Making Homemade Bacon

“The only thing better than bacon…. is MORE bacon”  This classic quote from my Grandfather could actually be made better: “The only thing better than more bacon…. is HOMEMADE bacon!”

“I’ve never tasted bacon like this” said my husband this past weekend – i fried up a ‘rasher’ of bacon and served it with fresh eggs and english muffins…. to.die.for. The flavor of my cure was subtle, the texture of the meat was delicate and flakey: this was definitely not store bacon. Slicing it it evenly was next to impossible, but it was actually fun to have thin and thick/ crispy and meaty pieces to try. I still have 3 bellies to experiment with and i can’t wait to try some slightly different flavors, though this was as delicious as it needed to be!

Making bacon might sound like touchy feely, hippy, homesteader, foodie nonsense – but it is actually really simple. The only ‘special’ ingredient you need is Pink Salt which you can get on Amazon or from www.ButcherPacker.com (they have supplies for all your curing/sausage making needs).  An essential book for anybody wanting to learn how to smoke/cure/sausage make is: Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing (Revised and Updated). They break down the basics and leave room for experimentation. I used their basic bacon cure recipe and added a few flavors of my own: maple syrup, crushed red peppers and cracked black pepper. The resultant bacon is just SLIGHTLY spicey and has a subtle richness from the maple. I really wish you could taste it!

Making bacon is a very simple process: Brine (coat in salt/sugar mixture and let sit in the fridge in a plastic bag for about a week, flipping every other day), smoke (for a few hours in a smoker, or until it reaches 150 in a proper smokehouse), bring up to temp (150) in a low oven. Cut off the skin, cool, package, enjoy :)

Finding fresh pork belly might be tricky depending where you’re located, but you should be able to get some from your local butcher, market or farmer’s market. I purchased half a Red Wattle hog from a neighbor and had the butcher leave all the ‘spare parts’ for me to try my hand at curing. I borrowed the same neighbor’s smoker to add the smoke flavor – but think next time i’ll just use my propane grill – place the belly on the top rack to one side and put wood chips on the other side with low heat on. A few hours in smoke does it then you finish off the warming process in a low oven until the belly reaches 150 degrees (a meat thermometer is essential).

I can’t wait to post more bacon recipes soon! And to eat more bacon! Have you ever made your own bacon or sausage?

6 Comments

Filed under Chicken, Cooking, Preserved Food

6 Responses to Making Homemade Bacon

  1. I have made my own, and made some from beef belly which was kind of steak-y. I can’t get skin-on around here but am anxious to get my hands on some of that. Good job :D

    I’ve done it without the pink salt and definitely prefer without. And, since much of the nitrate-free stuff is actually made using spinach or celery juice which is chemically the same stuff, I got over myself and went back to using it. My family just wasn’t into gray hot dogs & bacon…

  2. Whoops – bad writing! I meant to say I prefer my bacon WITH pink salt. Too quick on the enter…

    PS: those felted corgis in the next post are amazing.
    Jackie @Auburn Meadow Farm recently posted…in which we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

  3. I live just down the road from you and have been busy curing and smoking bacon too. It’s a good time of year to do it before it gets too warm.

    • Thanks for the comment, April! Yes, i need to get onto the rest of the meats… i have a few more bellies and soem other odds and ends left to be seasoned and smoked. We hope to build a proper smoke house next summer – that will be so fun! Smoked rabbit and duck and lamb and… mmmmm. I’d love to pay you a farm visit and perhaps have you over as well – it helps so much to see other ‘ideas’ in action and it sound slike you’re a real inspiration.

      • Sure, we would love to have you over. We are at home most of the time. We are in the phone book and just down the road on Maple Grove. We are the large green house with the red barn. I have my spot picked out and all cleared for my smokehouse. I have a plan and I want to finish it this summer. Now I just need hubby to want to finish it this summer. ;)
        April recently posted…Pizza

  4. Debbie

    I can’t wait to do home done bacon. I recently discovered a trick for frying bacon that is simple and has wonderful results! Heat your skillet and add a little water! Your bacon comes out with a awesome texture and flavor! As the water simmers off the bacon fries but doesn’t curl or get tough nearly as much. You want you water to just barely cover the bacon in your skillet.

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