Wednesday, January 18, 2012

(Overture and First Movement) I'm Cookin' MC's Like a Pound of....


         No, not that one...

....there we go

You know it. You love it. Even you vegetarians out there secretly want a little rich tasty pork goodness in your mouth from time to time....deny it all you want. Jesus and I still love you....not as much as bacon, of course....but what are you gonna do? It's could never compete.  Accept it now and we'll all be able to get on with our lives.

Bacon is one of those great, super-versatile things of life, ya know?  I mean you can:
re-create works of art

eat it on it's own
wrap your other, inferior, foods in it so
that people will like them more

Make boobs more noticeable.....FINALLY!
make your significant other forget
that they could do a lot better than you...for a little while

fight Muslim extremism

wrap your other, inferior children in it so
that people will like them more

But you know what I hate? I mean, fuckin' HATE? Shitty bacon. Believe it or not, such a thing exists. It's that limp, stringy, mostly fat, shrinks-the-hell-up when you cook it crap that a lot of places try to pass off as food.  It's probably racist, too.

But it's not bacon! And you should smack anyone who says otherwise. Right in the face. With a slab of REAL bacon. Bacon you can believe in. Bacon you can fall in love with. Bacon you can have a meaningful relationship with. Bacon you can take home to meet your parents and won't hit on your mom. Bacon you can marry and raise a family with.

Bacon you make yourself.

Now when I tell people “I'm gonna write a blog about making bacon”, most people say “....well whats so hard about that? You just take it out of the package and put it in a pan.”


I'm talking about making your own bacon. CURING your own bacon. From pork flesh to crispy proof there is a God....with ZERO degrees of separation between you and flavor country. You ready? Ok let's do it.

Today's Specials:  Bacon....haven't you been paying attention?
Set to the tune of Nine Inch Nails' Piggy

I'm gonna be honest, I'd never cured my own bacon before.  The process seemed easy enough...and I'd done pancetta, but bacon was new. I'd just never gotten around to it in my culinary career.  One day I picked up Michael Ruhlman & Brian Poleyn's book Charcuterie and was instantly inspired to undertake the project.

It's a great book, full of mouth watering recipes and very detailed, step-by-step instructions.  The products covered include preserved lemons, guanciale, pancetta, duck breast prosciutto, sausages of every ilk, salamis, and duck confit.  It also has a good sourcing section telling you where to get some of the specialty ingredients.

I dig the book, so the recipe we're gonna be using today is right out of it.

You're gonna need:
1 lb/450g Kosher Salt
8 oz/225g Sugar
2 oz/50g T.C.M.*

5lbs Pork Belly

*What the hell is T.C.M., right?  It's curing salt (sometimes called pink salt, Insta Cure #1, DQ Curing Salt, and a number of other brand names.  It all works) and it can be pretty easily purchased from a butcher or anyplace that jerky/sausage making supplies are sold.  There are also many sources online.

[Another quick note:  You'll notice thats a lot of damn curing rub for just 5 lbs of meat.  This is true...and it's WAY more than you're gonna need. And actually, I ended up curing about 30lbs with the above recipe. All of those ingredients are cheap and will keep for a long time....and you're gonna want more than five pounds of bacon right?  If you set it up just so, I bet you can have a new 5 lb slab ready at the same time that you're finishing off the last one.]

isn't she beautiful?
So start with your pork belly.  Where do you get pork belly?  You just order it from your food purveyor at your restaurant job, of course. don't have a restaurant job?  Well then you'll need to go to your grocier (that's French for grocer....actually it's just a typo that I thought I could turn into a visual gag - I imagine it being pronounced 'gross-ee-ay') and talk to the meat dept.  It's a fairly common item, so there shouldn't be a problem getting it in.  They can even cut it down to the right size and dimensions.

Since I ordered it wholesale, it came in 10lb slabs which we'll need to cut into the proper portions and trim a little.

This is to maximize the surface area for the curing.  You can use the trimmings for cooking (chop it up, and use it at the beginning when a recipe calls for bacon.  It's milder, so it's not a true substitute, but I think you'll be pleased with the result).

Now take your dry cure rub it all over your pork belly.  I added a little pepper, but other than that, it's exactly the recipe from Charcuterie.  

And....that's it.  Put it in a covered container (the book even suggests a sealable plastic bag) and put it in the fridge.  It's gotta cure for at least 7 days and then we'll proceed to the next step.  There's going to be a large amount of liquid released, so make the appropriate arrangements.  What's important here is that the bacon cure in it's own juices so you want it in contact with the fluid at all times.   That means that you need to flip it once a day.  If you've chosen the ziplock bag method, the same holds true.  This process is literally turning the bacon over and re-covering.

So we'll meet back here in 7 days to see how were doing....I can't wait, Braisers.  Over and out.  In the meantime.....consider this definition of irony:  Kevin Bacon is a vegetarian.

I know!!


  1. you crack me up. and if Floyd sees this, i imagine he'll have a new project coming up soon.

  2. And it costs less than a bottle of scotch

  3. I think this is something that this veggie girl will attempt. Of course I think I'm the only vegetarian I know that has an obsession with bacon.