As Goose the Market celebrates eight years of bacon-making bliss in Indy this fall, butcher and owner Chris Eley has been handcrafting on a massively meat scale ever since his wholesale smokehouse opened four years ago. Today, Chris’ Smoking Goose Meatery makes three varieties of bacon (and much more) for chefs and shops from San Diego to Brooklyn. But when he’s smoking for family and friends, Chris finds his inspiration close to home.

Bow hunting on family land near southern Indiana’s Hoosier National Forest, Chris takes his commitment to nose-to-tail butchery from his profession to his free time.

“Using every bit of the animal isn’t just tradition. It’s also delicious,” Chris says.

Each cut has its own characteristics that help dictate the recipe: seared steaks, fresh sausage, dry-cured whole muscles and more.

“Making bacon is a great use for the belly,” Chris says.

He begins with a basic recipe for a dry rub cure. It’s simple and balanced as is, but also a prime palette for blending in additional flavors. Make this recipe your own by adding fresh rosemary and citrus zest or cinnamon and star anise to the cure. Try trading out the maple syrup for local honey or sorghum.

For this feature, Chris sourced pasture-raised, grass-fed elk bellies. But again, the meat can vary with your bacon cravings—try venison, duck or another meat you love.

Elk Bacon Elk Bacon

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