I had some bacon in the fridge that was getting old so I decided to cook the lot of it in the oven. I usually use maple sugar when I make this stuff but decided on brown sugar for this batch. While rummaging in the cupboard I ran across a jar of ground red pepper. The peppers grew on an “ornamental” pepper plant but they looked useful and I am loathe to throw things away. I ground them in my spice mill and put them back, waiting for a special occasion. Today I sprinkled them onto the bacon, along with ground black pepper and the sugar. You can see the tiny seeds on the bacon in the photos. This stuff is awesome. Bacon is not hard to cook in the oven, lay it out on a rack inside a baking tray. Cooking plain bacon you can get by without lining the tray with foil but this sugar coated stuff will make you wish you had the first time you forget. Or the second time. I’m slow. I set the temp at 350 for this batch, thicker bacon wants a lower temperature setting. Flip the bacon after 15 minutes and sprinkle the other side with the pepper and sugar. (Maple syrup works great on these!) The bacon will render as it cooks and will give up moisture, in the last few minutes the rashers go from not quite done to just right and you better be ready because another minute is too much. [Edit to add photo:]I mentioned that I was, um.. retentive. These are the little peppers I dried and ground and saved. In 2010.
We’ve pretty much destroyed that last pork shoulder, this is the last of it. Carnitas is, for me, a description of method as much as it is of the result. You want to put a brown crust on braised pork and to get that you can cook the drained meat in a skillet over medium high heat in oil or roast it in a hot oven. Strictly speaking you want to cut the pork into cubes before you braise it, thus the name: “little meats”. This batch of pulled pork I fried in olive oil. The browner the crust the better the taste, so long as you don’t go overboard. I dressed this sammich with my pepper relish.