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Credit: Scott O’Farrell, CEC, CEPC, CCA, chef-instructor, Macomb Culinary Institute, Clinton Township, Mich.
Sizzle, Summer 2013
10 lbs. pork belly, center-cut
5 oz. kosher salt
3 oz. maple sugar
0.80 oz. Insta Cure, TCM
1 t. fresh thyme, fine chop
1 t. fresh rosemary, fine chop
1 T. black peppercorns, crushed fine
1. Rinse pork belly; remove skin, careful not to remove any excess fat. Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour.
2. Place pork belly in hotel pan. Combine all dry ingredients; rub evenly on both sides of pork belly. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate; let cure for 7-10 days.*
3. Overhaul pork belly daily.**
4. Rinse cured pork belly carefully to remove all residual matter. Soak for 30 minutes in warm water.
5. Blot dry. Poke hole in both sides; hang with butchers twine for 18-24 hours to ensure good pellicle formation.***
6. Hot-smoke at 185°F until internal temperature reaches 155°F. Use a hardwood such as maple, cherry or apple.
7. Slice bacon. Eat immediately, or let cool, slice, and fry or bake.
* I have had great success with vacuum packaging the pork belly with the cure mix on both sides. I have done this when I will not be in the kitchen for a few days to overhaul the bacon.
** Overhauling is the process of flipping the pork belly daily to ensure both sides cure evenly. When moisture comes into contact with the sugar, it becomes a liquid and settles to the bottom of the pan.
*** Pellicle formation is the tacky skin that forms on proteins and helps smoke particles adhere to
the protein, thus providing an even, well-smoked product.
1 half-sheet pan
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