I think I will be cooking many more pizzas. The pizzas I’ve cooked so far have been just as good as any takeaway pizza I’ve had. I can’t recommend enough buying a pizza stone if you have a kamado style BBQ.

I’m not sure how many cooks I will get in this week due to the weather but I will do my best!

Stuart - Bbqfestu