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540 Posts in 244 Topics by 486 Members Latest Member: - sandra Most online today: 21 - most online ever: 215 (October 16, 2007, 02:43:27 PM)
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Author Topic: Hello, and German bacon?  (Read 7198 times)
Kurtswursts
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« on: February 06, 2007, 05:40:56 PM »

Hey folks, glad I found you and I hope you can answer my question.  I've started making my own sausage and bacon this past year and whether it has been beginner's luck, or I'm just that good (I'm inclined to believe the former) I've had about a 95% success rate.  But now I'm stumped.  A friend of mine has asked me to make a couple of slabs of German bacon, and I don't have a clue as to how it is different from the traditional hickory and apple smoked bacons I've been making.  Any clues?  Thanks in advance!
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2007, 09:04:30 PM »

When I was in Germany and Austria years ago my local friends liked to order speck with their country lunch. Not unlike Italian prosciutto, but usually cut thicker, it was delicious with bread, cheese  and beer, or just by itself. Here's a version that's closer to bacon.

I found this recipe elsewhere online but it was badly formatted and difficult to read.  The Prague Powder ingredient is also referred to as Tinted Cure or Pink curing salt and is popular for all types of sausage curing.

via Paul Hinrichs

Title: Schinkenspeck or German Bacon
Yield: 10 Lbs

Ingredients

1 for 10 pounds total:
2-1/2 ga ice water
8 oz kosher salt
8 oz prague powder #1
2-1/2 oz powdered dextrose
2-1/2 oz ground white pepper
1-1/2 oz ground juniper berries

Instructions

It's a lot of work, especially if you're working alone, but it is a beautiful finished product that is well worth the trouble.

The original procedure calls for a whole fresh pork ham, but any I make in the future will be made with pork loins. The reason for that is simple - the center part is round and pork loins are naturally round. If you use a ham, you have to fit together various pieces of the muscle to get the right shape and use gelatin to hold them together. The loin will make the center more like Canadian bacon, but that's no problem as far as I'm concerned.

I remove the skin from the bacon before curing. I also spray-pump both the bacon and ham at 10% of their weight with the cure. Then you let them cure for 5 to 6 days at 40 F.

Lay the bacon slab out on a counter top and fit it around the ham. You may have to trim off parts of the ham where it's too wide and fit such trimmings in places where it is too narrow. Just sprinkle them with unflavored gelatin and they'll stay there after the smoking. When the bacon fits nicely around the ham, sprinkle it with gelation and tie it up like a rolled rib roast. Working alone, I found skewers helpful for this part of the process, securing one end while I worked on tying the other. This took nearly an hour on my first attempt!

Then you put the whole thing in a stockinette bag and let it rest in a 135 F smokehouse until it gets to 128 F internal - just like bacon, but it will take longer because of the greater thickness. Mine took about a day. Then you can smoke it, but not too much. I kept mine at 128 F for another day so it would firm up nicely.

It was far too thick for my home slicer, so I took it to the butcher, where I had purchased the meat, and let him cut it on his professional grade slicer (and gave him 4 slices for his trouble). I put it in the freezer first, for about 6 hours, so it was easier to slice consistently.

I found it fried up best at very low heat in a cast iron skillet. The sugar in it will carmelize and make a mess even at moderate temperatures. Then prepare yourself to taste the finest bacon you've ever had - I'm not kidding, the delicacy of the juniper berries and the faint sweetness make this a treat you'll never forget.
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