08 August, 2010


At Whole Foods today, I noticed some lovely slabs of fresh pork belly in the butcher's case. Since they rarely carry fresh belly, I took this as an omen that it was time to cure some bacon.

The pork was from Simply Grazin' Farm in Hopewell, NJ. The skin had already been removed and the belly cut into smaller slabs, but the overall quality of the meat and the lean-to-fat ratio looked ideal. (You'll have to take my word for it, because I forgot to snap a photo of the pork after I unwrapped it.)

I used the savory bacon recipe from Charcuterie, by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn (a version was published in the NYT a few years ago).

My pantry and garden yielded a few additions to the basic recipe. Pictured above, clockwise from top left, are coriander seed, herbs (thyme, bay leaf, rosemary), black and pink peppercorns, dry cure mixture (kosher salt, sugar and pink salt), garlic and brown sugar.

I toasted the coriander seeds and peppercorns prior to cracking them with a mortar & pestle. The fragrant coriander reminded me of Froot Loops cereal when I cracked the seeds.

After crushing the garlic and tearing up the herbs, I mixed all of the cure ingredients with the pork belly in a 2-gallon Ziploc bag, shaking the bag until the meat was well-coated on all sides.

It will cure in the fridge for the next week or so, at which point I will smoke it over apple or pecan wood. Something to look forward to...

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