Saturday, August 15, 2009

Back to the bacon

A while ago, I posted about curing my own bacon. (Not even worth linking to the post. It was that short.)

I used this recipe. The procedure was very easy. I have a great local supermarket with a fabulous butcher. I called. He got me slab pork belly. I think I've mentioned The Spice House before. It's a local shop with an amazing array of spices, dried herbs, and house made seasoning blends. I make excuses to to there. This was one such time. They had everything I needed. Woo hoo! Did you know that curing salt is pink?

I am lucky to have an old coffee grinder to use as a spice grinder. I put everything in and whirled away. The slab pork belly is a bit disconcerting. From the side, it looks just like bacon. But the skin is very.... skin like. And it was a little creepy. Anyway, I took my spice blend and rubbed it all over the belly. It went into a freezer bag, into a pan, and then into the fridge for a week's rest.

Meat side.

Skin side.

Cut to a week later. You take it out of the bag and rinse thoroughly. Then it goes back into the pan for a 24 hour rest in the fridge. This recipe calls for a slow bake instead of smoking the pork. It went into a low oven for about two hours. As soon as it hits the right temperature, out it comes. The skin needs to be removed very promptly or it is hard to cut off. I saved the pieces for future soup/stew flavoring.

This is what it looked like when it was done. It looks like bacon!

Side view. Again, looks like bacon!

Here it is cooked. I cut it pretty thick.

It had an interesting taste. It wasn't so bacon-like. It was more corned beefy. Which, given the spices in the cure was not unexpected. I'll certainly try this again. It was a relatively cheap experiment. The bacon was about $10 for four pounds. The spices were about $2. Next time I think I'll try adding maple or brown sugar and perhaps a bit of liquid smoke.

Give it a try yourself and let me know how it turns out.


Megan said...

Look at you - bringing home the bacon!

It does look perfect - but I laughed out loud about the "corned beefy" taste.

I admire your adventurous-ness!

Gabe's Girl said...

Wow, I am truly amazed! I want to try this, but it would sabotage my caloric intake. It might make a great gift though, right?

Joy said...

I'm so impressed that you made your own bacon! I've been far too intimidated to actually try. It's great to know the Spice House has pink salt in case I ever get the courage :)

April said...

That's awesome, if I made homemade bacon my husband would explode with joy : )