Happy midweek ! Hope everyone is having a great week so far. I’m really excited about today’s post, cause for the first time, the Mr is posting as a guest of Food Made With Love! (: If you follow my instagram (@lianneelow), you would know how much the Mr and I love cooking together. The kitchen is definitely our happy place, trying new recipes and creating yummy dishes. Teamwork! hehe Recently though, the Mr have been trying new things on his own. Which is why I thought it was perfect for him to do a guest post of something that was so so delicious! So do enjoy (:
(Guest Post by The Mr, The Training Geek)
Our usual weekend brunch brought us to Merchants Guild which my wife truly adores! There, we made our choices and I added an additional side of bacon. When it came, this bacon was not the usual bacon you get. Thick-cut bacon. Not something you can easily find or purchase. So that’s why I set off on making my own bacon.
What is involved?
Lots of salt, lots of sugar and anything else which impart flavour to the pork which you want to put in. And of course, a nice big slab of pork belly. The equipment required is minimal if you have a bbq pit somewhere.
1 slab of pork belly (minimum 2kg)
2 parts salt to 1 part sugar (you can put in any amount you want but keep to the ratio).
Herbs and spices (anything you want; but I used 6 cloves of garlic, 3 sprigs of rosemary, handful of peppercorns, 3 sprigs of lemon thyme, 1 tbs ground coriander and 3 dried bay leaves)
Hickory wood chips
The Curing Process
1. Combine the salt, sugar, herbs and spices into a food processor and blend till everything is evenly combined.
2. Once the cure mixture is done, pack the mixture all over the pork belly, covering the pork with a layer of the curing mixture.
3. Carefully place this into a ziplock bag or into a Tupperware box with a rack at the bottom to allow any liquid to drip.
4. Leave the pork in the fridge for at least 7 days for it to cure and let the curing mixture remove as much liquid as possible. Through the 7 days, check for any accumulation of liquid. Feel free to drain the liquid or add more curing mixture to the pork. At the end of the 7 days, the pork should be of a solid nature and there would be no bounce when pressing into the flesh.
5. Once this is done, rinse the pork under water to remove the curing mixture and allow the pork to dry out more in the fridge uncovered. This also allows a sticky layer to form around the pork which helps retain the smokeness from the next process.
The Smoking Process
1. After leaving the pork belly in the fridge uncovered for a day, the cured meat is now ready for smoking in the bbq. To prepare your bbq, heat the bbq up till the temperature of the bbq reaches 200 degree Celsius. Prepare your hickory chips by soaking them in liquid for at least half an hour. At this time, you can choose to use any liquid which could impart more flavour to the pork. In my case, I decided to use apple juice (with the understanding that apple and pork go well together).
2. Once the hickory chips are ready, you can either place them with the coals (if yours is a charcoal bbq) or in a smoking box (for electric/gas bbqs) and allow the smoke to fill the bbq up. Once the bbq is ready, place your pork into the bbq and rest it on a rack and allow the smoking process to begin. This will take 2-4 hours depending on how much smokeness you want your bacon to have.
3. Constantly monitor the temperature of the bbq, ensuring it stays around 200 degrees Celsius or an internal temperature of the meat at 150 degrees. Once you feel that you have imparted enough smokey flavour to the bacon, feel free to remove it from the bbq.
The Cutting Process
1. Once you have taken your bacon out of the bbq, you can begin slicing it up, ready for storage or consumption. Please remember that despite the smoking process, the bacon is still not fully cooked and you will need to cook it before consuming it.
2. Firstly, remove the rind of the pork belly which should easily come off. Put that in an preheated oven (200 degrees celcius) for 20-30 mins and enjoy a nice piece of crackling from it.
3. Next, slice the sides off so that you get an even piece of pork belly. These cut-offs can be sliced up into bacon bits for future use.
4. From there, I chose to slice thick pieces of bacon (as I enjoy a thick-cut piece of bacon). If you have a meat slicer, you can slice it up to your desired thickness. If not, just use a knife and be patient with it. In total, I managed to get at least 20 thick slices of bacon from one pork belly. Either keep it in the fridge for quick consumption or in the freezer if you choose to slowly savour it.
5. The next thing to do is fry the bacon up and enjoy the fruits of your labour!
To enjoy the bacon, the Mr whipped up his burger patty (my ultimate fav dish of his) and we had an open beef sandwich with his beautiful fried thick-cut bacon! Let me tell you, the 1 week is definitely worth the wait! It does not taste anything like bacon you buy from the supermarket! The flavours were so good, with a slight hint of apple! YUMMO!
I do hope you enjoy my first ever guest post and hopefully it has inspired you to make some bacon of your own! Can’t wait to hear your adventures! Have a great rest of the week and let’s all welcome the long weekend together! Wheeee! (:
Remember to always cook and bake with love!
PS : Thank you my dearest Mr for taking time to write up this post! I love you! x