Mmmm, bacon

August 13, 2007 at 3:13 pm (Food)

But not just any bacon. This is the real deal, homemade bacon.

Bacon

I got this recipe from Michael Ruhlman’s “Charcuterie”, which is a great book if you want to start curing your own meats or make your own sausages. I must admit, I was a bit hesitant getting this book, not because of the recipes, but because of the author himself. I’m sure he’s a nice enough fellow (heck, I’d let him buy me a beer or eight), but he couldn’t write his way out of a first-year English lit course, unless, that is, you enjoy reading about everyone’s hair cut and colour, what clothes they’re wearing, the names of said person’s wife and kids, etc. Where he does excel, however, is his cookbooks (The French Laundry, Bouchon, and this one). Ergo, this latest one is great.

On to the bacon. I picked up a pork belly at the market. Farm-raised, it was a good 3-5 cm thick, and weighed about 5 kilos. I cut it in half, and froze one part, which I’ll use to make pancetta later this fall. The other half I salted, liberally, with, um, salt (kosher), curing salts (which I ordered from down south), sugar and, because the end result was breakfast bacon, a bit of maple syrup.

Wrapped it up in a food saver bag and stored it in the fridge for a week, where it brined. Then, took it out, rinsed, and cooked at low temperature, after which I removed the rind. And, oh yes, there were still hairs and nipple marks on the rind. You really get to experience the meat, I guess.

So now, I have about 2 kilos of bacon and cured pork belly. I’m trying to find any reason to eat it. I’m thinking cesar salad tonight. I’ve already used some in a tomato butter recipe, but in that case I used lardons, which is basically the same thing, except the belly isn’t cut into slices but little cubes.

Overall, the taste is exquisite and reminds me more of the bacon we ate back when we were young ‘uns. More of a ham flavour, less of a salty taste.

So now, I’m looking for someone with a cold room who will let me age my other attempts; not just the pancetta, but also some duck ham, perhaps some serrano, etc.

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16 Comments

  1. zura said,

    Mmm, I cannot provide a coldroom, but I can offer my (ahem) discerning palate as a taster. 🙂

  2. Michel said,

    Well, I’m sure you could use your fancy-dancy new knife to cut some wafer-thin slices.

  3. Martine said,

    Michel, I think you are ready to buy a house in the suburbs.

  4. ruhlman said,

    that’s kind of harsh, dude. i in fact did write my way out of freshman comp. I think what your objecting to is the STYLE of my non-fiction. you evidently are practical home cook. your bacon looks great.

  5. Michel said,

    I am so busted, and my naturally pink skin is even redder.
    For what it’s worth, and as I’ve suggested, your cookbooks are amazing and have encouraged me to stretch myself in the kitchen.
    The freshman comp thing was an off-the-cuff comment, and who would expect that you would read it? But, truth be told, I found your descriptions of the chefs in the master chef competition to be overly journalistic, thereby dragging down the narrative. But hey, at least when I got to the end of the book I went and made the corn pancakes. And I don’t even eat corn.

  6. ruhlman said,

    i like those corn pancakes, at least you’ve got good taste in food!

  7. blork said,

    Ha ha ha! Tinman, you really need a valve on that wise-cracking yap of yours.

  8. Michel said,

    Ya think??

  9. Nicholas Robinson said,

    Damn dude, you got Jah Ruhl to actually comment. Don’t like the hairy nipple thing, but of course I will be out ‘n’ about to get Spikey’s book, seeing as how you actually made something from it and didn’t go to Emergency.

    Cold room . . . does that mean we can age steaks as well? I would be willing to go in on that. Meanwhile, KEEP SOME FOR ME

  10. Frank said,

    This is just too funny.

  11. Michel said,

    I’m nothing if not a target for mockery, especially when it’s of my own doing. But hey, at least it’s resulted in another sale of the book, so that’s good.
    Nicholas, there’s nothing that I remember about aging steaks in the book.

  12. lattegirl said,

    At last, I know what to do about that deer in my yard.

    Kidding!

    When my son finally moves out, I could promise you the back room of my apartment. You could use that to cure meat. Can’t say what my cats will do about that arrangement, however.

  13. Frank said,

    I’ve heard of parents turning their kids rooms into offices or exercise rooms when they move out. But a meat curing establishment is something else. Imagine coming home and waking up next to a slab of salty meat.

  14. Michel said,

    Sounds like paradise.

  15. Mmm, sausages « The Tinman’s Thoughts said,

    […] Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. And, okay, I admit it, I made somewhat of a fool of myself in a previous post but, again, I swear that his cookbooks will inspire most folks to at least try to make something […]

  16. Mmmm, waffles and bacon « The Tinman’s Thoughts said,

    […] halved, the recipe below delivers just too much goodness for one seating. Bacon, of course, was home-cured. Happily Michael Ruhlman confirms that immuno-suppressed folks like myself can get away with […]

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