I am a smoke junkie. I’ll take beef brisket, pork roast, chicken, ducks, pheasant…all smoked please. Smoked salt and smoked paprika are favorites in the spice cabinet. Smoked sugar was a fun experiment. So a duck fat washed bourbon cocktail enjoyed at Hinterland in Milwaukee, WI gave me inspiration to try a bacon fat washed bourbon. The preferred preparation for the bacon is a broiler pan with 2 cups water in the bottom in a 475 degree oven. And the preferred bacon is Nueske’s.
The dripping are clear, suspended in water.
Transferred for storage in the refrigerator.
Separating water from fat, we are left with ivory lard and water with just a hint of smoke. We can add 1 tablespoon of lard, melted, to 1 cup of bourbon. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Into the freezer for 1 hour, poke two holes in the lard and strain out the bourbon.
We have now transformed Nueske’s bacon into 5 ingredients – perfectly cooked bacon, ivory smoky-flavored lard, bacon water, bacon-washed bourbon, and bourbon/bacon lard. The alcohol in the bourbon is likely pulling some of the volatile taste components out of the lard. Does it require alcohol and at what level? Perhaps a German-style Bock Bier with lard added then into the fridge, not as a drink, but as the base for a beer-cheese sauce. The bacon water adds a nice complexity to beef broth. The bourbon-spiked lard becomes the starting point for an onion/fennel jam. So many places for bacon. For the love all that is smoky.