Bacon is the foodstuff of the gods. The Spirit of All Things decided that humans needed something to keep them going every day and decided that the pig was the best thing for it. And, oh, we have rejoiced and created several odes to the delicious meat. It's absolutely amazing and we should all say a little "thank you" every day because it exists.
Or so everyone kept telling me. Others would find salvation in what I found to be a salty, crunchy piece of noise in my food. So bacon and I went our separate ways. It wasn't the bacon, it was me. Bacon took it well and hung out with its billions of fans while I left on other gastronomic adventures which took me through vegetarian fields, a shady vegan nook, and even a brief holiday in the land of the raw.
Then it all changed. A man showed me how to make dry cured bacon from pork belly and the heavens opened up. A tiny bite and time and space would stumble about and forget who was who. I once again tried regular bacon from the store and the signal went back to black and white so it looks like this is the only way for me.
Here is that recipe.
Step 1: Ingredients
Basic Dry Cure
1 lb. (450g) kosher salt
8 oz. (225g) sugar
2 oz. (50g) pink curing salt
3-5 lbs. (1.5-2.25 kg) slab pork belly, skin on
1/4 cup (50g) Basic Dry Cure
As you can see, you'll be making a lot more Basic Dry Cure than you'll need for one piece of bacon, but you'll be doing this more than once anyway.
From the amazing book, Charcuterie.
Step 2: Salt the Pork Belly
Spread the dry cure out over a baking sheet or the bottom of a container.
Trim the edges of the pork belly neat and square and then press it into the dry cure to give it a thick uniform coating.
Step 3: Seal It Up
Place the pork belly in a ziploc bag. You can leave it as is or add more ingredients to add some flavor. In this picture, maple syrup, brown sugar, and some spices have also been added.
Refrigerate the belly for 7 days, flipping the bag every other day.
Check the belly for firmness. If it feels firm, it's cured. If it's still a little soft and squishy, let it cure a couple more days.
Bacon can keep for 1-2 weeks refrigerated or 3 months frozen.
Step 4: Cook!
Once the bacon is cured, rinse it and pat it dry.
You can bake it at 200F for a couple hours or you can smoke it then pan-fry it. I prefer the pan-fry myself. It's up to you.
The smoker we used is the Cameron Stovetop Smoker. You can sort of see it in the last picture on this step.
Step 5: Eat!
Let the bacon briefly cool and eat it as soon as it isn't going to scorch your tongue.
Now start thinking about what flavors you're going to be adding to your next batch.