In early January, I took a class at Different Drummer’s Kitchen that went over how to make your own sausage, bacon and pancetta. If I’d known how easy it is to make bacon, I might not have bothered with the class.
I’m of the opinion that anyone who can follow directions properly can be a pretty good cook; this more than applies to making bacon.
The bacon adventure started with a trip to Rolf’s Pork Store. A five-pound slab of pork belly is not something you’ll find at Price Chopper; your local butcher should be able to fix you up. Then — and be sure to follow very closely here — you combine
four five ingredients*, rub them into the pork belly and refrigerate for one week.
Once the belly was cured, I smoked it for two hours using my gas grill and foil packages of hickory chips.
The result was a sweet, smokey product that was and tastier and more mellow than the ubiquitous mass-produced bacon you find cin the store. It even seemed healthier since it came from my own hand, which I suppose could be a dangerous attribute.
A visitor to our house asked if it wouldn’t just be easier to buy bacon at the store. Yes, of course! But it wouldn’t taste as good.
I can’t quantify how much of the deliciousness came from having done it myself, but it reminds me of when someone asked my wife why she would bother making her own jam. “Why make your own? You can buy a jar for two bucks at the supermarket.” To me this seems like the classic case of knowing the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.
Here’s a good recipe if you want to try it yourself.
*Sugar, molasses, kosher salt, curing salt, ground black pepper.