LAMB BACON! One of my all time favorites, it's a unique style as it's a cured and smoked piece of meat. It never fails to impress. This goes great on a charcuterie board, BLT, or even with eggs and coffee in the morning. I roll and tie it up as you'll see in the video to help keep the bacon moist, and to help the muscles from contracting during cooking. Also, I tried to add transglutaminase for this recipe but didn't work out as well as planned. Nonetheless it is still very flavorful and aesthetically pleasing too!
To get started, you're going to need to get yourself a lamb belly. A trip to a local butcher might just do the trick for this one. Do your best to remove all the sinew so that the salt can more easily penetrate the meat.
Once that's done, you're going to mix the salt, instacure #1, and molasses with cold water until the mixture is combined. Pour over the belly, and rub it in as best as possible.
Then you'll roll up the belly and place it in a food grade plastic bag. Try to get as much air as possible out of the bag. Now it's time to let that lamb belly cure for 10-14 days.
NOTE: Every other day, you'll need to remove the lamb belly from the bag, and redistribute any juices that have collected at the bottom. Also, keep an eye out for any salt that hasn't dissolved, and do your best to rub it in. Then, place it back into the bag.
Once the lamb belly is cured, take it out of the bag, and rinse it with cold water. Then, pat it dry on both sides.
In this recipe, I tried to use Transglutaminase AKA Moo Gloo. I wanted to use it to help bind the proteins together to keep the lamb bacon coiled while I cooked it. You can either sprinkle it onto the lamb belly, or make a mixture like I did in this video. I used 4 parts water, to 1 part Transglutaminase, and then mixed it quickly with a stick blender. Then, pour it over the lamb belly, spreading with a silicone brush, to try to get it into all of the nooks and crannies.
The next step is to roll the lamb belly tight, and then, using butcher's twine, tie it off. Start in the middle, and then work outwards make ties about an inch apart from one another, to get a nice tight roll. Then refrigerate for 24 hours to let the Moo Gloo do its work.
Now we're ready to smoke this baby. I used my backyard grill burning at a low temperature with some hickory woodchips. Place the lamb belly off center, away from direct heat, to give it a nice, light, smoky flavor. This should take about 2 hours maximum.
To cook the lamb bacon, I use my kitchen oven set to 250°F and my Taylor thermometer to track the internal temperature of the lamb belly. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 145°F, which should take about 2 hours. Let cool completely before cutting into it.
Happy Butchering, Matt the Butcher.