Bacon and sheds – two perfect things together at last – how to cure & smoke bacon in your shed

Sheddie Nick (@shedbacon) has written a guest post about two of my favourite things Sheds and Bacon.


The shed I use was a bit of a white elephant, I built it as a sort of garden room cum small summerhouse, but it just got filled with kids toys and the barbecue, and it was a bit lacking in direction. Until I hit upon the idea of making bacon in it.

Bacon is lovely, right? But it’s not like it used to be. Fed up with this (And with a dearth of decent butchers or farmers markets up here) I set off on a voyage of discovery.

I was going to make it myself.

It’s just pig, at the end of the day, with salt and maybe some smoke, so I hit Google. Hard.

Here is a gallery of all of Nick’s work – in detail 🙂

It’s not really just salt, if you just use salt you get bacon which isn’t all the same colour, and it takes longer to cure as well. Who wants to wait?…

I buy the pork in the supermarket, I usually get a rolled loin roast weighing about 2KG. You just cut the string and you’re good to go. Once it’s cured you end up with about 1.5 KG of bacon.

Happily there are several companies who will provide you with a pre mixed curing salt mix, I use a commercial organic curing salt with some success, although I now use a mix of the curing salt, rock salt, and demerara sugar at a ratio of about 100g per KG of product.

The dry curing takes place in the shed when the weather is cool (I’m in Aberdeenshire, so that means anytime other than late June, July, or August usually. During these months I have to use the fridge) The meat is placed on a layer of cure, and has the rest of the cure rubbed all over it and sits in a pyrex dish, The cure causes liquid to leach out of the meat, and this is discarded every day, after all I’m dry curing it, nobody likes that white foam you get when you try to fry brined bacon. Well, I don’t and I originally set out to make it for me.

Once it’s had long enough in the cure (3 to 4 days usually, although Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recommends curing for a week, but this is so salty that it turns your face inside out) I remove it from the salt and rinse it, then hang it up for a day or 2 to air dry a little longer. If you like unsmoked bacon then that’s it. Slice it up and get it eaten. It’ll keep for a week to ten days in the fridge.

I prefer smoked bacon, And there really is no smoke without fire. I ‘m looking to flavour the meat, not cook it, so I needed to get smoke. Cold smoke. You can rig up all manner of Heath Robinson contraptions using ducting, pipes, old pans, steel car wheels, etc, etc, but I took the easy way and got hold of a Pro Q cold smoke generator. It’s a great little thing, stainless steel, zero moving parts, and it gives about 12 hours of consistent smoke. It uses the Pro Q smoking dusts, which which are available in a variety of woods. Cherry and Oak are my favourites, so I tend to use a mix of these 2 woods together.

My smoker is made from a piece of 9mm ply I wombled from a big pallet courier company, along with a heap of pallets a while back, it’s just a box about 18 ins square by about 4ft high with an old floor tile in the bottom for the smoke generator to sit on, and a couple of rails at the top to hang whatever you’re smoking from.

I smoke the bacon, for about 12 hrs and then leave it for 12 to 24 hours still in the smoker before slicing it by hand, eating, it, or distributing it among my friends and colleagues, in exchange for a bottle of beer or two.


If you do something amazing and slightly different from the norm in your shed then let me know.

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Kraken Kreations – I don’t have a shed I have an extra limb

This is a guest post from one of my sheddies Cath Janes – I have know Cath for a long time (even before sheds took over my life) – so I’m very happy that a shed is making her life better.

I don’t have a shed. I have an extra limb. That’s because my once rat-infested, patio-side, 4 x 3 metre girl cave has become the epicentre of my daily life. Without it I swear I would limp.

The Sewing Shed, as I now call it, is the HQ for Kraken Kreations, my career of sewing home décor and accessories to sell online. Yet it’s more than just a location for my work. It’s become a hub of creativity.

I sew in it every day (my daily commute is approximately 3.5 seconds long in my slippers), stitching shoutily-coloured bags and cushions and embroidering complex anatomical images or feminist slogans. Floor to ceiling shelves house my colour-organised fabrics, patterns, books, and equipment and my cutting table sits in the centre like a tropical island in a sea of colour. I spend seven hours a day in this shed and joyously so. Opening the glass doors in the morning and stepping into its chilly shade (it sits in underneath a sycamore tree) triggers such a sense of promise and achievement that the shed itself has become addictive.

My favourite part of this place, though, is the wall that I’ve decorated with all of the images that have inspired me over the years. I have maps of Paris, Nepalese tin icons of Hindu gods, Moorish images from Spain, scenes from the galleries I’ve visited in Los Angeles, Madrid, San Francisco, London and Paris, prints of work by Van Gough, Yoshimoto Nara and Dali, greetings cards from the 60s and 70s, a poster from the V&A’s Alexander McQueen exhibition, drawings from my daughter, family photos, quotes from Neil Gaiman, Caitlin Moran and Elizabeth Edwards and even an order of service from a friend’s funeral.

That’s why it’s impossible to not be creative in my sewing shed and it does more than provide me with a business. It actually helps keep me alive. Five years ago I had a breakdown caused by PND and PTSD. I’m now largely recovered but when I have bad days, days when I think there’s no point in carrying on or that I’m too worthless for words, I just head for my shed. Stepping inside reminds me that I should carry on, that I’m not worthless, that I can create and achieve and find self-worth in doing so.

So when I say that my shed is a limb, what I’m really being is modest. It’s even more than that. It’s an extension of not just my body but of my mind too. I am my shed.

You can follow Cath on twitter here – she loves a good swear mind!

A quick Q & A with #shedoftheyear 2014 winner Joel the Allotment Roof Shed owner

You all saw Joel win Shed of the year 2014 with his excellent Allotment roofed Shed on Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces – now hear from the man himself.

1) So it’s been 6 months since you won Shed of the year 2014, how’s it been

What a 6 months it’s been thanks to you and the amazing spaces team.

I’ve had so many messages from people through my website and on twitter, all positive about the award and the tv series, it’s actually quite hard to reply to them all.

The messages come from all over the world as well, which was surprising.

As well as being in pretty much most of the UK press and on lots of local TV, there’s been a Chinese lifestyle magazine an Australian DIY magazine, bloggers and self builders from America to Japan.

I’ve also had so many requests to build something similar for other people.

2) What’s changed in your shed world since the win

Because of all the requests to build something similar for other people, I’ve basically been doing a lot of this.

I’ve had to take on a couple of carpenters to help me, so in many respects I now have an up and running business and the requests aren’t slowing down, so I have to decide how far I want to take it.

3) What is the best thing in your opinion about your allotment roofed shed

The allotment roof, is probably what makes it different and a little bit special, it’s so nice to sit up there all the year round, it’s like a little countryside in the city of London.

But I’ve always said the best thing ultimately is what the shed does for my life.

I could never have afforded a music studio and art studio in London, so it is the shed which has given me the opportunity to do these things, I’m sure this will resonate with lots of sheddies and as I said in a rather corny fashion on the show.

‘The shed defines my life really!’

4) What future plans do you have for your winning shed

I’ve already had a shed party after the show. I’m going to have a few open days, so people I don’t know can come and visit.

The shed will just function as always and I will always spend most of my time in it. I’ll being working on a new painting collection and a new album next year.

I’m also going to write a little book for people explaining the build because I can’t reply to all the requests.

5) What three bits of advice would you give to a potential sheddie looking to build their own

Most of the time, planning and preparation will be a great help.

Write down what you are hoping to use it for and simple things like what am I going to put in it and how will I get it in, can save you a lot of grief later.

Then when it comes to building, you have to think about structure, you don’t want it to be dangerous.

After that, you can let you imagination go, it doesn’t have to be an extension of your house, it can be what ever you want it to be.

And you can always contact me, I’m happy to give advice if I can, I am proud to be a part of the sheddy community.

6) As a judge* for 2015 what sort of thing will you be looking for in the entrants?

I’m trying not to have any pre conceived ideas about what is good and bad, but I want to get a sense of the person in the shed, I want the personality to show through.

I suppose I will always have a soft spot for the self build, but that doesn’t mean an adapted pre-fab can’t be a special shed.

It’s all about celebrating sheds and the eccentricities of the British public, this is what will make a certain shed shine through.

*last years winner automatically gets to be a judge for the next year.

My Sheddie : Shed of the year winner 2012 John Henry Plumridge


I could not do a new mysheddie without asking this years Shed of the year winner John!

Sheddies name

John Henry Plumridge

Shed name

Woodhenge

Woodhenge  - John[ Henry] Plumridge

Selfbuild or off the shelf shed?

“Woodhenge-Pub Shed-selfbuild
Summerhouse-Off the shelf
Diy shed-Off the shelf
Potting shed-off the shelf
Junk shed-Off the shelf”

Why have you got a shed? uses etc

Pub shed is a great party venue, others are great for all the other things you need a shed for, sunbeds/loungers, cushions for garden benches & chairs,party tents,canopies,lighting,lanterns and all the things you put away in the winter.

Diy shed,tools vices fixtures & fittings hammer & nails,screws nuts &bolts,electrics,plumbing,paints,stains,dye’s,preservers etc!(cuprinol of course) potting shed for gardening tools,lawnmower,hedgetrimmer,pots,string,wire,gloves,pruners etc!

Junk shed is for anything not mentioned above.

How would you describe your shed?

WOW !!!!

Who are your Shed inspirations

All the sheddies on readersheds, There are lots of great sheds,something for everyone,sizes,shapes,colours you name it its there somewhere, and I hope my shed is now part of the ever increasing family,and that its also an inspiration for others to follow.

Future Shed plans

Still got plans to add to it – things around the outside have been planned for a long time, ponds, planters, bird boxes, dovecott, gables over doorways etc.It’ll probably be another 4 years til i get that done and then there’ll be something else, but i love it.

How did you find out about our community

Couple of years ago was an article in the local paper, I was thinking of entering last year but i just was n’t ready but boy am i glad i did, the whole thing has been a whirlwind.


What word or words would you use to sum up Sheds

Peace & quiet

 

If you would like to feature in My Sheddie then please fill in this Q & A

 

My sheddie : Steve Knight Colne Valley Postal Museum

This shed has been getting a lot of attention in the media recently – so I thought I would ask sheddie Steve about it.

Why not vote for him for Shed of the year 2012.

Sheddies name

Steve Knight

Shed name

Colne Valley Postal Museum

 

Selfbuild or off the shelf shed?

Off the shelf from East Anglian Sheds in Marks Tey, but then modified for our requirements. Fully insulated and lined internally, wired for 240V and Cat 5.

Why have you got a shed? uses etc

This shed houses all the many small objects, documents and delicate objects that have been added to the Colne Valley Postal History Museum over the years by the Curator, but more importantly, by visitors and the Great British Public. They have been very generous to us and entrusted many heirlooms, mementos and family records to our care. The shed provides adequate protection for this valuable archive of material showing how country and rural communities relied on the Post Office.

How would you describe your shed?

It is a microcosm of 150 years of Post Office service to the Community.

Who are your Shed inspirations

Arthur Reeder at the Isle of Wight Postal Museum has a gorgeous shed 40ft by 15ft.!

Future Shed plans

A new bigger shed (8m x 3m), Shed the Second,  will be constructed alongside the existing one to house some of the Sorting Office and Telephone Exchange equipment that is too large to fit in Shed The First.

How did you find out about our community

Uncle Wilco spotted my shed in cyberspace!


What word or words would you use to sum up Sheds

Vital, quiet, musty, cool


 

If you would like to feature in My Sheddie then please fill in this Q & A

 

My Sheddie: Lynne Garner The Hedgehog Shed

Last year we had the wonderful charity Mary’s Meals added to readersheds and they made it to the final – this year a charity shed who deals with those little creatures you may find under your shed – Hedgehogs have added their shed

Sheddies name

Lynne Garner

Shed name

The Hedgehog Shed

Back Garden, Hertfordshire

Selfbuild or off the shelf shed?

Our simple 6′ x 8′ shed is off the shelf.

Why have you got a shed? uses etc

The Hedgehog Shed is HQ to a small group of volunteers who run Herts Hogline, which is an award winning hedgehog rescue service based in Hertfordshire. We have a blog called ‘The Hedgehog Shed‘  so supporters can keep up-to-date with our hoggie news.

It can house 12 hedgehogs comfortably in purpose built hutches (made from reclaimed timber). The interior is fully lined so it can be heated during the winter months. This allows us to over winter hedgehogs that are too small to hibernate. They are then released when spring arrives. We also have a fan for the summer to ensure the shed does not become too hot whilst the spring/summer orphans are hand reared.

Two of the hutches have heat pads so we can care for hoglets who are orphaned and for very sick or badly injured hedgehogs

How would you describe your shed?

A vital link in the chain. Without it Herts Hogline would not be able to care for the 60+ hedgehogs that pass through it’s doors on average per year.

Could also be described as small, compact and sometimes very smelly!

Who are your Shed inspirations

St Tiggy Winkles and all those other wildlife care centres dotted around the UK

Future Shed plans

The exterior needs to be repainted – it was done a number of years ago and is looking very tired. Would also love to put down lino to make cleaning the floor easier. The door also lets in a huge draft during the winter, so fixing that some how would be great.

How did you find out about our community

Heard about it on the BBC breakfast news.


What word or words would you use to sum up Sheds

Sensational, Super and Splendid


BTW did you know it was National HEDGEHOG AWARENESS WEEK? – they have weeks for all sorts now 😉

If you would like to feature in My Sheddie then please fill in this Q & A

If you think you have a shed that can compete with this in the Shed of the year competition then why not share it over at www.readersheds.co.uk and you could be in the running for the £1000 prize from Cuprinol and your shed could have the title of Shed of the year 2012 🙂

My sheddie : Syd & The Stencil Shed

I love you sheddies 🙂 If you have a great shed and are going to the trouble of creating a website just to drum up votes for your shed – then Iam happy to feature you in the My Sheddie feature – one such sheddie is a new comer to readersheds – Syd and his Stencil Shed.

Sheddies name

Syd

Shed name

If Banksy was Skint, The Stencil Shed.

If Banksy was Skint, The Stencil Shed.  - Syd
Syd
Malmesbury, Wiltshire
 

Selfbuild or off the shelf shed?

My Shed has lots of history and has lived a charmed life. The ‘old side’ was originally owned by my father in law, hidden away behind his house and mainly used for his building tool storage and a breeding ground for mice and spiders. My wife can remember being scared to enter this sheddy secret domain as a nipper and remains petrified of spiders to this day. A few years back my father in law tried in vain to sell the shed in the local newspaper for a £100 so I seized the opportunity, dropped a few hints that my shed at the back of the garden was rotted into oblivion and hey presto his shed was now mine.

The little shed sat perfectly happy at the end of the garden for a year or so but remained untapped potential until a ‘local businessman and pig farmer’ who we call Pig Bill offered us a wedding present of days labour on anything we wanted. After a few ciders with Pig Bill whilst rubbing chins and pondering we hatched a plan to double the size of the shed by jacking up the roof, building a new floor (with reclaimed skip materials), adding a couple of nice outward opening doors and a small decked area.

So its an off the shelf shed thats been doubled in size and pimped right up into something totally unique to fit the available space.

Why have you got a shed? uses etc

What started as storage has turned into a workshop, man space, chill out zone and occasional party area.

Its main use is as the head quarters for my hobby come, wage top up of spraypainting stuff. You can see its littered with sculptures and artworks from my days as a street artist (now retired to the Shed) about four years ago. With wifi and power now installed there is nothing I like more than spending an afternoon dreaming up new stencils and p*** takes that I can then turn into something tangible. I’ve sold artworks all over the world, some commercial and some pretty whacky. But its all facilitated by the environment… The installation of ‘Little Ned’ the woodburner has meant I can now use the stencil shed in all seasons, nothing quite like a home fired brew while pondering art and life in the shed.

How would you describe your shed?

Well, its packed with quirkyness… a mixture of spontaneity and functionality. For example, its got a tree growing through the roof. On the day of the build we just couldnt bare to chainsaw it out so we made a hole in the roof for the tree that we then made weather tight.

To me the Shed, is perfectly logical in its evolution but I guess to others looking in, its probably a bit weird.

Who are your Shed inspirations

You always try to not be like your Dad, but unfortunately genetics and learned experiences count. My dad purchased an old chicken shed that he then built in the garden of our first house about 30 years ago. He used this for his fledgling ceramic sculpture business after quitting his teaching job. I have lots of memories of going to see dad hard at work in his ‘studio’ on a summers day. As I grew older I sort of turned into his mini assistant adding textures and finishing touches to his many animal models and silly characters. Hes sold out now, still doing the ceramics but from his cellar, hes in his 70’s so maybe the cold frosty mornings finally got to him.

Future Shed plans

I have to be honest and say I think its at its max for features. But… functionality wise it could get some wendy house or den features. My wife is expecting her first child on the 31st July and based on experience of our friends kids visiting they all seem to end up playing in the shed!

How did you find out about our community

My mum saw an article on the web, and forwarded me the link urging me to enter. So I thought to myself why not?


What word or words would you use to sum up Sheds

Personal sanctuaries for creativity and relaxation.


If you would like to feature in My Sheddie then please fill in this Q & A

If you think you have a shed that can compete with this in the Shed of the year competition then why not share it over at www.readersheds.co.uk and you could be in the running for the £1000 prize from Cuprinol and your shed could have the title of Shed of the year 2012 🙂

My Sheddie : Anne Buckley – The Love Shack

Sheddies name

Anne Buckley

Shed name

The Love Shack

Anne Buckley
garden

 

Selfbuild or off the shelf shed?

It was built by a builder friend called Lee, who designed it to replace a pre historic shed, which must have been 30 years old. My husband helped Lee to dismantle the old shed and a piece of wood with two nails in it, hit my husband on the head and the nails stuck into his scalp. He has never been the same since! He is very accident prone! Also there is a shed part on the side for all the gardening stuff and we used our old stable door.

Why have you got a shed? uses etc

“It was to replace the old shed. I also wanted a place to paint in.
Infact I do most things in there. Write, think, design, drink, create, listen to music, have dinner parties (just for 6). I have also utilized a lot of old furniture, painted it up and made cushions in red and white gingham to give it a cosy, country look. This is a favourite place to have sundowners.”

How would you describe your shed?

A nest in the midst of the garden enabling me to hear all the birds and be part of nature. Giving me inspiration to paint. It is a haven to get away from every day problems. I love the smell of a shed, I used to play house in my Nana’s when I was a little girl. It is very nostalgic. My shed is cosy and cute.

 

Who are your Shed inspirations

“Just pictures I had seen in magazines, my brother has one now. I think it is the modern trend, also practical for all sorts of uses.
I think my shed has inspired others.”

Future Shed plans

I would love to add on in the same style as the shed, an outside loo and shower room, plus a log holder, carrying on down the side of the house.

How did you find out about our community

Through the Telegraph newspaper.


What word or words would you use to sum up Sheds

A glorious retreat for everyone.

 

 


If you would like to feature in My Sheddie then please fill in this Q & A

If you think you have a shed that can compete with this in the Shed of the year competition then why not share it over at www.readersheds.co.uk and you could be in the running for the £1000 prize from Cuprinol and your shed could have the title of Shed of the year 2012 🙂

My Sheddie: Jess Contomichalos and Ant’s Pad

Sheddies name

Jess Contomichalos – Twitter : thatsyummymummy

Shed name

Ant’s Pad

Ant's Pad - jessica contomichalos

Selfbuild or off the shelf shed?

This was an off the shelf at Focus shed – bought it about 5 years ago – it was a bit of a sad thing at the end of the garden….

Why have you got a shed? uses etc

“Originally bought to create a little summerhouse type space for my two older boys when they were 10 and 7…it never really worked properly although Pavlos my eldest did have an 8 boy sleepover in it!! Which was a real achievement and I still don’t know how they all fit in! Then, it ran to ruin until my new little boy Antonis spotted it and asked me if we could make it his house – so we cleared it out, repainted it (with cuprinol would you believe) and we installed an Ikea kitchen and some rhinoflor and made it into a bit of a beach hut/diner!

How would you describe your shed?

The shed is a bit of Brighton beach hut with a 50’s diner floor….it is a lovingly restored little area for Antonis – we bought him and Ikea kitchen and table and chairs and put up some Ikea curtains using doweling for a curtain pole and cup hooks as brackets – everything about it makes me smile – especially the words ANT’S PAD on the wall – I do really love it…….because it belongs to dear little Ant.

 

Who are your Shed inspirations

Some of you may or may not know about a man called Gray Joliffe – he was responsible for the very funny Wicked Willy cartoon and Jolly Giraffe…..I was great friends with his daughter and at his gorgeous retreat near Henley he has built a number of fabulous sheds with different themes – one is a Buddhist prayer room, another is his office, one is a gazebo and then there is another fabulous one that has the doors from the set Sleepy Hollow attached to it with tibetan flags hanging around it – I was awe-struck by this collection of mini houses and always wanted to create my own!

Future Shed plans

Next year the ‘pad’ will need a real update as Ant is getting too big for a play kitchen – we intend to deck it out with a sofa, shelves, mini fridge and a laptop – I guess it will be more of a pad in some respects – somewhere Ant can go and ‘hang out’ with his friends!

How did you find out about our community

www.lovehome.co.uk


What word or words would you use to sum up Sheds

unique – great british tradition

Ant’s Pad was used recently on the Laura Ashley blog

 

 

 


If you would like to feature in My Sheddie then please fill in this Q & A

 

If you think you have a shed that can compete with this in the Shed of the year competition then why not share it over at www.readersheds.co.uk and you could be in the running for the £1000 prize from Cuprinol and your shed could have the title of Shed of the year 2012 🙂

My sheddie : Tracy McAlister Mackay

Sheddies name

Tracy

Shed name

The shed with the chandelier

Selfbuild or off the shelf shed?

We had a local shed builder built it.

Why have you got a shed? uses etc

I am an artist so its my studio. I was taking over the house with my projects… so it was definately necessary. The shed has since been used for projecting movies, recording music, band practice, sleepovers… a place where friends have sat and had a chance to think and dream.

How would you describe your shed?

It started out as my studio but it has expanded into a virtual focus for conversations on creativity, so that people might be encouraged to go and create there own “shed”and if not start in the corner of their kitchen, bedroom and make room in their life to create what they need to be making and doing.

Who are your Shed inspirations

My Grandad and my Dad’s sheds

Future Shed plans

More shelves, it is a shed after all :

How did you find out about our community

On the web.


What word or words would you use to sum up Sheds

they can be anything you dream off.

You can also join Tracy in her shed over at http://www.shedlightconversations.com/

 

 

 

 

 


If you would like to feature in My Sheddie then please fill in this Q & A

 

If you think you have a shed that can compete with this in the Shed of the year competition then why not share it over at www.readersheds.co.uk and you could be in the running for the £1000 prize from Cuprinol and your shed could have the title of Shed of the year 2012 🙂

My sheddie : Kate Gabriel

Sheddies name

Kate Gabriel

Shed name

Kate’s Shed


Selfbuild or off the shelf shed?

off the shelf then customised

Why have you got a shed? uses etc

Potting plants, planning garden, listening to radio, drinking tea or wine, eating cake, dreaming of giving up full time work and pottering all day…

How would you describe your shed?

sunny, pretty haven for active pottering and potting, full of useful, beautiful and re-used and salvaged items. The coat hook on the back of the door is an unwanted gold plated bathroom hook. The Lloyd Loom cupboard was rescued from a skip.

Who are your Shed inspirations

the potting shed at Harlow Carr in Harrogate inspired the blue-washed painted interior.

Future Shed plans

“fit electrical socket in the right place (never let your husband put it where he thinks it will be useful!)

Add some more lovely old garden tools”

How did you find out about our community

by searching for lovely sheds on Google images


What word or words would you use to sum up Sheds

shedliness in next to godliness

 

 

 

 

 


If you would like to feature in My Sheddie then please fill in this Q & A

 

If you think you have a shed that can compete with Geoff’s in the Shed of the year competition then why not share it over at www.readersheds.co.uk and you could be in the running for the £1000 prize from Cuprinol and your shed could have the title of Shed of the year 2012 🙂