Often I get messages in my inbox from The Hubs that say “make this!” and a link to some sort of meat product or ridiculous “man meal” Usually I laugh and hit delete, but this one sounded like something I would like too. Home cured bacon!!! I subscribe to the old adage “everything is better with bacon” so I was intrigued as to how to make the actual bacon itself better. Besides, I’ve never heard of anyone curing their own bacon at home and was interested to give it a try.
Difficulty rating: 3 This is so easy I may never buy store bought bacon again!
There were 2 semi-difficult parts to this recipe, the first being actually buying 5lbs of pork belly! This is not something you can get at your local grocery store. I did have to drive a bit out of the way, but the upside was discovering an amazing meat market here in San Diego, Siesel’s Meats. The staff was very helpful and hooked me up with exactly what I was looking for.
Once I brought the meat home, I mixed up the spice blend including my new pantry addition, pink curing salt! (thanks for the Williams Sonoma birthday gift card Giani!)
I slathered the meat in the spice blend, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and stuck it in the fridge for a week. That’s pretty much all there is to it.
I started this project last weekend, and as the “finish” day neared I started to get pretty excited! I read a lot online and, besides the link I’m working from, I haven’t come across this project anywhere (although I’m sure its been done many times). I was really hoping it would turn out great because that is A LOT of meat to waste if it doesn’t work out.
Phase two is to rinse off the spices and slow roast it in the oven at 200 degrees for 90 minutes. When the slab came out of the oven it looked AWESOME!
Last step is cut off a piece and fry it up like traditional bacon! This is where I ran into my second difficulty. Its hard to slice a piece as thin as I’m used to bacon being! It took me a couple tries (oh i fried up the thick pieces too!) but I started to get the hang of it!
Oh man, this was truly better than store bought bacon! It didn’t taste exactly the same, but still soooooo delicious. Now I have 5lbs of bacon sitting around that I’m going to have to cook for something. Looks like its going to be a pork filled week!
Big thanks to Michael Ruhlman for inspiring a fun project!