I’m not going to wax poetic about bacon. That’s been done by better poets than I.
I will even ignore the idea of bacon as the gateway meat for ex-vegetarians, even though there’s a possible evolutionary reason.
The simple fact of the matter is that bacon is delicious and at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters. Just ask these guys.
The toughest part of curing bacon at home is finding pink curing salt #1. Pink curing salt #1, formerly known as Prague Powder #1, is table salt mixed with a bit of sodium nitrite to help inhibit bacterial growth. Coincidentally, the Spice House carries pink curing salt #1. This should not be confused with pink curing salt #2, which also has the addition of sodium nitrate and is used for long cures. (Think dried sausages like Spanish chorizo.) Pink curing salt #1 is for shorter curing times for foods meant to be eaten relatively quickly. Both are colored pink to avoid confusion with table salt, and should not be confused with pink Himalayan salt.
The recipe below is for what’s known as green bacon. After roasting, it is ready to eat. Just cook it normally. It can also be hung to dry or smoked after roasting, both of which will help preserve it longer. Or, cut it into one pound pieces, wrap well in plastic, put it into a freezer storage bag and freeze.
- 5# pork belly
- ½ c. dark brown sugar
- 3 tblsp. medium cracked (10/16) peppercorns
- 2 tblsp. smoked sweet paprika
- 4 bay leaves crumbled
- 2 tsp. curing salt
- ¼ c. Kosher salt
Mix dry ingredients well. Rub thoroughly into pork belly. Put the pork into a resealable two gallon plastic bag along with any leftover rub. Lay flat the refrigerator and turn over daily. Liquid will begin to accumulate in the bag as it gets drawn out of the meat. When the meat feels firm remove from the refrigerator. (7 days for thinner pieces, 10 days for thicker.) Rinse and pat dry.
Roast at 200° until the internal temperature reaches 150°, about 90 minutes.
Let cool and wrap in plastic. It will keep in the refrigerator for about a week, or in the freezer for about two months.