Hey guys! Good to see you again. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Since Karen had to go and take a little vacation, I thought I’d stop by and tell you all about my recent adventure of making my own bacon. Oh yes, you heard me right. I made my own bacon. And not in that “I-opened-a-package-of-bacon-and-fried-it-up” sort of way (which is what a coworker thought I meant) but in the “I-cured-and-smoked-a-ton-of-pork-belly” sort of way.
You might be wondering what possessed me to even think about making my own bacon, right? It wasn’t even on my radar until I went to Ignite Food and the awesome Zach Garcia kicked off the night telling folks how they can make their own bacon at home. He was funny & engaging and my gaggle of friends looked at each other and agreed, we wanted to make our own bacon. So we did. Or really, I did. But hey, I share.
This also came around the time I decided to start a Whole 30. I needed to fine tune my diet & was consuming a bit too much sugar. And lookee here, the Whole 9 folks had just posted a Bacon Manifesto. Which told me I could have bacon but it should be sugar-free and come from pasture raised pigs. Now, I’m lucky enough to have an amazing butcher shop that provides high quality pork products, including bacon. And let me tell you, their bacon is delicious. But let’s be honest, I come from the camp that thinks pretty much everything tastes better when you make it yourself. And if it doesn’t taste better when you make it yourself, you at least gain an appreciation for how the product is made. Amiright?
This process isn’t overly complicated but it does require some time management. It only takes a few minutes to get
the curing process started but then you have to let it sit in the fridge for 7-10 days. Then you’ll rinse off the pork belly, let it dry overnight and then smoke it for 4-6 hours the next day. It will need to then sit overnight before it can be sliced. So please, plan accordingly.
Zach kindly shared the recipe that he uses and this is the process I used. If you have more questions about curing your own meats, I highly suggest you consult Michael Rhulman’s website and his book on charcuterie.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Here’s what you’ll need for part one of the process (the curing):
Pork Belly – about 5lbs (I went larger, using two 4lb slabs. I suggest you stick with the 5lb reccomendation)
¾ tsp Curing Salt*
¼ c Kosher salt (this will vary by brand, I use Morton’s)
Other seasonings as desired
Large resealable bag (2 gallon size) – I had some leftover brining bags that worked perfectly.
1. Mix kosher salt & curing salt in small bowl
2. Trim the edges of the pork belly. Sprinkle both sides with the salt mixture.
3. Let it sit until curing mixture is absorbed and moisture forms on the top.
4. Place in ziploc bag and put in fridge for 7-10 days, flipping every other day.
*Curing salt can be challenging to locate. You can order it from Amazon but it generally comes in 1lb bags. My local Penzy’s did not carry curing salt. I was able to find a smaller jar at my local Williams-Sonoma and obviously, it cost more.
Be sure to stop by on Thursday where we’ll oven smoke the pork belly and then feast on some delicious bacon.