Making Bacon

Finished bacon, ready to slice

Sliced bacon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever been at the grocery store and looked at the price of a pound of bacon? It can be upwards of $10 a pound depending on the quality. So why not make your own?
Making your own bacon isn’t something that requires a lot of specialized tools, equipment or ingredients. As long as you’ve got the time and patience, any home cook can create a delicious piece of bacon.

The recipe that I will be sharing with you all is for bacon made from Willowgrove Hill Pork Belly. Willowgrove Hill has been a generous pork supplier to Team Canada BBQ for many years providing us with delicious and omega 3 rich pork.

Maple Brown Sugar Bacon
1 – 10 lb Pork Belly Rind (skin) Removed
1/2c Kosher Salt
2 tbsp Ready Cure
1 c Brown Sugar
1/2c Maple Flakes or Maple Syrup
Pinch Garlic powder
2 tbsp Black Pepper

Ready Cure is a salt that is used in charcuterie to help preserve meat. This product contains sodium nitrate, a key ingredient in making any type of bacon. The sodium nitrate also helps to give bacon its pink colour. The most reliable source in the GTA for Ready Cure is Highland Farms.

Start by mixing all of the ingredients except the pork belly in a medium bowl until all the ingredients have been mixed thoroughly. Set aside.

The skin or rind of the belly being removed

The skin or rind of the belly being removed

 

 

 

 

 

Cut your pork belly in half across the width of the pork belly. Turn the pork belly fat side down and inspect the meat side for any excess fat or silver skin that may remain, if discovered trim off with a sharp butchers knife.  Trimming off the excess fat and silver skin will help the cure penetrate the pork belly.

A cleaned pork belly, fat side down

A cleaned pork belly, fat side down

 

 

 

 

 

Take the time to ensure the curing mixture covers all the meat

Take the time to ensure the curing mixture covers all the meat

 

 

 

 

 

Once your pork belly is clean, put each half of the pork belly into a extra large zip lock bag. Separate the curing mixture in half and rub generously over the pork belly in the bag. Seal the bags and place into the fridge for 7 days. Flip the pork belly onto the opposite side each day for 7 days. This will help ensure the curing mixture is evenly penetrating the pork belly.

On the 7th day of curing, remove the bellies from the zip lock bags and rinse under cold water for a minimum of 20-30 minutes. This removes all of the excess curing mixture and will help keep the pork belly less salty. Once rinsed, pat the pork bellies dry and prepare the method of cooking.

A good rinse of cold water for 20-30 minutes

A good rinse of cold water for 20-30 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

There are two good options for cooking a pork belly. Smoking is the most authentic method of cooking. This will give the pork belly a rich and deep smoky flavour from the wood.
Prepare the smoker to cook the pork belly at 225f for 2hrs. Cooking the pork bellies fat side up will help ensure moist bacon. The pork bellies must reach an internal temperature of 140f to be safe to consume.

If a smoker is not available, a house hold oven is a great option. Set the oven to 225f and place the pork bellies onto oven trays fat side up and cook until an internal temperature of 140f has been reached. This will take about 2 hours.

Once the pork bellies have reached the internal temperature, you are ready to enjoy your bacon.

Fully cooked bacon ready to enjoy

Fully cooked bacon ready to enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chef Sean Vodden

Chef Sean Vodden
Sean Vodden is the BBQ Chef for Team Canada BBQ, and one half of Uncle Richie's Hillbilly BBQ. Mixing BBQ with fine dinning is a true passion of Sean's.

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