The Bacon Project part II
Got my stuff together. Now that I have all my ingredients all I have to do is put it all together. The basic cure recipe I decided on was two teaspoons of pink curing salt and a quarter cup of kosher salt for every five pounds of pork belly. Many cures call for a sugar or other sweeteners but I wanted to have some bacon with no sugar. I sprinkled one half of my pork belly with only this basic cure and to the other half I added the basic cure as well as 1/3 cup of cane syrup and a tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary. Each pork belly half gets it’s own sealed 2.5 gallon bag and is parked in the fridge for seven days.
BASIC BACON CURE
¼ Cup kosher salt
2 teaspoons pink curing salt
Mix the kosher salt and pink curing salt together and coat both sides of the pork belly. Place in a 2 or 2.5 gallon zip top bag. Let cure in the refrigerator for 7 days. Rinse, dry and place on a rack over a pan uncovered for 1 day.
CANE SYRUP ROSEMARY BACON CURE
¼ cup kosher salt
2 teaspoons pink curing salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/3 cup Steen’s cane syrup
5 pound piece of fresh pork belly
Mix the kosher salt, pink curing salt and rosemary together and coat both sides of the pork belly. Coat with cane syrup and place in a 2 or 2.5 gallon zip top bag. Let cure in the refrigerator for 7 days. Rinse, dry and place on a rack over a pan uncovered for 1 day.
Here’s where things get tricky. So I totally forgot that we were going out of town to visit my parents right in the middle of this whole project. It’s not really a problem, I just packet it up in a cooler with a few re-usable ice packs and off we went. This actually worked out really well because my Dad loves this kind of stuff, I knew he would get a kick out of helping me smoke the bacon and he certainly has all equipment.
On day seven we took the bacon out of the bags, rinsed them, dried them and put them on a rack over a pan. Back into the fridge uncovered for another day to develop the pellicle. The pellicle is a slightly sticky coating that forms around the meat during air drying, it helps to hold the smoke flavor as well as protect the meat from drying during the smoking process.
SMOKE. I chose applewood chips for smoking because I wanted a fairly mild smoke flavor. Soak the applewood chips in water for a half hour before putting them on the coals
Get your grill ready by building a pyramid of coals on the opposite side of the vents, if the coals are under the vents the smoke will escape . Place soaked and drained applewood chips into three seperate foil packets and poke holes in the top of them. Place the packet of applewood chips on top of the coals and place a foil pan of cool water next to the coals. The pan of water helps to moderate the temperature. Place the grill rack on the grill and put the bacon skin side up over the pan of water. Smoke the pork belly for two and a half hours at between 180 and 220 degrees. Your pork belly is now smoked but not cooked.
Now you have BACON!! Remove the skin of the bacon and it’s ready to slice and cook. It’s easier to slice if it is semi frozen so put it in the freezer for about a half hour. The bacon can be stored in the fridge for a week or kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.