What Part Of The Pig Is Bacon – In about a week you can have the best bacon of your life. You can hold in your hand a glistening mahogany slab of perfectly crisp pink, tender, juicy fatty meat. You can announce to the world, “Look what I made! It’s bacon too
Instead of some lame fruitcake, you can give people what they really want for the holidays: gourmet, handmade bacon, straight from your own kitchen. And here’s the secret I can now reveal with confidence: Making your own bacon at home is not only
What Part Of The Pig Is Bacon
So join me, if you will, on an exploration of how to make the best bacon of your life. There will be a few digressions and footnotes to talk about food science stuff, but if you want to get to the meat of the matter (haha!), scroll down for the printable recipe.
For The Love Of Bacon: History, Facts, And More
You know what bacon is, right? Or you? In the United States, bacon is, as defined by the USDA, the cured belly of a pig. Rub a piece of meat from a pork belly with a cure – salt, sugar, usually pink salt (more on that later) and spices of your choice. After curing, the bacon is smoked.
But people all over the world are curing pork, and not everyone is pushing fat abs for the kick of sweet-smoked meat. This post will teach you how to make American Style Pork Belly Bacon.
Slab Bacon is a tasty place to start, but check out this chart that shows some common bacon and cured meats like bacon. Note that almost any part of the pig can become something in the bacon family. Bacon doesn’t end with the belly!
Making bacon at home isn’t difficult, doesn’t require magical meat knowledge or fancy equipment. But it takes about a week, a pork belly, a strange ingredient called pink salt, and a way to smoke your bacon. So while this project is worthwhile, it helps to plan ahead.
Canadian Bacon Vs. Ham: What Are The Differences?
Getting pork belly isn’t as easy or cheap as you might think. I of course bought the Happy-Hippie pork belly through the wholesaler I’ve been working with since my catering days and it cost me $4.70 per pound. I bought three whole bellies, each 10 to 12 pounds.
If you buy your pork directly from a farmer as a whole or half animal, ask the butcher to leave the whole belly. For the love of bacon, don’t let them grind it!
Any good independent butcher will be able to order you pork belly (if they can’t, they’re not a good independent butcher), but they may not stock slabs of proto-bacon depending on local demand. Asian and Latin American markets tend to be a better source of pork belly than your typical suburban supermarket.
Previously frozen pork belly can be used to make bacon, but your finished product won’t be as moist.
What Is Nipple Bacon And Why Are People Freaking Out About It?
See the full explanation below in the footnote. The TL;DR version is: pink salt is a special curing salt that makes sure you don’t make bacon tenderloin. Order online. This is what I use.
For the smoker I used a small electric “Little Chief” smoker that my sister and brother-in-law had given me a few years ago. (Guess what charcuterie they get for Christmas?) The smoker I have is a small thing – I have an older version of this model – and if you’re willing to invest a hundred bucks in a smoker, I recommend something else. We are so impressed with the amazing quality of the Karb Enough Homemade Bacon that we are considering upgrading this smoker for Christmas.
But if this is your first time making bacon, you probably don’t want to invest in special smoking equipment. You can use a Weber type charcoal grill as a smoker. (See here for great instructions, but remember that for our bacon we want to keep the temperature around 200-225 degrees.)
You can also make your own pot smoke (without flowers inside), among other things. Here are complete instructions for building a pot smoker. I’ve never done it, but it seems pretty legit to me.
Meat Quiz) Do You Know Your Pork Cuts?
You can also smoke your bacon in the oven. Check out this process for making a hearth smoker at home with things you probably already have on hand. But – fair warning – smoking indoors will leave your entire house smelling like fire.
And unless your kitchen has serious industrial ventilation, you may want to temporarily turn off any smoke alarms in the house. (Put those batteries back in, though!) Stovetop smoking works best for an initial smoky flavor and color, and you can finish cooking your bacon in a 225-degree oven. It’s not quite the same, but it will be in a bit.
For the wood, I used bags of hardwood apple chips that I picked up from the grocery store, like this one. They are not very expensive. A $5 bag smokes two whole pork bellies, or about 20 pounds of bacon. You can use other types of chips or smoking bits – alder, meskini, etc. – depending on your smoker setup, just make sure you use completely dry hardwood chips designed for smoking. If you use any old shavings from the Mooney Tree Grinding Service, you will get ugly.
I’ve broken it down into several steps with lots of pictures, but don’t let that scare you. Each step is very simple.
If Bacon Costs More Next Year, Blame The Pork Producers
Here is a pork belly, skin side down. You can see where the entire belly has been cut from the ribs (those little finger lines on the belly).
If your belly comes skin-on, carefully trim away the skin, leaving as much fat as possible. My skin-off comes off so I don’t need to do this step.
Cut the extra thick membrane at the bottom of the belly where the ribs join. Smoke usually doesn’t penetrate thick films like this and they don’t break down with cooking, so it’s like eating bubble gum. The bottom right of this photo shows the abdomen before the cut. Top left shows after the haircut.
You can cure and smoke the entire belly, but you will need more specialized equipment. Cutting this 12-pound belly into thirds gave me just the right-sized pieces to fit into a gallon-sized zip-top bag. This will make life easier during treatment.
What Part Of Pig Is Bacon?
It is important that your treatment is properly calibrated to the amount of meat you are curing. The recipe in this post is designed for 4 pounds of pork belly (give or take a few ounces). If you heal a different amount, you must adjust the healing amount accordingly.
Combine all healing ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Measure carefully and be very specific about the pink salt.
Really get in there and work the salt, sugar and spice belly. Give him a little massage and sweet talk. That belly will eventually be your bacon.
Place your pork belly in a large, heavy-duty zip-lock bag. If any medicine falls out of the stomach, throw it away in the bag. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible without crushing it with a straw and seal tightly.
Where Is Bacon On A Pig?
Now, put your stomach in the fridge. Soon, the salt and sugar will mix with the pork juices and form a thick salt around the belly. Every day, little by little, turn the stomach over so that all sides have equal time to heal. This is why the zip bag is so great: you flip the whole thing over without opening it. Allow seven to ten days for your pork belly to cure. After a week it should feel pretty tight but still pliable if you bend it. If it’s still soft, you can cure it for another day and try again.
After the pork belly is sufficiently cooked, remove it from the bag and rinse well. Some of the peppers may be stuck to some fat and that’s fine, but try to get most of the cure from the meat. This photo is of another batch of bacon I made with fresh garlic. Ignore the garlic pieces.
While you’re still figuring out how you want to cure your bacon, it’s a good idea to do a taste test before smoking. Although the bacon is cured at this point, it is still raw and, for many food safety reasons, I recommend cooking it before trying. Just cut a small slice of bacon and cook gently.
If your reaction to bacon is, “Wow, it has really good bacon!” Then – great! – Let’s move on to the next step. If your reaction is “Did I just lick the salt?!” Then your bacon may be slightly mushy. Remember you want something really tasty, but if it’s too salty, you can make it! Just submerge your stomach in cold water for a few hours and taste the taste again. Add extra salt.
Pig And Bacon Clipart. Free Download Transparent .png
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