As you know we take two (last year three) weaners each year to raise for meat. Although it started as an experiment four years ago it was a huge success and we now do it annually. Last year we took two Berkshire Blacks and a British Lop cross for bacon. The pigs are killed here by a local debiteur and then, after cleaning them and cutting them into two, he takes them back to his premises for hanging and subsequent cutting.
Last year we asked him to give us more larger joints so that we could smoke them. However, we didn't have a smoker. Small problem! I looked all over the internet and finally came up with an idea and some dimensions for Max to put into practice.
Over the years Max has recommended our local charpentier to a lot of people. He is a charming man, in his late 70's (my estimate!) and his work is exceptional. And solid. Max asked him to quote for supplying the wood and explained what it was for. We heard nothing for two weeks then a phone call out of the blue asking Max to go and collect "it" - bring the van. When he arrived he found this work of art, enormous and solid awaiting him. Slightly alarmed because we couldn't afford to pay for it Max just stood there open mouthed. Monsieur Billy laughed and explained that he had made it as a gift and a thank you. A real case of what goes around comes around.
Max bought it back and was followed by two of M. Billy's workmen - it took all four of us to carry it from the car into the shed opposite the kitchen. We felt slightly ashamed when we saw it next to our "burner" but it works a treat.
I have prepared hams for roasting before but they taste nothing like the ones that have been smoked first. We have just finished smoking so bacon backs - one will be used tonight for lardons in a pasta sauce. The other I hope to slice for breakfast.