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!

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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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51 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. LOVE THE VIDEO!  
    I recognize those hands!!!

  2. 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. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  11. 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. 

  12. 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.

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

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

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

  16. 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!

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

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

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

  20. 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! 

  21. 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 :)

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

  23. 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. 

  24. 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!

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

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

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

  28. 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.

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

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

  31. 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!

  32. 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!

  33. 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!

    • 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.

  34. 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.

    • 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.

  35. 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.

    • 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.

  36. 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!

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

  38. 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!

  39. I’ve made this bacon a number of times since you posted back in September. It is soooo good, always a hit. We have a smoker, and so we slow smoke it with hickory/mesquite/applewood, and whatever else sounds good at the moment. Friends, neighbors, clients, they all love it. Store bought bacon? Never again!

  40. I noticed the skin of the pork is removed before cutting the bacon. What if i remove the skin before curing? Does it matter?

  41. Is the sodium nitrate necessary?

    • To ensure safety of the bacon, yes, ESPECIALLY if it will be smoked. If you prefer not to use nitrates you’ll need to find a recipe specifically written as such. Simply leaving it out of this recipe could be dangerous and I would not recommend it.

  42. After seeing this, pinning this and going to make this….my local butcher posted on facebook that they sell pork belly. Guess where I’m going this weekend! I cannot wait to try this…so very excited.

  43. You lost me at nitrates. ??

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