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Curing at Home: Complete

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Sep 9, 2009 3:40PM


Isn't that pretty? After two weeks of curing, dry aging, smoking and slicing we now have 8 pounds of pancetta and bacon. The pancetta (pictured above), was ready for slicing and cooking. Here's something we discovered: For the bacon we had considered doing an applewood smoking of the bacon. Instead we went with hickory. For that, we set up our bullet smoker (a Weber Smoky mountain is ideal, we have a Brinkman bullet smoker) to reach a temperature of 120 degrees and smoked the bacon for 2 hours. You don't want the bacon to cook during the process, so try to keep the temperature constant.

Here's where the basic principles of Gary Wiviott's Low & Slow techniques come into play. Smoking meats, like all good barbeque or charcuterie, cannot be rushed. In the case of adding smoke to pancetta to create bacon, what amount of smoke you add to the meat is determined by your own personal tastes. We just wanted enough smoke there to complement the flavor of the cure.

Curing pork belly is easy to do at home. If you decide to dive in, get creative with the other spices you add. The Spice House has a nice recipe for five-spice pork belly. Maybe you want to add paprika or maple syrup to your cure. Or use very aromatic herbs like rosemary or sage.