Bacon made easy


I am getting ready to try this. Going to look for my TQ and either Pork Belly or Pork Loin this weekend. This question was asked but i didn't see it get answered. Do you rub both sides the Pork Belly with the Tender quick? What if the skin is on. Do you rub it on the skin?
It does not really matter. The brine/salt/rub will penetrate the piece of meat during curing, and equalize the salt content during curing. But if that makes you feel better, use your TQ on the meat side.
I prepped my pork belly on Saturday using the method in the Charcuterie book which called for pink salt. Then... I was reading stuff online that said that Himalania Pink Salt is not what they mean. I easily found Himalania salt so that's what I had used. Glad I caught the error. I rushed down to the market and grabbed a two pound bag of Morton's TQ, came home, pulled the belly out of the fridge, rinsed it off and applied the TQ.

And it does not really matter that much. Europeans have made "bacon" for at least a thousand years without Mortons. There are still a few of us left, several have survived after eating the belly. :)
Thanks for the guide, Bob, mine came out great!

While not as good at smoking as my WSM, the gasser did the trick-



I'm really enjoying switching over to cast iron cooking-

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Nice work Mike. I'm making a final decision of a Hammonster or leg of Lamb for Easter Dinner (15 folks). If I do go with curing my own ham again, I'll need to remember to toss in a tenderloin for some Canadian bacon. Should be able to slip that into the big orange bucket without a problem ;)
I found some belly at an Asian market and tried making bacon for the first time. Smoked it on my kettle last night with hickory and apple.

It turned out nice, but I need to find a neighbor with a meat slicer so I can get it thinner.

That's OK - looks good, and I like "hand cut" bacon :). If you have a really sharp 12-14" slicer/knife and stick the slab in the freezer for about 15 minutes or so makes it easier to slice. Set it on a cutting board and lay another board on top to use as a guide for the knife. Looks good from that photo!
Thanks. I did those slices with a really big knife. Just went back with a regular chef's knife, sharpened well, and was able to slice the rest of the belly significantly thinner.

Good tip on the two boards to guide the knife.

I just bought two more pieces of belly, so we'll be giving out bacon at Easter.

Second round of slicing

Two new slabs of belly. One is now in the basic Ruhlman cure, plus coffee, bourbon, and juniper berries. The other
has some molasses added to its cure. Left the skin on one as an experiment.
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The "two boards" technique came from this site. Can't take credit. I first used it for brisket, then for bacon. I do have a smallish folding slicer with an 8" blade but never liked to hack the brisket or bacon in half just to slice it to fit the tray :)
The two board technique is great when you are traveling too - as long as you have a good knife with you.
more belly. 12.57 lbs


sliced into 4lb slabs...


2 for the freezer, 1 to cure. we'll smoke that next week Sunday.

Nice work Jim. I just hooked into a fairly local farm that raises all natural heritage breeds. Actually went through a butchering class with them a couple weeks ago. The belly on those pigs was awesome. I be picking some up in the next few weeks to play with.