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Frank McNie's New Fish & Chip Shop
Frank makes Ayrshire bacon


Ask Scots people living abroad what they miss most about Scotland and somewhere near the top of every list is always Ayrshire Bacon. Iíve seen grown men humbled almost in tears while reminiscing about a bacon sannie, its robust salty flavour mixed with a spot of H.P. is what Macgastronomic dreams are made off. Iím told that bacon smuggling from Scotland rivals that of the heroin trade.

Ayrshire bacon is made by the wet cure method much the same as Wiltshire  Bacon a cure developed in the 1840s, the main difference being the specially fed somewhat fatter Scottish Large White pigs are completely boned before being immersed in the cure. While we canít get Scottish pigs here we are fortunate that Ontario pork is among the finest in the world. I use boneless pork loin. In Scotland  there are still several large and small companies (Ramsays of Carluke being the best known) making our bacon in the traditional manner as opposed to phosphate injected mass produced rubbish.

I was fortunate while working as a chef at The Baillie Nicol Jarvie Hotel Aberfoyle to meet an old butcher who taught me how to make bacon. It is very difficult to blend the ingredients in small quantity so I strongly recommend using one of cures sold by Windsor or Mortonís Salt companies. They will give you reasonable results and you can adjust to taste next time. I have deliberately left out quantities for this reason.

Ingredients.

Either Kosher or Pickling salt
Brown sugar
Sodium Nitrite
Spices
Potassium Nitrate
Previously boiled water
Pork Lion
Single Malt Whisky

Method

Assemble all the ingredients and pour the whisky into a glass (preferably Edinburgh Crystal). Take a large swig to make sure it hasnít gone bad.

Mix all the ingredients except the whiskey in a bowl then add to the water which has been boiled then cooled and is now in a plastic or ceramic container, mix well being careful not to spill the whiskey. Sip the whiskey to make sure you didnít get any of the mix in it.

Set the cure to one side, now thoroughly wash your pork lion and pat dry. Take a sip of whiskey

In Scotland they tend to leave about a half inch of fat but June forces me to trim it well, she does have other great qualities to compensate.

While Iím at it I usually cut off a small roast and a few chops for myself. Take a sip of the whiskey

Lay the pork into the brine and weigh down with a plate or two to make sure it is submerged. Take a sip of whiskey Place the container in the fridge. If the whiskey has evaporated pour another.

By this time Iím usually so hungry I could eat the pork raw but we have to leave it for two to two and a half days.

I like to turn it every twelve hours but that does not have to be exact. Try explaining that you got up at 3 a.m. to turn you bacon! At this time I usually sing a chorus or two of ďFlower of ScotlandĒ or depending on the quantity of whiskey in the recipe perhaps ďAh Belong tae GlesgaĒ

I could murder a fish supper.

After the appointed time and when the bacon is an even colour of red throughout wash the excess brine off with fresh water pat it dry. Donít butter your bread and turn on the grill yet, you have to let it mature in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks. I then usually like to freeze the bacon for an hour or two to make it easier to slice.

If you use low carb bread to make the sannies your allowed to eat as many as you want without guilt.

As a point of interest should you want to make French style bacon just substitute red wine for the whiskey.

Cheers...Frank


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