Who knew there was so much pent-up demand to cure meat at home? After Cathy Barrow and Kim Foster first launched the Charcutepalooza challenge, the number of bloggers ballooned into the dozens, and then the hundreds. By the time they closed the official blogroll, over 300 bloggers had committed to participating in the challenge.
February brought out the crowds with perhaps the most popular food in history, bacon. Well, to be fair, the challenge was for the salt cure, so you could do pancetta or guanciale, or even gravlax or preserved lemons. Only, you know, most everyone did bacon. Conversation on the #Charcutepalooza hashtag reached fever pitch as people boasted about their massive pork bellies curing, hanging, roasting, or smoking ― and then came the deluge of dishes enhanced with porky goodness: There was of course a BLT or two, some very drool-worthy bacon jam, and more outré entrées, such as a pig's head pâté and a miso-cured bacon tarte tatin with pho-cider vinegar caramel. And some didn't restrict themselves to Our Friend the Pig. Can you say yak bacon?
Next month, the challenge marches (heh, get it?) on with a new technique: brining. Lest you think brining is limited to making your Thanksgiving turkey more tender, consider: Corned beef and pastrami are brined meats. And we'll be just in time for St. Patrick's Day.
The challenge's profile has continued to rise. Barrow and Foster have joined forces with überpopular food site Food52 , where each month's challenge and the roundup post of submissions will appear.
So what will you brine? Brisket's traditional, but just maybe you'll consider slipping a little tongue in?
To see some of the February salt-cure submissions, check out the posts on Punk Domestics.