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.
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.
Turn it over and remove any membrane and the rib bones.
Mix together the salt and sugar.
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 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.
Fry some to try some. You will not be disappointed. Vacuum seal the rest so you can gift it or use it later.
I broiled (grilled to us Europeans) some and had it with poached eggs and toast.
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….