Bellies Ready for Smoke!

Posted on December 3rd, by Frank Mirando in Fall, Meat, Meat & Poultry, Pork, Preserving. 1 Comment


Any time I mention supporting local farms that raise heritage breed animals the right way people look at me like im crazy.  My pork store told me “organic is a scam, do you really think they feed the animal grains and fruit?”   The proof is in the belly!  Just by taking a quick look at them side by side, you don’t need to be a trained chef to see that the smithfield belly is obviously an inferior product.  It is super thin, full of water, barely  any fat at all.  There are many variable that contribute to the lack of quality.  Here is some info I found just looking up smithfield:
On December 15, 2010, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released an undercover video taken by one of its investigators who worked for a month at Murphy-Brown, a Smithfield subsidiary in Waverly, Virginia. The investigator videotaped 1,000 large female pigs living in gestation crates during their four-month pregnancies; the sows are moved for three weeks to a nursing stall, then artificially inseminated and returned to the gestation crates. HSUS said in a statement that its investigator found unacceptable and systemic abuses.[23]The Associated Press reported that the investigator saw:
  • a lame pig shot in the forehead with a stun gun and thrown into a dumpster; the video shows the pig being dragged by its snout, shot in the head and thrown into the trash bin while clearly still alive;
  • pigs biting their crates in frustration, and bleeding as a result;
  • staff jabbing pigs to make them move, and mishandling piglets and tossing them into carts;
  • piglets born prematurely in gestation crates falling through the slats into the manure pits.
The undercover investigator saw no veterinarians at the facility. A manager told the investigator to ignore a pig with a basketball-sized abscess on her neck, then cut the abscess open with an unsterilized razor. Smithfield told the Associated Press that it has “zero tolerance for any behavior that does not conform to our established animal well-being procedures.”[23] The company responded by sacking three workers. Temple Grandin, a professor of animal husbandry, was asked by Smithfield Foods to review the footage taken by HSUS and recommended an inspection of the facilities from animal welfare expert Jennifer Woods.[24]
The Virginia state veterinarian, Richard Wilkes told The Virginian-Pilot in January 2011 that Smithfield Foods had been “very responsive and very responsible in how they’ve addressed the issues” raised by the undercover investigation. Wilkes said he was invited to visit the farm in December as part of the investigation. He said he did not see “any indication of abuse” of the pigs and was impressed with the pigs’ demeanor. A Humane Society spokesman said that Smithfield had provided the state vet “with a pre-announced, white glove tour.”[25]
Heritage Breed Pork.  So what it’s a little more expensive.  Farmers like Flying Pigs upstate NY, or the Amish farm Pleasant Pastures in PA take pride in there hogs.  They are passionate about keeping these old time breeds alive because they were originally bred for physical strength and more importantly flavor.  Fat is good people, In moderation of course   Especially if the animal is fed grains and natural food it was put on earth to eat.  Trust me the difference in flavor alone is worth the extra dollar per pound however people need to start opening there eyes to what these commercial farms do to increase there bottom line.  
I cured these bellies for 7 days and will let them dry over night in the fridge.  They will be hot smoked over apple and white oak tomorrow for a few hours till 150 degrees internal temperature.

Belly                      4000g
Salt                         120g
Cure 1                       20g
Dark bwn Sugar        120g
Maple Syrup               8oz
Clove                         7cloves
Cinnamon                  1.5 sticks
Juniper berries            14g

I will post pics and tasting notes when its finished   

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