Here's our new electric smoker. When I couldn't decide between smoking my bacon in our temperamental oven or on our crummy old grill, Sean suggested we get an actual smoker to do the job for us. We found this inexpensive model at Home Depot in El Monte; even if we only use it a few times, we'll get our money's worth.
Applewood chips. I soaked them in water for about half an hour, then wrapped them in aluminum foil and poked a few holes through the foil. Wet chips should produce a lot of smoke, and smoke = flavor. Sean carefully placed them on top of the lava rocks next to the heating element.
Here's my fully-cured bacon. Two slabs of it, remember? Mmmmm.
Here's the first pork belly in situ. The pan below the rack is filled with a mixture of water, maple syrup, and liquid smoke. This acts as a sort of marinade that will infuse the meat as it heats up. I probably should have found an actual marinade recipe, but I figured maple syrup and smoke were the sort of flavor I wanted to impart, so who cares if I didn't know what I was doing? As it turned out, I made a good choice.
The smoker in action!
It took about three hours to smoke the bacon. Here it is, right after we removed the lid. Let me just turn that baby over so you can see the non-rind side of it . . .
Here they are, all salty and sweet and sticky. They kind of smell like ham.
I went ahead and fried up a cut-in-two piece to see what it tastes like, although the bacon already seems to be cooked through. Heavenly! (It was even better when I cut off the inedible rind that is impossible to chew through.) I may not make the best BLT in this challenge, but it's hard to believe anyone will produce better-tasting bacon than me. Then again, I've never eaten bad bacon -- I'm not sure it exists.