Around here there is nothing quite like a new order of pork returning from the processor. It means a restocking of some of our favorite Red Wattle pork products, namely The Bacon… Yes, we do indeed capitalize the name as we think so highly of the bacon produced by our hogs. Because we sell our meat by the individual piece, we often don’t get to indulge ourselves as much as we’d like with some of the more popular cuts. Bacon is the perienal best seller as far as Red Wattle pork goes. I have to admit, Red Wattles make the very best bacon I have ever had the pleasure of eating. Both clover/grass finished Red Wattles as well as Hazelnut finished Red Wattles make eating breakfast a pleasure.
Anyway, back to the recently processed Red Wattle that we got back from the processor. Its been “home” for a few weeks now, and we have had a package of belly bacon (awesome!) but we had yet to sample the cottage bacon (from the shoulder) or the jowl bacon. Last pig we had the jowls smoked and returned to us whole. This pig we asked for them smoked and sliced; as bacon. We were eager to see and taste how the various bacons turned out this time around.
The weekend of July 17th we had the pleasure of hosting Brian and Dot Jordan from Indiana. (That is a whole other post). Brian and Dot are also Red Wattle breeders, in fact Brian is the president of the Red Wattle Hog Association. While they have plenty of RW pork in their freezer, they have never had cottage bacon or jowl bacon, so we figure this was the opportunity to compare the three types of bacon. All three bacons are from the same hog. This was a Red Wattle hog that was a year of age and had a live weight of 320 lbs.
The Jowl Bacon has much more fat then the other two types of bacon. It really has a lot of flavor as flavor is packed away in the fat. Its texture is fairly delicate and its easy to chew. Did I mention delicious? The Cottage Bacon comes from the shoulder of the hog. It is a much shorter, meatier cut of bacon and as such has a bit different texture. This hog was grass/clover finished and as such isn’t as fat as the hazelnut pigs that we offer later in the year. The Cottage Bacon from this hog is almost all meat. Delicous meat. The Belly Bacon is the familiar bacon that most of us have grown up with. Not overly fatty with a good amount of “lean” to it.
I love all of the different types of bacon. We tend to choose different types depending on how we plan on using it. As far as the jowl goes, I think I prefer the jowl left whole. Jim can then chop it into chunks and fry it that way. We use it to flavor pasta dishes or just snack on directly from the pan.