Friday, November 28, 2008

Don't bring home the bacon - make it

This blog doesn’t have many readers – but one of them managed to ask a bacon recipe.

Easy enough.  Two thirds a cup of salt, one third sugar, small teaspoon of pink salt (sodium nitrite).  Mix it lots of spices including star anise.  If you want it to be sweet mix in extra sugar or honey or maple syrup.  I have never used maple syrup but the US recipes include it.  It just costs an absolute bomb in Australia.

I tend to go for spicy not sweet – but the I am not American.  The Americans are into sweet pork which they cook to a crispy candy cinder…

Anyway rub it all into a big slap of pork belly – skin on -  and put in a zip lock back.  Cure for a week turning the bag over regularly and making sure that the cure covers all the pork.
It will get awful wet in that bag as the cure sucks the liquid out of the pork.  Thick pork bellies take longer to cure – but I have always been a little sloppy about the seven days.

Preheat oven to 80-90 centigrade.  Some American recipes are at 200F – but just below boiling is the idea.  

Measure the temperature at 1.5 hours and then every 15 mins.  Stop about 65C.  It should smell great.

The books say remove the skin now whilst it is very warm.  

Let it cool.  Freezes well.  Keeps OK in the fridge - but a big pork belly is more bacon than you can handle in a week...

The liquid at the end of the brining process is probably carcinogenic.  

Eat some yourself before you give it to your family.  If you have botulism you want to kill yourself not your loved ones.  Even better - give it to the scraggy cat that hangs around asking for food.  Actually don't.  It will just encourage it.


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