Sunday, December 6, 2015

Chuckwagon's Belly Achin' Bacon

Genuine honey-cured bacon which is simply not available in your grocery store.

1 entire squared pork belly (fresh)
1 lb un-iodized salt
1½ pints of honey
2 oz (8 level tsp) Instacure #1

You’ll have to make this bacon yourself if you’d like to have authentic, honey-cured bacon. Believe me, it is the very best, and once you’ve tried it, you’ll put an end to purchasing supermarket bacon. If you live in a city, you’ll probably have to order fresh (not cured) sides from your local supermarket butcher.

Cut the (fresh) side into convenient, squared slabs that will fit inside your smoker on bacon hangers. Use a tape measure to eliminate guesswork. Keep the belly slabs COLD while you work on them. Next, mix the cure ingredients together and rub the cure well into the fat and the flesh on both sides. Remember to use only granulated, un-iodized (kosher) salt whenever curing meat. Use heavy plastic-lined freezer paper to wrap the slab or place it into a heavy plastic food bag. Place the bacon into a cooler or a separate refrigerator at 38° F (3°C) for six days. Remove the bacon, wash it very well with warm water, pat it dry, then hang it up to dry at least 45 minutes. The bacon must be dry to the touch before it will take on any smoke.

Preheat your smokehouse to 140° F (60° C) and smoke the slab using dampened hickory sawdust until the internal meat temperature reaches 130° F (54° C). This will take hours, so be patient. Reduce the smokehouse temperature to 120° F (49° C) and continue smoking the bacon until a desired golden color is obtained. If you choose to remove the rind, wait until the bacon has cooked and is just out of the oven. Use a knife with a longer blade, placing it beneath the subcutaneous fat above the lean meat. You’ll find the task much easier while the fat remains hot. Finally, hang the slab inside a cooler at 38° F (3°C) for eight hours before slicing it thick as your hat! This is the best bacon you have probably tasted anywhere in your entire lifetime! Be careful that your tongue doesn’t slap the daylights out of your lips!

It’s so simple to prepare, you may cook it for breakfast every single day, if you don’t mind having more cholesterol than a heart surgeon’s medical manual! Our outfit cooks this stuff a couple of times per week, and always on Sunday mornings, for a special treat with poached eggs. A black iron skillet is ideal for frying bacon although bacon may burn in the blink of an eye inside any utensil. If you prefer crispy bacon, use medium heat, thinner slices and pour off the fat as it accumulates in the skillet. Many folks drain bacon on paper towels, reserving the rendered fat for highly prized cooking oil full of flavor. Check with your cardiologist, then pour it through a fine sieve into a glass container. Cover and store it inside a refrigerator or freezer for future use. Older bacon will cook and burn almost twice as quickly as fresh bacon. For perfectly crisp, evenly-cooked bacon with no hassle, do what professional chefs do… bake it! Preheat the oven to 400˚F, lay out slices in a pre-heated black skillet or lipped baking sheet, and bake it until its fat begins to render in five or six minutes. Bacon strips are cooked more consistently in an oven and when part of the bacon is done, all of it is done--without raw or burnt spots.


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