Garde Manger class was one of my favorite classes in culinary school and the one I was most excited to attend.
The term garde manger was originally the name given to the cold storage area in the kitchen, where the preserved foods were kept, such as cheeses, cured and smoked meats, and canned vegetables.
This term grew to encompass the chefs who worked in the garde manger, in turn becoming garde manger chef’s responsible for preparing the cold foods, and preserving, curing and smoking meats.
These chef’s share in a very long history of food preservation techniques, that started with our farmer and herdsman ancestors domesticating and raising animals for meats and then learning how to preserve those meats to last longer with salt, sugar and spices.
Curing is one of the oldest preservation techniques, were most likely the original ingredient was seawater or unrefined salt.
Now the most come practice is using refined and purified salts and sugars along with (Nitrites and Nitrates).
So the first step in making bacon is curing the pork belly, but in this recipe I do not use (Nitrites and Nitrates).
I use pink Himalayan salt with coconut sugar to cure this amazing cut of pork.
This first step is pretty easy because the most you do is massage the meat with the cure mixture, then let it cure in the refrigerator for a few days flipping it every other day, Tada curing done!
The next step in this recipe is hot smoking, the original smoking technique is thought to have been started when herders smoked meats over the fire.
The hot smoking technique happens when the temperature range is between 185F~250F in your smoker and exposes food to heat and smoke.
Even though hot smoked foods are normally reheated they are safe to eat without extra cooking, as long as the internal temperature reaches 185F/85C.
The most important thing though is that when you make your own bacon you don’t have to worry about if the ingredients are safe for you to eat, or if they come from quality farmers, if they are paleo, or have some how been contaminated with gluten or have been exposed to bad ingredients, because you are making it yourself from ingredients you know are safe in your own home.