Bacon.. the most glorious of foods.
I’m not kidding, actually.
I know everyone is all bacon bacon bacon lately.. bacon is to 2012 like tofu was to 1992.
(I wasn’t the only one extolling the virtues of tofu in 1992, was I? That was my “I’m a vegetarian” year. Anyone who knows me now, thinks it the HEIGHT of hilarity to think of me as a tofu eating, bean sprout munching, hemp wearing granola crunchy.. but I was.. and I occasionally pull out my chandelier earrings and long flowing skirts and dance in the rain.. shaddup.. it’s true. I’m a dichotomy, okay? sheesh)
Aaaanywho…. bacon.. let’s just all agree that the world has gone bacon crazy. The humble pig belly magically transforms into amazing tasty treats.
When I found out that the From Scratch Club launched a DIY school and there would be a class on curing bacon at home.. well…
I might have just lost my shit for a minute or two.. and then promptly signed up.
In case you haven’t noticed, if I can make something from scratch, I am totally going to do it. If it can be done, I want to try it. I blame my youthful obsession with Laura Ingalls Wilder.
The Little House Books, not the TV show.
(okay.. and the TV show.. I’m only human after all).
The class was held at the Arts Center in Troy. I got there 15(ish) minutes early and wandered through to the kitchens where Erika and one other person (whose name I forgot.. sorry other person! blame the bacon fumes) were waiting. We chatted a bit.. and waited for other people to show up. There was supposed to be 8 people.. by quarter past the hour, only *two* other people showed up.. WTF people? it’s BACON? What sucks is I guess there was a waiting list and four people who *prepaid* didn’t show.. RUDE.
(does anyone else giggle at the word “nipples”? It’s not just me, right? Nipples.. nipples… nipples)
What never ever occurred to me, is that when you buy a big ol slab of mammal tummy with the skin still on, well… it has nipples..you just acknowledge the nipple and move on.
We all got out hunk of pork belly (mine seriously lacking in nipples) and Erika showed us how to rub on the cure. Here she is doing “Jazz Hands”
Isn’t she adorable? Totally a rockin’ cool chick.
We all smashed the cure and seasonings on to our pig tummy and popped it in plastic bags to take home.
Meanwhile, Erika cooked off some of the bacon she brought and we all had a sample.
You know those 4 other lame-ass people who didn’t show?
I ate their share.
Class was such a fun time. Erika definitely knows her stuff, answered all kinds of questions (I think most were mine- I’m inquisitive) and a most excellent time was had by all. We left with a hunk of belly, an instruction booklet, book recommendations, sources and a swag bag that included a mason jar to mix our cure in at home.
After class, I headed over to the From Scratch Club food swap with my bacon safely tucked away in my car. (The swap is another post all together.. long story short.. get yourself a “swap curious” ticket and check it out)
After a week, my chunk of pig was ready to come out of the cure. It was super firm by then..
I popped it in the oven and roasted it in a 200 degree oven until it hit 150 degrees. (yes, I *know* the thermometer says 149 degrees. Chill out..it’s called carry over… it got there in less than a minute)
I cut the skin off, sliced that bitch up and threw it in my new cast iron pan.
Where I promptly overcooked it. Cast Iron gets HOT.. I ate it anyway.
Homemade bacon is so incredibly different than store bought. It’s *meaty* it tastes like *meat* and not crispy fat only.. not that I don’t like crispy fat but there is something so fantastic about ripping into that cured hunk of pig..
I have plans to get to Rolf’s Pork store on Saturday to buy a slab of belly. I can’t wait to make more of this.. I have my pink salt all ready to go..