Monday, April 25, 2011

Home Cured Bacon

Home Cured Bacon by CaptainShen
I accidentally deleted my post on home-curing bacon without a smoker. Sad day! Any questions?

edit: Alright, since DeusInvictus so quickly (and desperately!) replied, I'll give a synopsis of The Baconing. And first, to answer the question of description: Meaty, spiced, peppery, smoky, and mildly sweet. It will indeed make you sway. It didn't uniformly crisp up like I like, but that can be easily solved by getting it cut more thinly.* Unfortunately, since I cannot recover that post, it won't be exact-- but I can remember the gist of it. 

Essentially, home 'curing**' bacon is simply marinating pork-belly in salt and spices until it is 'cured,' in the same way that one (if one were smart and wonderful) would make salted salmon for Lomilomi Salmon (salt, wait, wash). If you didn't understand the things that I just mentioned, just move on. There is still hope for you. 

My dad is a genius of smoking. Not that my father has a cigarette between every finger or a special cigar-smoking device-- not that at all. Silly-wicket. My father built a magnificent smoker out of a propane tank long long ago, welding huge sheets of steel into a magical sculpture that transforms raw meat into charred treasure. My favorite times, as a child, involved being treated to 'the heel' of the brisket, in its black crusty goodness, with a tender line of pink meat just underneath. He'd fire it up only when he'd stocked up on an entire petting-zoo worth of meat and could fill it (and the oven on the end) to the brim. I have fond memories of a clean bathtub full of raw briskets thawing in the front bathroom (how very strange). It fed us, and many other family and friends, for months. 

However, a smoker I have not. It would be efficient for me, at least right now. A few years ago, I shared my knowledge of liquid smoke making with my dad and he bestowed unto me a bottle of home-made liquid smoke. OK, we're back to bacon. Seriously, I took the scenic route to get here. Simply purchase pork belly from your meat market and place it flat in a ziploc bag with a 1/2 cup (ish) of liquid smoke, some small cinnamon sticks, whole black peppercorns, salish alderwood smoked salt, fennel seeds, and SO importantly: ground Fenugreek. Fenugreek is an intoxicating, mellow spice, reminiscent of maple syrup. Lay this bag of goodies (after mixing well) flat on a shelf in the fridge and flip it every day for seven days. When you're done, take the pork belly (we can start calling it bacon now!) bacons out of the bag, wash them under cool water to get all the excess salt off, and dry them like mad. Dry them really, really well. Crack black pepper over them and let them sit in your fridge, uncovered, on a paper towel, for another day. 

Now, there you have it. Place sheets of wax paper between them and put them in a baggy to use or freeze! Congratulations, bacon-maker. You win breakfast. 

Happy eating!

*I'm going to try this next time using unsliced pork-belly. This time I used slices, as seen in the picture below. 
**I don't claim to use the word 'curing' in any sort of scientific way. I don't know what that actually entails, alright? Back off! 


Deus Invictus said...

yes I have a question, any chance of you reposting it? Or giving the instructions again? Or torturing me with description of how it turned out?

Deus Invictus said...

umm....I wasn't......desperate....... :-|

Shaleah said...

Well, maybe you should've been ;)

Deus Invictus said...

You know I'm not quite sure if I'm being insulted here or not. Since this conversation isn't in real time in 6 hours when I think of a good response you will feel my complete lack of wrath, or I'll just be enjoying some as of yet non-home made bacon.....mmmmm bacon :-P

Shaleah said...

Never fear... I don't believe in insults over bacon!