Lamb or Goat Bacon
A chef secret, lamb and goat bacon can be made from the same cut as pork bacon. Lambs and goat are smaller than pigs, but in the case of bacon, it’s a benefit, especially if you’d like to try your hand at making bacon at home, as in this recipe. This is a tried and true blend of seasonings from Chef Alan Bergo that’s gauranteed to make delicious bacon from our grass fed lamb or goat belly, boneless short ribs or even fat caps, then frozen and used as needed throughout the year, or as long as it lasts.
To have the best flavor, bacon needs to cure and marinate for a few days with seasonings. With pork bacon, the marinading can take up to a week depending on the size, but as lamb and goats are smaller, the cure is very quick, and won’t take up too much space in your fridge, the pieces are reasonably-sized, and could fit into a plastic freezer bag. Just two days and a charcoal grill or a smoker is all you need to make bacon at home, bacon that is gauranteed to taste better than any you’ve purchased at the store.
Chef Bergo says that lamb and goat bacon is like a secret ingredient he brings out when he really wants to wow people, and it’s really true, with one exception: he prefers to cut the bacon into cubes or dice, as cutting into slices and cooking can be difficult at home without proper equipment, and as there is a small amount of connective tissue that can be slighlty chewy in long strips.
This recipe makes a small amount of bacon, but the separate recipe for the cure needs to be made in a slightly larger batch, this means that you’ll have enough cure to make at least a few batches of bacon, or a big batch, if you like. There’s a complete recipe video included.
This recipe is by chef Alan Bergo. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a veteran of the culinary industry, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Founder of the website Forager Chef, he’s best known as a respected authority on Midwestern foraging. Learn more about Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at Forager Chef.
Homemade lamb or goat bacon
- Grill or smoker
- 3 oz (3 cups) wood chips. Available at outdoor stores and online (fruit woods like apple are great, but most any dried wood chips will be fine, just don’t use wood from a conifer).
- 8 oz dark brown sugar
- 4 ounces kosher salt or fine salt
- 20 grams pink salt available from butcherpacker.com
- ¼ tsp cloves
- ½ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 2 dried bay leaves
- Toast and grind the spices in a spice grinder, then mix together (don't toast the bay leaf)
- Wearing gloves, rub the goat or lamb belly with exactly 6 ounces of the cure, or 1 cup for the total 2 lbs of meat. (Weighing the seasonings helps ensure things don’t come out too salty.) Rub the cure in well, massaging it in to ensure proper seasoning. Refrigerate the meat for 2 days. If using fat caps, score the meat with a cross hatch pattern to help release fat.
- Meanwhile, cover the wood chips with water and store in a cool place in a covered container that won’t absorb scents, like a metal mixing bowl covered with cling film, for example. The woodchips can be prepared 24 hours or more in advance.
- To prepare the bacon for cooking, drain the woodchips and reserve, then start a grill. Remove the goat from the fridge. Move the coals to one side of the grill when they’re very hot to get one side as cool as possible, then put a handful of drained wood chips on the coals.
- Put the grill rack down and lay the cured meat flat on the grill grates, making sure to place it on the opposite side of the coals. Smoke the bacon, keeping the heat as low as possible for 45 minutes-1 hour, turning the meat occasionally and adding more wood chips as needed to get a good, consistent smoke. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300.
- Remove the meat (it should be nice and browned from the brown sugar and smoke) to a shallow pan, fill with an 1.4 inch of water, cover with parchment and then foil, and bake for 1 hour. Allow the bacon to cool, then refrigerate or freeze until needed. The bacon will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge, and 3-4 months in the freezer, tightly wrapped in cling film, and then wrapped in a freezer bag. The best way to keep it frozen would be to vacuum seal it.
Video by Repast Studios