Think about bacon for a minute: mouthwatering, crispy bacon simmering and crackling on the stove. Do you smell it? Can you taste it already? What if you could cure your own super flavorful, perfectly spiced bacon at home? Not only would you get mad props from virtually everyone on the Internet and in your home, you'd have access to bacon far superior to that you could get at most stores any time you wanted. Become a bacon-eer and cure your own at home!
- 2 1/2 pounds of skin-on pork belly
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of black pepper or peppercorns
- 1 tsp each of your choice of spices*
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 finely minced garlic clove
- a sharp knife
- parchment paper
- 1 gallon resealable bags
- instant-read thermometer
- baking pan
*Note: Good spices to start out with are fennel, caraway seeds, rosemary, and thyme, but feel free to be experimental once you get the hang of the process.
- Square the edges of your pork belly with a knife. Rinse it under running water, pat it dry, and set it aside.
- Measure out your dry spices and grind them together coarsely in a grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Put them into a small bowl and toss in your minced garlic.
- Rub your seasoning blend all over the pork belly. You might want to do this over a piece of parchment paper or a cookie sheet so that you can collect the extra spices.
- Transfer the pork (and excess spices) into your resealable bag.
- Refrigerate the pork for 7 full days. Flip the bag around every other day. It's normal for a bit of brine to appear inside the bag, since over the course of time, salt will draw water from the pork.
- Once a week has passed, the bacon should feel firm to the touch. At this point, you should wash off the spices, pat the bacon dry, and transfer it to a baking pan.
- Heat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it reaches the right temperature, roast your bacon until it's done. For those with an instant-read thermometer, your bacon should read at 150 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don't have one, what you're looking for is a nice, golden-brown color, and at this temperature, it should take about 90 minutes to 2 hours.
- When your bacon is done, transfer it to a cutting board and use a thin, sharp knife to cut off the skin. Once your bacon has cooled a bit, you might want to wrap it in wax paper and refrigerate it until its chilled. After that, you can either wrap it in plastic wrap and store it or slice it up and enjoy! If you don't eat it all in one go, your bacon should last 10 days refrigerated, and up to 3 months chilled.