When we got our half hog from Snake River Farm Minnesota, it came with the largest pork belly I’ve yet seen from our own pig. This baby was 10 plus pounds, enough for two batches of bacon. Yahoo! I let the belly languish in my freezer for almost a year before finally hauling it out to defrost. I tend to delay making bacon until the fall because there’s bacon, we eat it immediately. We like bacon. A lot. Also, the fall harvest starts soon and we need to make room in the freezer for our next half hog.
My garden is still full of fresh herbs, so I created a four herb cure for a 5 pound belly. I combined the classics of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (sing along!), with garlic, pepper, salt, sugar and curing pink salt. The belly is rubbed with this mixture then slipped into a ziplock bag to cure for a week, flipping daily. When the belly is stiff, the cure is rinsed off, then the belly is hot smoked until it reaches 140 degrees. Savory bacon, at your service!
If you want to make bacon at home, ask your local meat counter or butch for a fresh, whole pork belly. If they don’t have them on hand, most will be happy to order them for you. Find pink curing salt online at Butcher and Packer. Once bag will last you years and only cost a few dollars. Making bacon at home is easy!