Bacon Recipe Roundup

| 6/23/2015 12:21:00 PM

Home Cured Bacon 

Bacon is popular as ever. A perennial favorite, we like it on the side, on the burger, on our salads - really, we like on everything. Whether fried, braised, boiled, chopped, smothered or smoked, bacon is the ultimate comfort food. From basic bacon to exotically global flavors, nothing taste better than bacon.

If you really love bacon like I do, you should try your hand at curing your own. The basic process is really simple and can quickly evolve into a world of bacon flavors that you’ll rarely find at the local meat counter. Salt, sugar, occasionally some curing salt, herbs and spices, sometimes smoke and a little time, combine with pork belly (or lamb or duck) to make a preserved meat that’s both tasty and sustaining.

Fresh Pork Belly for Bacon

Here are the basics: Order a five pound fresh, uncured pork belly from a local butcher or farmers market meat seller. Get your hands on some pink curing salt at a butcher supply place like Butcher & Packer. Curing salt is cheap and will last for many bacon projects. Bacon doesn’t always need curing salt, but it does provide that “hammy” flavor that we know and love. Other main ingredients include kosher salt, brown sugar and black pepper. After that, it’s time to improvise. Pink curing salt, kosher salt, sugar and pepper are sprinkled over the fresh belly (see recipes for amounts). Put the belly and cure into a big Ziplock bag, pop it in the refrigerator and flip it daily for a week until the belly is stiff. Rinse the cure off the belly. At this point it’s technically bacon! Amazing, no? Cook it as is, or for more flavor, slowly roast it, smoke it, BBQ it or dry cure it. Each technique will yield a different flavor.

Here is a wrap up of a few of my favorite home-cured bacon recipes that will take your bacon up to eleven.

9/3/2015 5:20:37 PM

Do you have any suggestions for alternatives to pink salt (a.k.a. Sodium Nitrate)?

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