Bringing Home the Bacon

Matt had a hard task ahead of him:  Ten hours of labor taking the front of the tractor off,  replacing a $12 gasket, then ten hours of labor putting the gasket back on.
I thought that the best way to thank Matt for a really grungy, fiddly job would be to finally make a big pork belly from the freezer into bacon.  The belly weighed ten pounds, so I cut it into thirds for easier handling and to adhere to the recipe suggestions.
I tried a recipe from The Spruce, which has generally been a decent source of recipes for me that aren’t to fussy or involved.  I read the bacon recipe over three times and decided it seemed about right.
I rinsed the bacon and applied the pepper/salt/pink salt/sugar mixture.  Dutifully turning the bacon daily helped ensure a complete cure.  After ten days, I was ready to try some bacon.
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This is where things went a bit awry: I washed the first third of the bacon but didn’t soak it.  I smoked it on the grill, sliced off a few bits and tried it.
BLECHCH.  It was far too salty and some of the fat had a weird fishy flavor.  I spent a bit of time troubleshooting, and came to find that I had not rinsed away enough of the original cure.  So I rinsed the rest of that chunk and soon we had much more edible bacon.
The second two chunks were more thoroughly rinsed, and I am happy to report that they were delicious.  The meat is tighter and a little tougher than grocery store bacon.  The smokey flavor tastes stronger and more authentic.  The bacon is overall less “canned” seeming.  It’s less perfectly uniform.  The only downside?  I can’t achieve the thin slices that a machine will do.  Oh well.
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I would certainly make bacon again.

Published by cloverworks

A Vermont Sheep Farm and Homestead specializing Purebred, Registered Bluefaced Leicester and Border Leicester sheep, in fine yarn and pasture-raised lamb.

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