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.
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.
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.
Once a day, every day, you flip the bag over and massage the cure solution around the meat.
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.
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.
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.
Stack up the fixins and prepare to dine on some mighty fine homemade bacon.