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September Kitchen Challenge Results: Bacon

September Kitchen Challenge Results: Bacon

September Kitchen Challenge - BaconI’ll tell you, you haven’t had bacon until you’ve had homemade bacon.

The flavor is… indescribable.

There’s depth and dimension and savory notes that you can’t quite place but find yourself craving at all hours of the day.

It actually tastes like pork (hey, what a concept).

I think the fact that ours is roasted instead of smoked highlights this even more.

Homemade Bacon

The process was surprisingly easy, the hardest part was sourcing the pork belly… and finding the patience to wait until it was done (ours took about 8 days).

Homemade Bacon

But that patience was greatly rewarded with a heaping 4 pounds of precious bacon so good you’ll want to cook the entire lot at once (that’s what you call More Bacon than the Pan Can Handle).

Homemade Bacon

Cure. Rinse. Roast. Slice. Crisp. Devour.

And that’s it.

Homemade Bacon

With the last of summer’s tomatoes and some spicy arugula… talk about a killer BLT.

Homemade Bacon BLT

I made another video this time, documenting the bacon makin’ process. I’m still learning how to do this whole video thing, so I’d love to hear your feedback. :)

Be sure to click through to see the video!

The recipe below is from Michael Ruhlman, with process modifications based on the guidance of our local charcuterie expert, Vivek Surti. I encourage you to visit the original recipe, read the comments, and check out Ruhlman’s book, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing for even more helpful resources, recipes, and inspiration.

Homemade Bacon

Yield: about 4 pounds

Total Time: 7-10 days

Ingredients:

  • 5lb pork belly
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pink curing salt #1*
  • 1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 5 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme

*Pink curing salt (not to be confused with Himalayan pink salt) is a combination of salt and sodium nitrate that helps preserve the color of the bacon as well as prevent bacteria growth. Find it online at Butcher & Packer or on Amazon.

Directions:

  1. Place your pork belly on a sheet pan or large baking pan big enough to fit the belly. You can also use a 2 gallon zip-top bag.
  2. In a bowl, combine salt, curing salt, pepper, brown sugar, nutmeg, bay leaf, garlic, and thyme. Rub evenly over the entire belly, including the sides. You want all surfaces of the pork belly covered in the spice mixture. Cover with plastic wrap (or seal in the zip-top bag) and refrigerate.
  3. After 3 to 4 days, flip the belly and rub to redistribute the spice mixture.
  4. The bacon is done when it is just firm to the touch, which usually takes about 7 to 10 days. Rinse well under cool water to remove the excess seasonings. Place bacon back in the fridge, uncovered, overnight to dry.
  5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Place bacon on a clean sheet pan and roast for about 90 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F. Remove from oven and let cool.
  6. When bacon is still slightly warm, remove the skin. It should peel off pretty easily, otherwise, carefully trim off the skin with a sharp knife.
  7. Let cool completely prior to slicing thin and cooking. Leftover bacon will keep, refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Recipe from Michael Ruhlman.

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45 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    margie/mom
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 7:44 am

    LOVE THE VIDEO!  
    I recognize those hands!!!

    Reply

    • Posted On September 27, 2013 at 7:46 am

      We’ve got a bunch of this bacon in the freezer, will definitely cook some while you’re visiting. :) Dad will love it!

  2. 2
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Great post!  Wish I had remembered to join in this month, but I’m inspired to try on my own anyway. Wonderful job on the video- you make it look easy!  And I’m loving the new mobile site too. 

    Reply

  3. 3
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Wow, that is kind of incredible! It looks amazing!

    Reply

  4. 4
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I want to make this like RIGHT NOW!!! On the search for this salt I’m excited thinking about it!

    Reply

  5. 5
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 8:21 am

    I’m so in love with the bacon. Must try your recipe soon :) And the video is lovely. 

    Reply

  6. 6
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 8:31 am

    LOVE the video! It’s so much fun watching the process and man, I really wish there was smell-o-vision :)

    Reply

  7. 7
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 8:32 am

    I soooo wwanted to do this challenge but had too many curveballs :( II would say you had 100% success though!!!

    Reply

  8. 8
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 8:33 am

    I’ve always wanted to make my own bacon. Yours turned out great! I must give this a try!!

    Reply

  9. 9
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 8:40 am

    It looks perfect! I’ve had homemade bacon made by a friend once and it was fantastic. I love thicker cut bacon.

    Reply

  10. 10
    christopher sorel
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I hope you did not toss that skin out? cut it into strip and dehydrate it. Then heat up some and make pork rinds

    Reply

  11. 11
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I can only imagine how your kitchen smelled during that 90 minutes of bacon roasting!! Great video – I don’t think I’ve ever wanted bacon more than I do right now, lol. 

    Reply

  12. 12
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I love the video!! I like how you toggled for the last piece…you are so nice to share ;). Your bacon looks perfect and I can only imagine how wonderful it tasted.

    Reply

  13. 13
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I never thought of making my own bacon until seeing your video.  You make it seem so simple;  I have to try it.

    Reply

  14. 14
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 10:40 am

    I enjoy BLT and bacon, especially when it’s prepared at home :)

    Reply

  15. 15
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Holy cow (or should I say pig?)! This is incredible, Linds! 

    Reply

  16. 16
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Fabulous video, Lindsay! (Was that your voice?) Love how you scripted the video and you make everything look so simple while being thorough. Mission accomplished to get peeps into the kitchen. Can’t wait to try this with The Big Lug. Thanks ever so much for sharing, girl!

    Reply

  17. 17
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I’ve always wanted to try this!  Excellent video!!

    Reply

  18. 18
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 11:53 am

    That looks so amazing! I want some bacon now. Right now.

    Reply

  19. 19
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    This is amazing- I may need to try this soon- what a great fall/winter treat. 

    Reply

  20. 20
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Ummmm, seriously?! Who has time to make homemade bacon? You inspire me! Holy piggy! Way to go guys! Love it ALL! Great job on video too! 

    Reply

  21. 21
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    This is absolutely fascinating- I’ve flipped through Ruhlman’s book but I always felt a little intimidated by such a huge project.  You actually made it look easy, minus the patience required!  Delicious bacon well deserved :)

    Reply

  22. 22
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Great video, very well done! Thanks so much for de-mystifying the whole process. I actually might give this a go soon!

    Reply

  23. 23
    Posted On September 27, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Lovely! I tried making my own bacon before and it’s so much better than store-bought. However it’s so hard to find pink salt. 

    Reply

  24. 24
    Posted On September 28, 2013 at 5:29 am

    Oh gosh! I think I just broke my keyboard drooling all over it. Hubby bought a kettle bbq today…I think this will be the first request!

    Reply

  25. 25
    Posted On September 28, 2013 at 8:11 am

    WOW that looks good! Going to have to go on a mission to find pork belly!

    Reply

  26. 26
    Posted On September 28, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    I mean, I have to give you serious props for this!!

    Reply

  27. 27
    Posted On September 29, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Stunning. I must try this myself, this looks spectacular!

    Reply

  28. 28
    Posted On September 29, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I started making my own bacon a couple of years ago after participating in a year long event following Ruhlman’s book; the most memorable of all of the challenges for me were bacon and corned beef. The difference in the end result when you do your own curing and roasting can’t be overstated.

    I’ve tried some different cures with bacon and have decided to stop experimenting; the first one was and remains the best. Maple Bourbon Bacon. To die for. I made 20 pounds for Christmas gifts last year and I know that’s what people are hoping for again this year!

    It was a bit of a challenge to find pork belly in 2010 and although a bit easier now I’ve found that the best resource is our local Asian market; it’s always on the shelves there.

    Reply

    • Posted On September 30, 2013 at 6:02 am

      Maple Bourbon? I’m sold.

  29. 29
    Posted On September 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Holy cow… making bacon!  THAT is pretty darn impressive!

    Reply

  30. 30
    Posted On September 30, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I am positively salivating at the idea of homemade bacon.  Ugh, yum!

    Reply

  31. 31
    Posted On September 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Mmmm, nothing better!

    Reply

  32. 32
    Posted On September 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Great video!  If we didn’t already have a ton of bacon in our deep freezer (we butchered a pig in late Spring) I would have loved this challenge!   I still loved it, just don’t need anymore bacon – it kills me to type that!

    Reply

  33. 33
    Posted On September 30, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    This is on my list to make. I wish I had seen your challenge earlier – too many blogs to keep up with!! I have 10lbs of pork belly in my freezer right now ready to become bacon. We buy a pig share a few times a a year from a farm that raises their pigs sustainably. Best tasting pork ever. I think I might have to try Barb’s maple bourbon bacon!

    Reply

  34. 34
    Barbra
    Posted On October 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Is there a way to make this without the nitrate additive. For health stuff I stay away from nitrates as much as possible. This will be GLORIOUS though to make. I can imagine so many wonderful varieties! Yum!

    Reply

    • Posted On October 2, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      I think you can, but you have to really be careful because of botulism. Especially if you smoke the bacon, the nitrates are highly recommended. Check out Ruhlman’s book and blog, there’s more info about it there.

  35. 35
    Posted On October 6, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Homemade bacon sounds divine! It looks really good, however, sodium nitrate is one of the reasons I very rarely buy bacon anymore. Do you know of a different way that does not involve this? Thank you.

    Reply

    • Posted On October 7, 2013 at 8:01 am

      See above comment… the nitrates help in the prevention of bacteria and botulism, especially if smoked. I’d consult Ruhlman’s book for information on how to safely do it without them.

  36. 36
    Erika
    Posted On October 9, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I’d love to try this, but without the sodium nitrate, is it possible to omit it from the curing process? We buy bacon that’s nitrate free.

    Reply

    • Posted On October 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      See above comments… I personally wouldn’t risk it without the sodium nitrate but it seems it is possible. Refer to Ruhlman’s blog/book for more info.

  37. 37
    Julie
    Posted On October 9, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    This looks great!  The recipe’s quantity for black pepper isn’t clear but it looks like 1/4 cup in the video.  Is that correct?  Thanks!

    Reply

    • Posted On October 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      Yes, 1/4 cup is correct!

  38. 38
    Posted On October 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Wow this looks amazing, thanks for sharing this simple but delicious preparation!

    Reply

  39. 39
    Justin
    Posted On December 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Question: I’m eight days in and wondering if you could be more specific on “just firm to the touch.” I know it’s a fairly inexact measurement, but, like you, I’m positively itching to cure these magical slabs. Thanks!

    Reply

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