I took a couple of months to read the first half of this book, with so many distractions; I read the whole second half today, between household chores. At one point, it got so tense and scary I had to lay it down and do something else. My goodness, James Patterson has a wicked mind! This is one of his older Alex Cross novels, but I'd say one of the better ones.
As pictured and chronicled in a previous entry, we home-butchered our two fine hogs recently. We made cutlets of two of the hams, since Cliff wasn't sure how easy it would be to cure and smoke hams at home, and if we ruined them, we didn't want all four of them wasted. The hams and bacon lay in the cure solution for two weeks. Saturday, Cliff decided to do the smoking in a big, home-made smoker he'd borrowed.
We had some hickory chips soaked in water to use, but Cliff didn't think that was enough. Since there's a hickory tree growing north of his shop, and there were a couple broken limbs on it, he decided to toss bits of those branches in from time to time. The smoker was going all day long, and into the evening.
The smell was divine, but the green wood made a resinous, black coating all over the hams and bacon. Nasty! I had very little hope of the meat being edible.
However, Cliff trimmed the sooty stuff off the hams, and I cooked one today. It's delicious! He scrubbed the tarry stuff off the slabs of bacon, and took them up the road to a butchery to have them slice and wrap it. I hope the bacon is as good as the ham.
I'll freeze the ham I cooked today in meal-size portions. Now that we know it's OK, Cliff will wrap the remaining one and put it in the freezer for later. Anybody for a ham sandwich?