I used the recipe from Charcuterie by Ruhlman and Polcyn for basic bacon. I tried three different flavours, regular, pepper and maple.
You mix up a basic curing salt (sugar, salt, and pink salt) and coat the pork belly with the mix. If you want a flavoured bacon, it's a good time to add the pepper or maple sugar. Put the meat in a ziplock bag and keep it in the fridge for about a week. Massage the juices that come out of the meat around the outside of the meat every day. And that is how you cure the bacon.
|cured bacon, read for smoking|
Next you rinse it off, and if possible dry it for a few hours uncovered in the fridge. Then pop it in the smoker.
I really wanted to use this smoker, an electric one that takes hardly any wood chips to make the smoke, but it's not working at the moment. so, I got out the old BBQ smoker.
After about 3 hours, I still couldn't get the internal temp of the bacon to what the book said. So I finished it off in the oven.
On the whole, I'm impressed with the fact that I made bacon. It' tastes, um bacony. It's over smoked and I cured it too long, so a bit salty. But it is enough of a success to try again and soon.
Price wise, it's a bit less than the normal bacon I buy from the speciality butcher, but more than commercial bacon (which I never buy). The problem is I didn't get the pork belly on sale or at the right time of year. So that's something I need to work on.
The thing I like best about this is that I know exactly what went into making it. Now, when the world comes to an end with the zombies or whatnots, I know I can survive, because I can make my own bacon.
I'm not going to write the recipe I used here because I followed almost to a T what's written in Charcuterie by Ruhlman and Polcyn . But I plan to make more, and play around with some other recipes. When I come up with one that's truly mine, then I'll be sure to share it with you.