How to Make Bacon
Making Bacon is so very, very much easier than you could possibly imagine. It takes a long time, this is true. This is not immediate gratification food, however good things are often very worth the wait. However, while you will be waiting anxiously, you won’t have to actually do that much work.
This is not a recipe, that can be gotten by reading a book or a website, but this is a breakdown of the necessary steps to show how easy it is to encourage you to do this yourself.
1. But a good quality pork belly. We purchased ours from Butcher & Larder. The pig came from Slagel Farms. This is more expensive than going to Jewel and buying pre-packaged bacon wrapped in plastic. But you’re doing this because the cost is worth the better taste payoff. Trust me!
2. Purchase pink curing Salt. We purchased ours from The Spice House. One ounce will be enough for 25 pounds of meat, so you don’t need much at all.
3. Mix your pink curing salt, sugar, and regular kosher or sea salt together. Measure this by weight. Add in flavorings. We used 1/4 cup maple syrup for 3 pounds of pork belly. Rosemary, thyme, citrus, anything could taste good.
4. Rub this seasoning/curing mix all over your pork. Put it in a very large plastic bag. Place this plastic bag in a cake pan or other item that will let it lie flat and catch any drips if you spring a leak.
5. Flip the bag over every 12 hours for 6-9 days. As the cure does its magic, it will make the meat firmer and firmer. Once it is firm, you’re ready to smoke.
6. Set up a smallish amount of coals in a tray with some hard wood chips, shavings, chunks, etc. We used apple from our very own backyard apple tree that we pruned and let season for a year. The were about 1” in diameter and 12” long. It doesn’t take much to create smoke. Light your coals, get the smoke going and set this to one side of your grill.
7. Place your meat over an area where it is not in direct heat. Stick a thermometer in it that is safe for leaving in the meat. Watch your meat and pull it when its internal temperature is 150˚F. You want to keep the temperature in your grill at 180˚F and 200˚F. This means you’ll have to peek in frequently and adjust the flue, and/or occasionally raise the lid to reduce the heat. It may even be a good idea to wait until the heat lowers to the desired range before you put your meat in.
8. Check your meat every 15-30 minutes to check for temperature fluctuations and add coals as needed.
9. If after 3 hours of smoking you don’t have the correct internal temperature, take it off the grill and put it in your oven at 200˚F until it is done.
10. Let it cool to touch. Remove the skin. Slice off a piece. Fry it gently over medium heat.
11. Eat. Shed tears of joy because it is the best bacon you’ve ever had.
So this isn’t easy. Bacon is a sometimes food and a sometimes project. But it is well worth the wait, the patience, and the time involved to get what you get.
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