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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

As easy as making bacon

Michael Ruhlman told me it was easy to make bacon. I was skeptical -- I remembered farm cousins talking about butchering and making all things pig in Kansas. It didn't sound easy, but I was probably focusing on the first step.
But I have to tell you, Ruhlman is right. Of course, first you've got to find pork belly. I got an 8-pound slab from Blood's Farm, a most amazing small, old-fashioned slaughterhouse in Groton, where all sorts of meats and sausages are sold. Niman Ranch also sells it online.

The pork belly stayed in my freezer for a while until I got around to curing it. First I had to buy pink salt, a curing agent, find 2 gallon zipper bags, and clear out space in my refrigerator.

But the preparation was a cinch. Just salt, pink salt, kosher salt, and sugar, all rubbed over the pork belly. Then I put it in the bag, and refrigerated it for eight days. Every other day, I massaged the bag to distribute the salt and sugar mixture.

After the meat felt firm, I rinsed it and then roasted it for about 2 hours and 45 minutes in a 275-degree oven. I tasted some and it's great.

Tonight I'm going to fry a few slices and make bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches. Homemade bacon, homemade bread, and farmers' market tomatoes. A perfect ending to summer and September.

Posted by Alison Arnett at 03:31 PM
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