11 POUNDS OF PORK BELLY
You've been there, right? You have 11 pounds of pork belly. Perhaps a thoughtful birthday present. Or, it's that pork belly anniversary year. You know, first year, paper; second year, cotton; third, leather; fourth, pork belly.
At this moment I have 4 pounds of pork belly on the smoker in the back yard. It's becoming bacon. Hickory smoked, maple glazed bacon.
In the refrigerator downstairs I have 5 pounds of pork belly that I've cured in various seasonings. It is becoming pancetta.
So we have 2 pounds unaccounted for. Scroll down to the blog post about that deep fried pork belly bacchanal a couple of weeks ago.
SMOKED MAPLE GLAZED BACON
Yield: Four pounds
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoons black pepper corns, cracked
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon pink (curing) salt (not pink pepper corns)
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 four pound pork belly
Hickory wood chips soaked in water for one hour
Combine sugar, salt, peppercorns, thyme, pink salt, and bay leaf.
Place pork belly in a glass baking dish. Rub all sides and edges of the belly with dry cure mixture. Pour maple syrup over the pork, wrap the dish in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 7 to 10 days. Flip the belly every other day.
|after 10 days in seasonings and maple syrup|
Thoroughly rinse the pork with cold water and pat dry.
Set up your smoker. You have one right? Fill the water pan and get the wood chips smoking according to the manufacturer's directions. You may also smoke the pork on you grill placing soaked wood chunks on coals, or using a smoke box.
Smoke until pork registers 150 degrees, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
|after 2 hours on the smoker|
Remove from smoker and let cool to room temperature before slicing. Refrigerate tightly wrapped for up to 1 month, or freeze for 2 months.
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 tablespoons coarsely ground pepper
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons juniper berries, cracked
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon pink (curing) salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 five pounds pound pork belly
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons coarsely ground pepper
Combine all dry ingredients, rub all over pork belly. Place belly in a glass baking dish. Drizzle wine over meat. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate 7-10 days. Flip belly every other day.
|at home for 7-10 days in seasonings and wine. life is good!|
Thoroughly rinse pancetta with cold water and pat dry. With meaty side up, sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cracked pepper and roll up. Tie tightly with kitchen twine.
Place on a wire rack and refrigerate, uncovered for 2-3 weeks, until firm.
Wrap tightly in plastic and keep refrigerated for 2 weeks or freeze.
Pork Belly: some Whole Foods carry pork belly but not all. The meat market near us, Edwards, carries pork belly.
Pink Salt: Some spice shops carry pink salt. Savory Spice in the Denver area carries it. You need to ask for it, they wisely don't keep it on the shelves. The color is added to avoid confusing it for regular salt. Do not use it on your popcorn!!! Pink salt contains nitrites, which prevent bacterial growth, boost the meaty flavor, and preserve the red color of the meat.
Nitrites: I've read a few articles about nitrites in food, both for and against consumption of foods containing nitrites (vegetable naturally contain nitrites...) I'll leave it up to you to research and decide. The key is moderation.