Homemade Bacon

Homemade bacon ranks right up there on the 9th level of ecstasy or maybe even the 11th level of enlightenment.  Almost any bacon is good but when you make it yourself you can really fine tune texture and taste.

I had a BLT sandwich tonight using bacon from the first batch I cured at home.  The slices are thick – the hickory smoke present but not strong – the meat firm but not chewy.

first blt

Nine days ago I started with some pork belly.  I bought a heavy pound at the market (1.38 pounds).  After I trimmed off the skin there was likely a pound of good meat going into the cure.

first bacon 01

The cure is a mixture of salt and spices.  It takes surprisingly little salt to cure a pound of bacon.  After slathering the cure mixture on the pork belly slices I put them into a zip lock bag and placed the bag into a deep glass dish.  The whole thing goes into the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days.

first bacon 02

Once a day, every day, you flip the bag over and massage the cure solution around the meat.

first bacon 03

After three days the pork belly looked like this.  The meat is beginning to get more solid and some fluid is being drawn out by the cure.

first bacon 04

After 9 days I took the bacon pieces out of the bag and rinsed off all the curing solution.  You must give them a real good rinse or they will be quite salty.  Then it is into the oven at 200 degrees until the bacon center temperature is at least 150 degrees.  This is likely about an hour and a half.

first bacon 05

After the bacon has cooled – I put it back in the refrigerator for a few hours – just slice it up and fry it in your favorite skillet.

first blt fixins

Stack up the fixins and prepare to dine on some mighty fine homemade bacon.

 

Geräucherter Schinkenspeck

I like to eat and am certain you do too.  I am especially fond of well prepared pork.  One of the best means of preparation I can think of is smoking the meat – aaahhh, aroma.  And among the various cuts of pork it is hard to beat a good ham or some bacon.  Everything is better with bacon – yes?  If you want a real treat, straight from heaven, try geräucherter schinkenspeck.

Schinkenspeck

Geräucherter schinkenspeck is the German term for smoked ham/bacon.  A great definition is posted on recipetips.com.  As I can’t improve on their definition; I quote, “Originating in Germany, this meat product is made from a lean cut of pork that is processed into a small slab of ham. It is dry-cured, aged and seasoned with juniper berries as well as other spices. Since Schinkenspeck is dry cured, it is ready to eat and can be served either hot or cold. In German, the term Schinken translated means ham and speck means bacon, which is a common use for this cut of meat. The shape of the cut makes it a natural size for bacon, as it can be sliced easily into long thick pieces for frying. When served cold, Schinkenspeck is prepared as thin slices of meat, similar to proscuitto, for use on dark and crusty breads with cheese or served as a meat to be made into an appetizer.”  Tell me that you can look at the picture above and not feel hungry.

Try schinkenspeck and melonballs on a stick at your next party.  It’s not my fault that all your guests will insist on staying for breakfast.

 Schinkenspeck Melonballs

National Vanilla Milkshake Day

Today is National Vanilla Milkshake Day.  I enjoy milkshakes – especially in the hot summer weather – but I am a little amused that we have a national day for vanilla milkshakes.  There is probably a national day for hamburgers and chili and fried chicken.  Congress can’t do anything serious so they use their time and our money to promulgate nitwit days.  I will enjoy a milkshake today, just add bacon and it will be super.  Remember, congress has shown us that everything is better with a little pork on the side.

Shake with bacon

Bacon

Ah, the smell of bacon frying in the morning.  Can there be anything finer?  And how about a crisp bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich for lunch – with extra bacon.  No doubt, a bacon double cheese burger for dinner or maybe even a Baconator.  That is how we eat these days.  Bacon.  Bacon and more bacon.  Endless bacon.  And it is really good.

Endless bacon

Bacon – Endless Bacon