If you read Part 1 you know I recently decided to up my game a little bit this summer by doing a Rumpelstiltskin on some pork belly and turn it into bacon. For seven days I waited, kept rotating the pork belly, and watched. Day 7 ended on Wednesday so I eagerly pulled the bacon out of the refrigerator and rinsed off the cure, which incidentally, smelled pretty awesome. So far so good. Ok so now what?
Following Ruhlman’s instructions in Twenty, the next step in the bacon making process is smoking or slow roasting. Since I have no smoker (that’s going to change) I opted for the oven method. I put the cured pork belly in a roasting pan, inserted my cooking thermometer, and cooked it in a 200°F oven until it reached 150°F. About a couple of hours. When the alarm went off I pulled it out of the oven.
While the slab of meat was still hot, I carefully removed the skin from the one side and then set the bacon on a rack to cool. Once cooled, I wrapped it up and put it in the refrigerator. How did I resist the urge to cook some up immediately? Was very tired last night and it was around 11:00pm or I just might have sliced some up! Regardless, I knew it’d be waiting for us in the morning.
Cheryl has been a bit skeptical about this experiment and how it would turn out, so as I cooked up some bacon this morning she was watching hesitantly with a “if this works I’m afraid there’s no stopping him” look. As it cooked she said “it smells like bacon” which was encouraging. It looked like bacon too. Smelled like bacon, looked like bacon, hopefully it would taste like bacon too.
A pretty successful attempt at my first cure. Was it a 10? No, I think more like a 7. Good but needs some work. Next time I make it I’ll cut back on the cure some, or use a bigger piece of pork belly. The first pieces from the end were a bit salty, too salty, but the ones sliced from further in the middle were much better. Went great with some fresh pineapple I bought yesterday.
Unfortunately Cheryl’s right. Dabbling in the cured arts has only encouraged me to delve deeper in the magic. But of course, in the end, she’ll benefit greatly from this!