Mmm… Homemade Bacon

We had a 3 pound piece of belly leftover from the pork belly with mustard greens we did the other day in the pressure cooker.  I’ve done homemade bacon before but this time I wanted to try it with the pink salt cure.  This one sat in the fridge with a cure of brown sugar, kosher salt, and a little pink salt.  We applied the cure as a dry rub, bagged it it plastic and let it go for a week, turned over daily.  Here it is after the week was up, rinsed and air drying.  Overnight drying is best but 4 hours will do.After the slab dried it was rubbed with maple sugar and coarse black pepper and placed into the smoker at 175 degrees for a few hours.  It still hadn’t reached an internal temp of 150 but I didn’t want it too smoky so it was finished in the oven indoors.  It was cooled to room temp, bagged in plastic, and put back into the fridge for another overnighter.It wants to be chilled for easier slicing.  One of the benefits of home curing is that you can slice it as thick as you want it.  I’m a little disappointed in what Kroger sells as “thick sliced”.The maple sugar in the finish turns a nice crusty caramel color when frying.  I have one more half slab of pork belly in the freezer, I’m tempted to pull it and start more bacon.

Candied Bacon with Cayenne

I was at Balloon Juice last night and a commenter mentioned “candied jalapeno bacon” but never answered my plea for a recipe.  I went to teh Google and found a recipe or two but they didn’t seem all that.  I was of a mind to do the candied bacon thing again so I puttered about in the kitchen this morning for a while.I dredged some peppered bacon through some pancake syrup, sprinkled on some maple sugar, and dusted the strips with cayenne.  I had a few rashers left over after covering the tray so I popped those into the microwave atop a cushion of paper towels.  Mrs J had those with her breakfast this morning.  The microwave worked pretty well, I kept giving them and extra 30 seconds and lost track of the time but they came out fairly crisp.  Mrs J said they were fine.The rest spent some quality time in a 425 oven, I gave them 15 minutes and then turned them over, sprinkled a bit more sugar and returned them for another 15 minutes.  The oven was starting to get a little smoky so I pulled them and let them cool a bit.  I turned the oven down and returned them for another few minutes until they crisped enough to suit me.I think they turned out very well, and the cayenne was just the touch extra that they were needing.  Mrs J announced herself ready for lunch so I made her a quick BLT.All-in-all an enjoyable morning in the kitchen.  I guess I need to start thinking about dinner…

Maple Sugar Glazed Bacon

Am I the last person in the world to hear about this?  I casually mentioned I cooked some bacon in the oven in a thread at another venue and a comment there linked to a Google image search for “candied bacon”.  The pictures there made me go straight to Amazon to order some maple sugar.Sprinkle some of the maple sugar (brown sugar also works) on sliced bacon laid on a rack over a foil lined baking tray and pop it into a 400 oven for 15 minutes.  Flip the bacon over and sprinkle sugar on the other side and give it another ten minutes or so.This stuff is sweet enough to crumble atop a bowl of ice cream.  My brief perusal of the recipes that a “maple sugar” + “bacon” Google search yielded gave me hints of several variations on the basic recipe.  Some mentioned a mustard/sugar mix, others spoke highly of cinnamon as an addition, and more yet called for cayenne pepper.  I may be busy tomorrow!