We bought half a pig recently from a farmer friend who treats and feeds his animals exceptionally well (and non-GMO!). We're thinking of raising our own pigs next year, and wanted to see how well we'd use all the various parts of an entire pig.
So...I was reading through the book, looking for what to try next, and found a recipe for Canadian bacon; a perfect recipe to try with a few pounds of the loin.
Unfortunately we didn't have a smoker other than the little stove-top one I bought Steve for Christmas a few years ago. So Steve and Joshua made one.
First, they took:
- 1 old, rusty half-barrel with holes punched in the bottom to let air in
- 1 left over piece of bendable metal dryer hose
- The sheet-metal back of an old gas clothes dryer (the cover) which just happened to already have a hole in it just the right size for a dryer hose, and that just happened to be left behind by the previous owners.
"We closed up the vent holes on the sheet metal by pounding them shut with a hammer on a brick, then lit a fire in the barrel and put the cover on top, put a few bricks on it to keep it flat, and let the paint burn off.
We removed the grease trap from the bottom of the grill and noticed that it was held in by a springy metal clip...which gave me an idea. We attached the dryer hose to the grill by poking a hole through each side, sliding a bent piece of wire in, and holding it in place with a left-over piece of the metal file-folder holder that I cut off to make it fit in a drawer. Both of these pieces of metal were just lying around on the floor of the garage; the trick was figuring out that (and how) they could be used.
The bent wire keeps the hose up against the bottom of the grill, the other end of the hose just slides into the hole in the back of the dryer on top of the barrel.
This is what it looked like while burning off the paint:
A little wet oak (soaked for a little while) on top of the coals from the fire and away we went.
This is Joshua taking the bark off our oak with the little hatchet. The black bucket is what we soaked the wood in:
I put the oven thermometer in next to the meat to make sure our temperature was right for smoking: 250 - 300 degrees F.
The temperature in the grill wasn't in range we wanted, so we lit the grill and played with it until we could keep enough oxygen in there to keep the flame going while still getting the smoke where we needed it.
We ended up propping the cover of the grill up with one of the bricks and just using the center burner. It took about an hour and a half to get the internal temperature of our Canadian bacon up to 150 degrees F as recommended in the book."
It's Michelle again...Seriously, this is the best Canadian bacon I've ever tasted, it's juicy and delicious, and we immediately started brining the next one along with a turkey breast to see if we can make our own smoked turkey for sandwiches. We have plenty of turkey meat from our flock (like 200 lbs!) so if this works we can stop buying anything at all from the deli with the exception of Swiss cheese.
The good news is that the boys love it! Fingers crossed on the smoked turkey!
Oh, and about the smoker, yeah I do realize I married MacGyver;-)