Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Makin' Bacon Again

The pork belly was a bit smaller than I was expecting. Instead of being closer to 13 pounds (which I thought was a bit big) this one was a little under 10 pounds. So instead of making bacon 3 ways, I dropped it down to two ways - Modernist Bacon and Pancetta. I didn't think the brisket flap would cure well so I sliced it off. With the trimmings, I'll get about a pound of sausage for some future dinners. Here's what I picked up at Adventure In Food on Monday afternoon. You can see my toes at the bottom of the pictures. I'm on my tip toes trying to get the whole belly to fit in the frame.

Here's the portion I cut off to make the Modernist bacon. This piece weighed in at 2767 grams (about 6 pounds). The Modernist recipe calls for a belly with the bones still attached. I'm not sure why. It wasn't an option.

Once I had the weight of the pork belly, I could measure out the rest of the ingredients. Some corriander got toasted before grinding.

 With the exception of black pepper everything else went into a bowl that I just kept zeroing out on the scale. You've got salt, sugar, cure#1, Fermento, mace star anise, and sodium erythorbate.

The belly gets rubbed with most of the cure and sits for 10 minutes.

While it was sitting, I tried to get my new vacuum bags that are extra wide set up. These bags were the only real problem I had tonight. It's always something. Not sure I'm ready to give up on the bags yet. I think I figured out a few tricks that will help next time. I wouldn't recommend these bags yet either. Here it is all sealed up.

Once that was in the fridge, I weighed the belly piece set aside for the pancetta. It weighed 1048 grams (about 2.25 pounds). I was hoping for a little bit more but the pancetta is easy enough to make again. And making it smells so damn good. This is Jason Molinari's recipe. Here's the cure: Salt, pepper, brown sugar, cure#1, juniper berries, bay leaves, thyme and some garlic. The combination smells really good.

Here's the pancetta vacuumed up in a pre-made gallon bag. This was much easier. Worked on the first try.

So now we wait. In about a week or so, they'll both come out of the bags. I'll have to find a place to hang the pancetta but the bacon will spend another week in the fridge before smoking.

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