Have You Ever Made Your Own Bacon?

When we read this Salon article about making bacon, we immediately started Googling for recipes. How could we not? Imagine - your very own bacon!!

Think about it - slow Sunday breakfasts around the kitchen table with cornmeal blueberry pancakes, hot tea, and your very own maple bacon. Heaven. The Salon article made it sound so easy. After all, the writers made their bacon in a Brooklyn apartment. If they can do it, so can we, right?

We found this very informative resource on how to make bacon. Anyway, after much research, here's what we understand. Basically, to make bacon, you need to start with a pig belly. You can buy them online via Heritage Foods. Actually, you should probably start by making sure you have enough room to store the pork belly. Pigs are big animals, and according to the Salon article, the pork bellies were 2 feet long.

Next, there are two different methods of curing; dry and wet. Dry curing involves rubbing the meat with salt, saltpetre, sugar, and pepper, and storing the meat in a cool, dry place. Dry curing takes 5 to 6 days; the meat is removed from its storage container daily and the seasonings are re-rubbed into it, and any liquid that has collected in the container is poured out. There's a more detailed explanation of dry curing at this page.

Wet curing means the meat is immersed in a liquid brine for 3-4 days. Meat cured using the wet method requires less salt.

Next step is the brine or rub. Both must contain sugar and salt, but after these two main ingredients, the other added ingredients are your choice; maple, brown sugar, molasses, pepper, honey, etc.

After the meat has cured for the sufficient length of time, it needs to be removed from the brine and rinsed off. The next step is smoking the meat to lock in the flavors. You can smoke it in a smoker or on a barbecue grill over a bed of wet hickory. If neither of these is available to you, you can roast it in a 200-degree oven for a few hours instead. Once it cools, you can slice it thin and wrap it for storage in the freezer.

Let us know if you try it!

(Image: Bon Appetit)