Let us, instead, agree that bacon should be in as many things as possible, and if that includes mead, so be it.
Over the years, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about the best way to get bacon into a batch of mead. Many people wonder if they can just cook it up and throw it in like a handful of cinnamon sticks.
The answer to this is: No. Please don’t do that.
So, no beating around the bush here. There is a superior way to get bacon into a fermented beverage and this is it:
The Cooking Stage. The goal here is to get as much fat out as possible, as this won’t lend any flavor to your beverage, but to still get a good maillard reaction.
- Start with good bacon. This should be a no brainer. Thick slab Danish is our go-to. For a five gallon batch we use about one cookie sheet’s worth.
- Preheat your oven to 325 F.
- Lay the bacon in a single layer on a cooling rack set into a cookie sheet with sides. The rack should be tall enough that the fat accumulates underneath the bacon.
- Put the bacon into the oven, and watch it carefully. When it begins to crisp but before it gets too dark, pull it out and press the bacon between sheets of paper towels until you get as much grease out as humanly possible.
- Feel free to use the grease from the cookie sheet for any hedonistic activity.
Preparing your tincture. There are two schools of thought here. The first group advocates for a good vodka to really let the bacon flavor shine through. The second group pushes for whiskey because then your mead has bacon and whiskey in it when you’re done. We are of the latter school.
- Crumble your bacon into a pint glass full of your liquor of choice.
- Leave the glass out at room temperature for one week.
- Strain out all of the bacon, preserving the liquid in a second glass.
- Place the glass in your freezer and wait 12 hours.
- There should be further fat collected on the surface of the liquid. Scrape this off.
- The remaining liquid is your bacon juice (aka tincture).
Adding your tincture. This is where your goals and personal taste come into play.
- Taste your tincture. (As if you needed us to tell you.)
- Add as much as you think is appropriate to your batch right at bottling or kegging.
- Wait your normal conditioning period.
- Drink a pint, and don’t forget to toast to your liver and your arteries!
Enjoy, Meadiacs! Send us photos of your favorite pint!
Blah blah blah, normal disclaimer about the fact that you just left meat sitting in a jug of whiskey at room temperature for a week.