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.