Today I'll share my favorite tools and books for bacon making and butcher day.
We have an older version of this Char-Broil Offset Smoker American Gourmet Deluxe Charcoal Grill.
Folks ask me what tools we use and if I just say "a boning knife, a paring knife, and kitchen shears" they usually want to know EXACTLY which ones. In fact, we had a hilarious chitchat on 'the facebook' about how my review for my favorite Henckels knives would say "great for gutting chickens!" I'm not sure that's the kind of advertising they want to see but here it is.
As always, the best references for makin' bacon are Rulman's Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing and also Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing. Why? Because he makes it easy and approachable. Any one can do it! Just order a pork belly from your butcher and get to work. Pretty much the only thing you need but won't already have in your kitchen for curing the bacon is "pink salt." Some folks don't like it because it has nitrates - but do your research and figure out what is best for you. I use it and don't feel bad at all. I think it makes the bacon more bacony.
Pink salt. Its pink
Mostly what you need to make bacon is confidence. So fire up the smoker and give it a try.
As for butcher day tools, my favorite things to use are my Henckle knives. I actually got my set a long time ago in Germany. They are absolute a treasure to me. Knives are like shoes tho, it really depends on what is comfortable you to.
My favorite knife of all time - Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Four Star 4-Inch High-Carbon Stainless-Steel Paring Knife. Its a vision. I use it for everything.
But hands down the most important tool for home pork butchery is my meat saw. We love this Weston Butcher Saw with 16 Inch Stainless Steel Blade. Make sure you get the 16 inch version or or the blade will have to much flex in it.
The biggest surprise tool that we use for pork butcher is our garden trolley like this 1200lb garden cart. It worked great on our last butcher day. Make sure its the heavy duty one tho - ours is good up to 800 lbs. Its an older model and next best one I could find was an extra heavy duty maximum 1200lbs model.
My last recommendation is also a must have - heavy duty baking trays. These Focus Foodservice Commercial Bakeware 13 by 18 Inch 18 Gauge Aluminum Half Sheet Pans are perfect for holding a mountain of just butchered chickens or a huge belly section of pork. They are bigger and deeper than regular old cookie sheets. These heavy duty trays changed my life.
That's just a few of my recommendations. You can click here to get the full list for bacon making and butcher day tools and books.
Happy Saturday everyone!