Dawson Valley Free Range

Dawson Valley Free Range

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bacon and Pork Fat

Our pigs are based on Heritage breeds, the reason for this is both practical and emotional. Practical because our pigs are true free range and roam about paddocks all day and so they need sun protection. The best protection is the colour of their skin. We really noticed it during the recent rain - when the white pigs we hav,e got washed clean, they also got sunburnt. The black pigs didn't get affected at all. The emotional reason is based on saving the old breeds. Pigs in Australia are limited to the breeds we have. Other stock, eg horses and cattle can be imported from overseas, however pigs are not imported, not even the semen.

One of the problems with the old breeds, and the reason they are nearly bred out, is that they tend to get fatter than the modern white varieties. This has been an issue that we have been trying to deal with ever since we've been raising these pigs. This is also the reason why we have introduced a Large White Boar into our herd. The other factor we have, is that we mix our own feed with locally grown grains and these also change from season to season. We could feed a commercial mix and get more consistency, however, we can't control what's in a commercial mix - they will just about always contain cotton seed meal or soy bean meal - these are more than likely going to be genetically modified. Commercial mixes are also a processed food - we try to be as natural as possible, which is why our pork tastes like pork should! The one consistent thing we have is that it always tastes good!

One of the advantages of all that lovely fat, is that you can save the fat, render it down and cook in it! Fat is really the best thing to cook in, and as you've already paid for it, it's makes sense not to waste it. I do mention how to do this here, but it's quite easy - just put the fat into a pot with some water - not a lot, just enough to get it to start to melt, wait for it all to be melted, you will see the "fat" has melted and just left some chunks of brown crunchy stuff. Strain and keep the fat. I do keep it in the fridge in hot weather, but in winter it's okay left out. I put it into jars or tins.

You can use the fat off the chops or bacon, or buy some belly fat from us (this comes out lovely and white and clean). You do have to be very careful not to burn or catch the fat as it renders, or it will colour it - still usable, just doesn't look as good.

The yummiest thing is this..... cut the fat and rind off some bacon, cut into small pieces (about 1cm). Place in a small pot with a dash of water. Let it slowly render down until you have little crunchy bits and rendered fat. Tip off the fat to keep for baking potatoes (yum) and then serve the crunchy bits on some freshly made bread - serve with a beer!

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