A few weeks back I bought what I thought was a large pack of bacon at CostCo. Turns out it was pork belly, the basic meat used to make bacon. I tried to slice some up like bacon and fry it, but if just tasted like pork chops. Not bad, but not bacon.
I wondered how hard it would be to convert this pork belly into bacon. A quick Google turned up more than you might want to know. Two good sources of information were Jess Pyles’ How to make and cure smoky bacon also of use was Michael Symons’ Homemade Bacon recipe page.
I had all the ingredients except something called curing salt. This is a special salt used to cure meats which contains some extra chemicals (nitrates or nitrites or maybe both). I was tempted to dive right in and just use plain salt, but decided to play it safe and send off for some at Amazon (Pink Curing Salt #1 (Premium Prague Powder) 2.5 lb Bag by Wishful).
I took the dry rub part from Jess Pyles’ (Symon used honey and it seemed to hard to mix — maybe I will try that some other time).
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons pepper
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon pink curing salt (aka Prague Powder #1)
I rubbed this on and put it in a Ziploc bag in the fridge for about a week, turning it over every day. After about a week, I rinsed it off, placed it on a rack and let it dry for a day in the fridge. There are all sorts of variations on this in different recipes, but this is what I used.
After this the bacon was ready to be sliced and fried. It was good, but my family was especially enthusiastic. Already started my second batch.