Yeehaw! It’s American Bacon!

I prepared some home cured, home smoked pork loin a couple of weeks back. It was fantastic and most of the comments I had from the European side of the pond were pretty positive. One of my American friends had to make the point that bacon is made only with pork belly. He had to make the point in the way only an American would. That is he was unequivocal, forthright and definitive. He was certain that bacon can only be made with pork belly. Anything else “just ain’t bacon”. (Put on a Southern drawl while reading that.) So to run with the stereotype, here’s how to prepare good ole’ rootin’ tootin’ American bacon (All Americans use the “good ole’ rootin’ tootin'” type language pretty well all the time.

Get your hands on some pork belly. In deference to our American cousins, I’ll use pounds and ounces in this recipe. There is some irony in the republican America being one of the few places on the planet left using ‘imperial’ measures.

So few ingredients. So much flavour!

You will need about 5 lbs of pork belly, 3 ounces of curing salt and 2 ounces of Muscovado sugar.

Using a very sharp knife and a dose of your forefathers’ frontier spirit, skin the pork belly.

It’s difficult to skin without a very sharp knife.

Turn it over and remove any membrane and the rib bones.

Trim well for better bacon.

Mix together the salt and sugar.

Good food should make you want to rub your belly….

Rub the belly all over with the mixture. Vacuum seal the belly and put it in the refrigerator. Leave it there for a week, turning it every day.

Remove the belly from the fridge, remove it from the bag and wash it well under running water. Place it on a rack and dry it well with paper towels. Place the rack in the fridge and leave it there for 24 hours. Fire up the cold smoker and smoke the belly for between three and four hours.

I regretted not filling the smoker. It would hold six of these.

I used oak this time. However, it would be lovely with maple or applewood too. Return the belly to the fridge for an hour or two. This is to make it easier to carve. Using a very sharp knife and a bit more of that frontier spirit, slice the belly into bacon strips.

Bacon doesn’t get any more bacony than this.

Fry some to try some. You will not be disappointed. Vacuum seal the rest so you can gift it or use it later.

Plenty to vacuum and eat later. Yeehawwww, as they say in America.

I broiled (grilled to us Europeans) some and had it with poached eggs and toast.

An imperial breakfast, fit for a king…

Served with a cup of coffee, this is the breakfast of kings, despite the fact that you “good ole boys” (southern drawl again please) over in the US of A don’t have a king. You have a president. Perhaps you could send him some bacon. I hear bacon makes anything better….

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  • What, no grits and biscuits?
    It looks delicious – I believe a lot of Americans like Canadian bacon… 🙂

      • What a fantastic idea!
        Did you know that there’s even a pig farm in Israel at Kibbutz Lahav – it’s in a Christian Arab region, where the pigs are raised for medical research, but the excess are sold as food. I bet they do an interesting bacon cure.

  • Can’t go wrong with bacon and eggs : )

  • So, despite the fact that bacon was made from loin for centuries before the US even existed…. no, OK, I won’t go there. The wonderful thing about food is that there are no absolute rights and wrongs. Your colleague in the US can enjoy this version and I will enjoy the earlier (proper) version… 🙂

  • Just beautiful. A long process, but I’m sure it’s worth it. If that were Irish bacon, there would be 8 slices of toast on the plate.

      • That was the funniest thing to me, in Scotland and Wales as well. Racks and racks of toast at breakfast, whether you ask for it or not!!!

  • Oh heck, who wants to diet when one can feast on this – put an extra plate on your table, I am coming 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • I do love streaky bacon. The US was supposed to switch to metric in the 70’s but alas, they need to be different. Makes it tricky with recipes! This looks amazing and I’ll have to do some research on cold smoking.

      • Our exchange student also struggles with ounces. I said something needed half a cup, then I said 4 ounces and then we realised I’d have to do it in milliliters. I was lost at that point.

  • Great looking bacon.

  • I saw a BBQ Challenge yesterday where they had to BBQ – Pork belly.[ BBS Pitmasters] It was a disaster. No one knew what to do Louisianna. U.S. I was a bit surprised to be honest . I thought you’d like to know. (Netflix) I can send you the link if you are interested. Always a pleasure to see what delectable meals you are cooking up!

  • BBQ Pitmasters in Texas and Louisianna

  • I like both sorts of bacon. Pretty much all bacon in fact, except that cheap wet floppy stuff. Home cured and smoked rocks.

      • I think you should! Sign me up to the Bofin Bash ‘Em channel.

  • I love that the bacon you made is so lean. It looks fabulous. Of course the proper bacon you made looked fabulous too. And I like Canadian bacon. Plus, I see the irony of us using imperial measurements long after the UK went metric. I guess I’m just bad at being ‘Murrican. 😉 (BTW, I don’t think any amount of bacon will fix what’s going on in the White House.)

    PLEASE tell me that you fried up all that gorgeous pork skin (even if you didn’t). I need to hear that there were some chicharrones in your life. They’re lovely dipped in a little of that perfectly soft egg yolk.

    • And please let some of that bacon be destined for a BLT. Crunchy, smoky, pan-fried bacon + juicy, ripe tomatoes + crisp lettuce + creamy, eggy mayonnaise + lightly toasted sandwich bread = the world’s most perfect sandwich. Sigh. 🙂

  • That bacon…those eggs….It’s just all too perfect!

  • It’s becoming increasingly difficult in Australia to buy bacon made with locally raised pork (they cure it here but use cheap imported meat) and don’t get me started on sodium nitrates. This, and the post about “real” bacon have got me thinking. Just have to find a way to jump the smoking hurdle. No BBQs/smokers allowed on my Heritage Listed buildings balconies. You’re an inspiration Conor

  • There is no such thing as bad homemade bacon. Bring on all the varieties!

  • Isn’t it a tad blasphemous to gift bacon such as this??? Although I would be honored if you could send some my way, thank you. xo

  • God, that looks so good. I might start trying to sell my streaky bacon as American bacon!

  • Me not a bacony-spirit at all … But couldn’t resist from stopping by to read your witty narrative and watch all those action-packed masculine pictures 🙂

    That breakfast plate looks mighty sexy indeed 🙂

  • And – at the ‘tail end of the tale’, attempting to be diplomatic just for once, may I admit to a huge laugh . . . . no, we won’t go to when the history began [actually did it not just some four months ago ?!] . . . . thank God I usually do not partake of anything called ‘bacon’ so believe I am home and hosed as to being ‘partial’ . . . . . [oh, give a ‘hoy’ nevertheless when Carina comes to have breakfast with you: me too, please, me too 🙂 !]

  • It is hard to find good bacon. I found a local brand by accident. WOW..and not over priced. (I am reserving the name in case they run out). Life is better with butter and definitely better with bacon!💖💖💖💖💖

  • Very nice, Conor. I had plans to do a south Tyrol version of this over the winter (called Speck), but then it got too warm before I got around to it.
    P.S. If you vacuum seal, you may want to include some pink salt/saltpeter because botulism likes it without oxygen. I usually just seal rather than vacuum seal to avoid this.

  • I fricking love home made bacon. It is seriously one of m new favourite things… but that goes without saying, right?

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