Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pork Fat

Last night was cornbread and it started with a pile of trimmings from jowl bacon. The last time I bought jowl bacon it had an extra large layer of fat that needed trimming prior to cooking. I couldn’t stand the thought of throwing the fat away so into the freezer it went. Last night I took some out, cut into ½ inch chunks and rendered it down. I probably ended up with ~4 tablespoons of rendered fat and a handful of crunchy cracklins that I should not have eaten. But hey, my wife wasn’t watching and my kids don’t know any better so I’ll just say they were delicious.

The bacon fat went into an 11 inch cast iron skillet in a 425 degree oven. While the cast iron was heating I made the batter.

2 cups white cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 ½ cups buttermilk

The dry ingredients were double sifted and then mixed with the egg and buttermilk.

Once the cast iron got smoking hot (literally) I swirled the fat to coat the sides of the skillet and poured the fat into the batter. The sizzle and pop of the fat hitting the batter is a glorious sound. The fat was quickly mixed in, the batter poured into the skillet and the skillet returned to the oven for 30 minutes.
This was the best cornbread I have made so far. A beautiful golden brown crust, a pale interior with a silky texture and every bite rich with the flavor of pork fat.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, man.

    You've just given me a new use for all my homemade guanciale ends.

    Thank you!!!