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The Great Bacon Experiment

Devin and I watched an episode of Alton Brown's "Good Eats" the other night. Alton was making bacon from a big ole slab of pork belly. Devin became inspired to do this himself.

So a few days ago, I found myself at our local meat shop, looking at a giant frozen folded over piece of pork belly. I was quite certain we were in over our heads.

After discussing our plans for the pork belly with the butcher, he offered to thaw and skin the massive piece of meat for us. He told us it should be ready in about a day and a half.

A day and a half later, Dev came home from class with a huge piece of pork belly. Here's the story of what happened next...

We used Alton's method, which you can find here.

We decided not to smoke the entire piece of meat. I wanted to do some internet research and find some other uses for our windfall of pork. Dev cut the huge chunk of meat in half and we froze half.

The remaining half was cut into 4 quarters and put in gallon storage bags with a Alton's brine solution (really yummie with molasses and apple cider). It hung out in the ice box for 3 days, sucking up all the briny-ness. Here's what it looked like after we removed it from the brine and dried it off.

We liberally peppered the pieces and then set up our drying rig. Dev set up towels and some cookie drying racks on the kitchen floor in front of a fan. This step is performed to develop the "pellicle" of the meat before smoking it. I have no idea what that means. Here's the rig....

Note Dev's sexy legs, complete with manly cut.

After an hour in front of the fan, we moved the slabs of pork to the smoker outside. In Alton's method, he used a cold smoking procedure. We only have a regular, grill type smoker. We adjusted the 4-6 hour estimate of Alton's method to about 3 hours of hot smoking time. Here are the luscious pork slabs during the smoking process.

After smoking for 3 hours, we removed the pork to a baking sheet and put it in the freezer to firm it up enough to slice.

How beautiful is that??

Here are some shots of Dev slicing the home made bacon...

What about the taste, you ask?

It is amazing. I don't think it will ever get crispy like store bought bacon, but the flavor is so superior, I don't think it will matter. It's slightly sweet, not salty at all, and much porkier than commercial bacon.

This will truly make the world's best BLT of all time!


Anonymous said…
Ewww! He'll smoke a pork belly but won't eat catfish??
Mimi said…
LOL...I hadn't thought about that. I'll share your comment with him!
Tracey in WA said…
I saw that episode too!!! Glad to see it turned out great ... will have to get my own belly and try it, thanks for the review!
Kevin said…
That bacon looks really good! Making your own sounds like great fun!
Mimi said…
Thanks Tracy and Kevin! It was pretty fun, and I'm definitely enjoying using the bacon in various dishes this week.

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