Friday, March 5, 2010

Smoking The Hams & Bacons

My oldest granddaughter is sleeping in the bed next to me as I type away. We were at the corrals a long time today as we did our chores, took pictures of the condition of the goats for another post, and took care of the many livestock animals of the neighbors. Kirk, bless him, got the hams and bacons ready for the smokehouse by himself and then hauled a large wheelbarrow of wood down to the basement in preparation for the 2-5 inches the weather man has promised us. We'll see.As I searched through the refrigerator for scraps to take to the chickens, a bright flash and a rumble caused me to turn my head toward the kitchen window. Our granddaughter came running into the house wide eyed. "Grandma!"

"I know sweetheart", I told her soothingly, "It was lightning and snow thunder."

It is something that doesn't occur often but once in a while when the weather has been warmer -high forties- for a few days and then a snow storm moves in with its cold front, the two differing temperatures collide. It happens in the springtime. Our piling snowstorms that keep us confined for up to three days come in March or April but most likely the end of April. There the kind that spawn stories that locals tell southerner to watch the panic looks that cross their face. Snow doesn't typically float to the ground softly like it did today or should I say the snow pellets that floated softly. We knew this little storm was coming and with a storm almost always comes the wind. It's due to continue into the night with the addition of thirty mile an hour winds. Not bad but awfully hard to keep the smokehouse lit with a wind blowing the flames out like a birthday candle.
So Kirk set up the camp stove in the garage and put two canners full of water on it to boil.

They will be poured into a large container and a side of bacon put in to soak. When most of the salt that was rubbed into it has washed off he pulls the side out and empties the water putting in fresh and soaking the side again for a while to draw the salt out. The bacons were rubbed thoroughly with curing salt and put in plastic bags to sit to cure on. A couple times a day I flipped the bags over and so they have sat waiting until Kirk was off from work again today. We would like to leave them in the salt cure a shorter period of time but it would tax me lifting the hams in and out of the water and walking up a ladder each time to hang them from the rafters while the water was changed and then in and out of the top section of the smoker.

While I'm snapping pictures before heading to the corrals Kirk is finishing up the last side of bacon.

Yum! The bacons are out but the hams are still in the smoker. Looks like the wind is starting to pick up. They had better hurry. After the bacon cools we'll slice them. Kirk has to work again tomorrow so I may do it by myself tomorrow.
This pig butchering project goes on forever. I just finished washing greasy coats and clothes and I've still the Butcher Boy saw to wash down and then Kirk will cut up the hams after they cool. Then I'll wash the saw down again.
My granddaughter is eating pudding in the kitchen and Kirk is off delivering cakes I baked for a church function tomorrow. It was pretty easy to get him to run the errand when I told him I thought the yellow slip we'd gotten in the mail was my new bread cookbook I'd ordered, one for European style artisan whole grain breads.

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