With a trip up to Northern New Jersey to visit my parents last weekend, it gave me the opportunity to buy some products I do not normally see or can obtain easily where I currently reside- one of them being Pork Belly. So since I had the opportunity, I decided to give it a go.
With this particular piece, I decided “hey, why not try making my own bacon.” and so I did.
First things first- curing the meat. I’ve read different literatur on curing and salts and there are those specificaly designed for such an instance as to keep the meat a particular color (in this case it would be a pinkish color). Personally I like the all-natural look nor do I have curing salts so I used my mortar and pestle and ground up some of my Moroccan sea salt. I mixed this in with some brown sugar and then poured in some aged whiskey. I took this mixture and brushed it all over both sides of the belly (sort of formed a glaze) and then placed the piece in a 1 gallon ziploc and put in the refrigerator.
Every other day for 1 week I flipped over the bacon. On day 7, I took it out and washed it off in cool water. I then put it on a rack over a tray back in the fridge (fat side up) to dry over night.
On to the good part. I lined a roasting pan with aluminum foil and tossed in a few handfuls of Western Pecan wood chips and some water. I then layed the rack over the pan as to give space between the chips and the meat. I then formed a triangle of foil over the meat (as to not come in contact). I set the oven to 200 degrees and before placing this in the oven, I put the covered pan on the stove top for a quick 2 minutes on high heat to garner some smoke in/around the pork belly.
The belly was then cooked for about 6 hours at which it got up to temperature (150 degrees). I then let it cool down and then wrapped with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil.