Think Pig

Making your own bacon is easier than you think.

By Adam Erace
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 9, 2010

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Photo by JIMMY J. PACK JR.

“Making bacon at home is so much easier than you might think,” says Café Estelle’s (444 N. Fourth St. 215.925.5080. cafeestelle.com) breakfast meat maestro Marshall Green. “It just takes a little bit of time.” Aspiring bacon-makers need seven days and seven nights for the cure, and on the eighth day, four hours of smoking time. You need a smoker, but it doesn’t have to be fancy; Green uses a charbroil barrel-style one he got at Home Depot for $150. Just remember to smoke outside—the Café’s parking lot is where his mesquite magic happens—but don’t be surprised when your neighbors unexpectedly drop by for brunch.

INGREDIENTS:

3-pound slab of skin-off pork belly

2 handfuls mesquite wood chips

1 cup Kosher salt

2/3 cup raw sugar

2 tablespoon black peppercorn

1 tablespoon allspice berries

1 ounce maple syrup

PLAN:

Sunday: Grind the spices until coarse but not powdery. In a bowl, mix with salt and sugar. Place pork in a Ziplock bag; sprinkle liberally with the cure. Add syrup and seal the bag. Place on a pan in the fridge.

Tuesday: Flip bag.

Thursday: Flip bag.

Saturday: Flip bag.

Sunday: Remove the pork from the bag and rinse under cold water. Dry with a paper towel and allow to come to room temperature. Build a fire in a smoker. Place soaked mesquite chips on the coals and hot smoke at 200-250 degrees for about four hours until some fat begins to render and the belly reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees. Cool completely before slicing. Cook in a skillet.

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