08 September, 2014

Collaborative Bacon, Part 1

Photo by Foodette
Last week I got a message from Jess Watsky (aka the famous Foodette.) Seems she had a big ol' pile of pig meat which included a belly, and she was wondering if I could find some time to show her how to turn that belly into bacon.

But of course!

I had recently been enchanted by her recent foray into offal, a slow-roasted pig's head - the creation of which she detailed on her blog, Foodette Reviews.

Another photo stolen from Foodette
And that is how it came to be that on a fine Sunday afternoon, Jess, Lynnafred, Maryanne, and I gathered around my kitchen table with a propane torch, singeing the bristles off a wonderful Berkshire pork belly.

I prepped a bowl of basic bacon cure - 2 parts kosher salt, 1 part demerara sugar, 1 generous tablespoon of curing salt - in a bowl. We added seasonings: sweet Hungarian paprika, freshly cracked black pepper, mustard seed, juniper berries and home-grown bay leaves crushed in a mortar.

And then Jess and I donned food-service gloves and gently rubbed the salt mixture into the pork before vacuum sealing it into a plastic time capsule not to be opened until Saturday.

Photo by Dave. For a change.
The salt had already started working its magic by Sunday night. Every now and then I'd take the package out and massage it a little. As the salt draws moisture from the meat, a brine forms in the bag. Although it had only been a few hours, a noticeable brine was already pooling up the the spaces by the meat.

Join us later in the week as we continue the adventure.

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