Home-Cured Bacon: Easy. Delicious. Do This.

So I patiently waited the prescribed week for the slab of pork belly to cure in the refrigerator. I rinsed off the salt/spice solution last night and roasted it at 200 degrees for about an hour and a half. I chilled it overnight, sliced off four thick rashers, cooked it alongside scrambled eggs for breakfast this morning and...

BOOM!

Yes, it is that good. One more check off the bucket list, and something else I've been buying prepared from the supermarket all my life that I'll be making in The Cooler Kitchen for here on out.

I'm going to work a little backwards here, because it helps to see the plated breakfast to get the full effect.

Homemade bacon and eggs July 10 2012

Here's the taste test on the bacon (which is based on a recipe in Michael Ruhlman's cookbook Ruhlman's Twenty):

* The curing solution (salt, dark brown sugar, garlic cloves, ground black pepper, red pepper flakes) really does permeate the meat after a week.

* I skipped the optional sodium nitrite, which is mainly used to give bacon that familiar red color. I did not miss it in the finished product.

* The bacon was roasted to an internal temperature of 150 degrees before slicing. It was not smoked, because using a smoker in a 30th floor apartment is strongly not advised. It did not have the strong aroma that smoked bacon gives off, but it tastes very, very much like bacon.

* Don't cut corners on quality. I recently started buying delicious pork from Jake's Country Meats of Cassopolis, Michigan, at their stand at Chicago's Green City Market. The pound-and-a-half pork belly came from them. Awesome.

* There are three words that make anything taste even better if you love food and love to cook: I did it!

So let's go back to the top and review the stages in this shockingly easy process.

Here is the uncured meat with the curing mix...

Pork belly with curing mix

then coated with the curing mix...

Pork belly coated with curing mix

one week later...

Cured pork belly unroasted

... roasted... we have bacon!...

Roasted pork belly bacon

.... fry it up in pan...

Homemade bacon frying

... and ready to eat.

Cooked home-cured bacon

By the way, the eggs were soft-scrambled with sauteed Italian spring onions (the famed Italian scallions) and light Jarlsberg cheese. If you don't happen to have any home-cured bacon on hand, these also will do you just fine for breakfast.

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