Making Your Own Bacon - West Side Beef

Making Your Own Bacon

The belly of a pig. The origin of arguably one of the most beloved foods in the western world. Bacon. Not only is it simply wonderful on its own, It’s actually hard to find another type of food that doesn’t goes along with bacon.

From starchy legumes, to rich cream (sweet or savoury), to bitter dark chocolate, Bacon compliments and enhances flavours. Bacon is there for you.
There are a number of recipes out there that are in fact way simpler to make than people imagine. Additionally, these are the types of recipe that can create the most amount of pride, pleasure, and satisfaction. Making bacon is the perfect example.

Many of you will think that this is beyond your capabilities or equipment, and though yes you can invest in equipment to facilitate the making of this dream maker, the following play-by-play summary will give you the intel you need to try your luck at alchemy and turn a tough, fatty, flat slab of tissue into pure gold. Keep in mind that most of the bacon we eat today is made in a factory somewhere, but this is truly a home cooked food: a way for a small family to preserve the shelf life of the annual slaughter. Bacon is meant to be made at home, and eaten with just about everything!

Instructions

Put brine starter kit, 4 cloves of sliced garlic and 2 L of hot water in a pot and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let sit 15 minutes to steep. Add about 2 L of cold water or 2 kg of ice and place in the fridge until cold.

For Bacon

  1. Place your pork belly and cold brine in a container with a tight fitting lid. Weigh the meat down (e.g. with a plate) so that the meat is fully submerged and place in the fridge for 6 days.
  2. Rinse the belly. Hot smoke at 200F (95C) until the internal temperature reaches
  3. 175 F (80C), approximately 2-3 hours. Remove from the smoker and press between 2 trays with some weight on top overnight in the fridge.
  4. Carefully remove the skin and tightly wrap the bacon if you are not using it right away.
  5. If you don’t have access to a smoker, cooking the belly in a slow oven will work well following the same steps, it just won’t taste smoky.

Notes: You can use the same brine for brining the shoulder, chops, or anything else you like. Brining times vary depending on the size of the cut. For larger cuts, like the shoulder, I’d recommend injecting it 10-15 times if you can get a brining needle and leaving for 7 days. For chops, brining overnight is good. If you decide to brine multiple cuts, put them all in the brine at the same time and remove them as you need to. In every case, rinse the meat before cooking.

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