(Said like the dog in that old commercial where the dog smells bacon but can't read the bag of treats. "Bacon bacon bacon bacon...BACON!!!) (Not that this recipe is even remotely like dog treats, though I suppose your dog would L-O-V-E it if you dropped some of this on the floor...)
But! Moving on. hehe. We made our own bacon. Yes. We cured it at home, and it's seriously one of the easiest things you can do in your kitchen. Easier than washing dishes, even! As easy as making toast!
If you guys aren't getting Saveur magazine, you should be. Not only is it full of wonderful and interesting articles, but it's loaded with beautiful food and regular people, and surprisingly easy recipes. Sure, there are some that are a little more complicated, but for the most part, very easy and totally doable. And it's just good food. Nothing that makes you go "Excuse me? Who in their right mind would eat THAT?!" It's the one of the few magazine subscriptions that I make sure to always renew. But don't take my word for it, go to their site and have a look around--get recipes there, too!
Anyway, the bacon. They have an article in the current issue called "Urban Harvest--A New Yorker discovers that age-old tradition of canning suits big-city life just fine." One of the recipes that caught our eye right away was the bacon. Not only did it look great, but it was so easy. It takes seven days, but that's just time sitting in the fridge. Easy!
You start with skin-on pork belly. It did take a little tracking down to get some, but we ended finding a great source for fresh meats in our area, and if we ever need a pig to roast, we know where to go. Try calling the butchers in your area, and if they don't have it, ask them who does. I ordered five pounds, which makes two batches--but if you're making bacon, you may as well have some extra to freeze, right?
So we brought the pork belly home and set to work. "We" would be my husband, Billy, and myself. (I? If my grammar is wrong there, I don't want to know. But please let me know anyway.) We had a total OMG and eeeewww moment when he flipped it over and my 13 year old said "Are those nipples on it?!?!" LOL! That was almost too much for me to handle. But what was even worse? Billy grabbed my kitchen shears and snipped them off, because you've got to put a dry rub on these, and who wants to rub pig nipples? Not me. Or him, for that matter. *Elle faints--almost* I had to look away while he did it, lol!
The rub is easy to do, but would have been easier if I could find my coffee grinder. Damn thing--I lost it when we moved, I guess. WTF? How do you lose one small appliance, and nothing else? Obviously, it didn't have it's own box for the journey over to the new place. It was packed with other stuff, and we didn't lose anything else. At least, I don't think we did, hehe. So--the rub! It's easy, and totally customizable. I followed the recipe this time, but I'll experiment with different combos next time.
Basically, you put the rub on, stick the pork belly in a zip-top bag, and put it in the fridge for seven days, flipping every other day. (The bag, not you. Though that would be something to see, wouldn't it?) On the seventh day, you've created BACON. Can you almost hear the choir of angels? hehe. Well, first you've got to bake it for two hours at 200 degrees. Then you've made bacon. Store it in the fridge for 10 days, or freeze for 3 months. Want to eat some? Of course you do! Just slice off how much you want, and cook it however you like--fry it up in a pan, or bake it. It's all good.
You can find the recipe and some step-by-step photos here at Saveur. I just love them, I really do.
But here are some of our step-by-steps to tide you over till you make your own bacon:
After baking and slicing, and then you can fry it up in a pan. dun dun dun da da! (Please tell me I'm not the only one that gets that reference...)
Now it's ready to eat!
Oh, yeah...come to me, BLT! With garden tomatoes, I might add!
I really hope some of you guys will try this. The bacon is amazing. Not too salty, not too greasy, and way more meaty. Imagine all the things you could do with it!