My Grandson is a chef in a high end restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale. He came up for a visit & asked if he could bring anything. I said if you can get a nice thick pork belly that would be great.
He said no prob, Gramps!
Here is what he brought. It was already skinned & weighed 13 lbs.
Here is the kid.
I don't get bellies this thick around here.
1 1/2 " to 2".
If I get one 1" thick it's a treat
I cut the belly into 3 slabs about the same size. Turns out they were too big for zip lock bags so I vac packed them.
I weighed them all out & mixed the cure #1, salt, & sugar according to the bacon calculator.
Then I added 1/8 cup of each of, granulated garlic, granulated onion, & black pepper to each bag.
I put the slabs in the bags then poured the cure mix in & massaged it into the belly.
Vacuumed them up & put them in the fridge for 14 days.
Each day I flipped them & gave them each a nice massage.
14 days later, they are ready to see some air.
Next step is to rinse them off.
At this point I suggest you do a fry test to determine the salt level. If it is OK then just continue on to the drying stage.
If it seems too salty to you then just give it a soak in cold water & put it in the fridge for a couple of hours & check it again.
I soaked this one for 8 hours, but that may be too long for most. Actually I think most of the guys just skip this step & don't soak the bellies at all.
I have tried it that way & it's too salty for our liking. So we do the soak thing.
Make sure they are all submerged.
Into the fridge.
Take them out of the water dry them off and the next step is to dry them in the fridge uncovered for 4 days & they are ready to smoke.
Smoker set up for cold smoking.
Hang the slabs in the smoker.
Let her rip! I put a fan on low blowing on the cold smoker with the ash tray open about 1/2 " to get a good air flow going.
I also put a weight on the lid, because it tends to leak some smoke.
Good smoke in the box.
I cold smoked them 10 hours with apple wood, until they had this nice color & what I thought was enough smoke.
Next step back into the fridge for 4 more days.
After 4 days they are ready to slice. I put them in the freezer for 2 hours before slicing them up.
I'm kinda of crazy about slicing the bacon across the grain. As you can see the grain runs in different directions on each slab, so I cut it against the grain until the grain changes then cut it the other way.
Here's 10 lbs of bacon cut up for the freezer & I left some out for a couple of BLT's
I also had some scraps for bean soup.
For the BLT's we like to bake the bacon in the oven.
While the bacon was cooking I bagged up the rest for the freezer.
Oh yea, Judy had to make some bread for the BLT's
Can't have BLT's without good old fashioned white bread.
Bacon is done & out of the oven.
Making a sammie. Toast the bread & add the fixings.
Here it is. A BLT with some homemade pickles.
Ya just can't beat homemade bacon!
Thanks for looking fellas!
Hope you enjoyed the show!