One of the things I love most about being retired is that I have time to do the things that I only could think of doing before retirement , Now that I am Retired and Loving it ,I have time to not just think about these things but to DO them and not have to get in a hurry and think I don't have enough time to finish So why start , Now it's start to finish in my own time frame , and when I feel like doing it , and when I can pull myself out of the hammock , to do the thinks I always wanted to do LOL .
One of those things was to learn and do , the art of curing and preserving food for our self to eat and enjoy, especially meat , and one thing I wanted to really do was to make bacon at home in my kitchen and cure and smoke and slice and cook and enjoy and be able to say " I cured and smoked this." Well ,with permission from Ciejay ,to make a little mess in the kitchen("ok if you clean when finished) and a few hours watching video's and reading recipes on the web and U-tube , I gave it a go and I must say I was really pleased with the end results , much tastier than store bought and I could slice it as thick or thin as I wanted , YUM YUM is all I've got to say about that.
This is one of the best advice sights and recipes I found for me on the web , I have left a few of his recipes and steps out of my post , to make it simple and easy to understand and do , If you want to learn more you can go to Dave's web sight for lots of good stuff.
Hope you enjoy this rather long post and that you will give it a try , if you do come back and leave me a comment . Thanks
From Dave's cupboard http://davescupboard.blogspot.com/2008/04/making-bacon-at-home.html
For the past couple of years, I've been making bacon at home. I don't do it to save money; by the time I've bought the pork belly, seasonings, cure ingredients, fuel and chips for the smoker, and so on, I really haven't saved all that much. No, I do it because I love the different flavors I can achieve with different cures and because I like the results better. Commercially-made bacon's are often injected with their cure - pumped up with moisture and extra sugars that make for a wetter, sloppier product. You've probably cooked bacon like that. It leaves puddles of salty white water or sticky residue in your frying pan, but before now you didn't really know why.
Making bacon at home is a time-consuming process, but not a very hard one. The steps are simple:
Cure the bacon
Dry the meat off so the smoke will "take"
Smoke the bacon
Chill the bacon so it's easier to slice
Starting the Cure
1 lb chunk of pork belly (or larger) go for the larger you'll be glad you did , then double the amounts--- no problem-- remember it's the salt that cures and everything else just adds to the taste
3/4 cup of white or brown sugar --- I liked the brown
2 ounces honey---
2 tablespoons (or more) coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup salt
Pepper if you want---a good amount
Pat the pork belly dry with paper towels, then rub it all over with the honey to form a thin but uniform coating on all sides. Next, roll the coated pork in the black pepper until all surfaces are covered with pepper. Finally, rub the entire surface well with salt tThe pork belly should be covered with a nice thick layer of salt.
This is what the pork will look like when you have the cure properly packed around it. The pepper will be showing through the salt layer, and the honey will be seeping though a bit. If you have a vacuum sealer, put the bacon along with all the salt sticking to it (and whatever of the salt/honey/pepper mixture you can gather up with your hands from the cutting board) into a vacuum pouch and seal it tight. If you don't have a vacuum sealer, use a heavy-duty zipper-closing freezer bag. Try to press out as much of the air as possible from the bag as you seal it up. Refrigerate while curing for five to seven days.
Brine will still form in a vacuum-sealed bag, but there's less room for it to move around. Once a day, take the sealed bag out of the
For dry-rub cured bacon, you will notice after a few hours that the rub has begun to draw moisture out of the pork and form a brine all its own in the bag. If you're using a loosely-fitting sealed zipper bag, you should turn it over twice a day to make sure all surfaces of the meat stay exposed to the salty brine evenly. As the days go by, more brine will form. The picture at left shows the curing pork after about three days in the zipper bag.
Brine will still form in a vacuum-sealed bag, but there's less room for it to move around. Once a day, take the sealed bag out of the refrigerator and gently massage the surfaces of the meat through the plastic. This helps ensure that the undissolved salt and other seasonings stay evenly distributed.
Finishing the Cure
After about a week has passed, the bacon is cured and should be ready to smoke. Remove the bacon from the cure and rinse it under cool running water. You'll only need a light rinse with brined bacon, but if you used a dry salt cure you'll need to lightly rub the bacon under the water stream to remove all the brine and undissolved salt and bits of herb, etc. Ground pepper might still stick to the meat. You can leave that on if you like.
Pat the bacon dry with paper towels and put it on a wire rack, rind (skin) side down, to dry for a few hours. Smoke doesn't adhere well to wet meat, so the pork needs to air until the surface feels kind of dry and even a little sticky. This sticky surface is called a "pellicle" and is formed when surface proteins on the meat dry out and harden.There are many different types of smokers , This extra step not only gives the bacon a better texture, but also improves the ability of the smoke to flavor the meat. Don't skip
Remember there are many types of smokers and even your old back-yard grill with a lid , if it does not have one easy to make one, will work just great , you can figure out how to place the chips (I use corn husk ) to get the smoke . The most important thing to remember is you're not cooking the bacon , just adding smoke , it's already cured.
This paragraph by Malcolm lol
Smoke the bacon for about three hours. You'll know it's done when the skin has softened and pulled back from the edges of the meat and the bacon feels firm when pressed. The color should be a rich deep golden brown.
Remove the bacon from the smoker and place on a wire rack over some absorbent paper to cool. When the bacon is at room temperature, wrap it tightly in butcher's paper, plastic, or aluminum foil and refrigerate until completely chilled. This will "set" the juices in the lean parts of the bacon and firm up the fat, making the bacon much easier to slice for frying.
Remember also that after smoking, the bacon is fully cooked. That means you can enjoy it like Russian bacon, thinly sliced cold without additional cooking. A friend of mine once said: "Uncooked hot-smoked bacon is one of the great decadence's." I agree.
This moment is what makes it all worthwhile: Beautifully cured, perfectly smoked bacon, sliced and ready to fry or to just eat with some good black rye bread and sliced onion.
Remember those rib bones that were on the belly as it cured? Just before slicing the bacon, run a sharp knife under the bones and remove them from the bacon slab. Briefly fry, broil, or barbecue them and serve them just the way they are. Delicious, bacon-flavored spare ribs! Don't think of them as a by-product, think of them as an extra-special bonus treat.
Don't just sit there get started , call you meat market and have him or her, save you a pork belly .