O my gosh ... have you tried making your own bacon??? I finally tried it because I have had several pork bellies from butchering our Kune Kune pigs, sitting in my freezer waiting for me to get on the ball and make bacon. I found an incredibly simple way to make delicious bacon without all the "junk" and I wanted to share it with you.
This is the recipe I used ...
5 pounds of fresh pork belly from your grocery store, the pork guy at your farmers market, or from a local butcher shop
2 ounces (1/4 cup) Morton or Diamond Crystal coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons pink curing salt # 1 (I didn't have this so I used Himalayan pink salt)
4 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper (I used white pepper because the black does not agree with me)
4 bay leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice ... I had moreno sugar on hand at the time)
5 cloves of garlic smashed with the flat side of a chef's knife
2 tablespoons juniper berries, lightly crushed (optional)
5-10 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
Put your belly in a 2 gallon zip lock bag, or on a sheet tray, or in a plastic container. Rub the salt and spice mixture all over the belly. close the bag or cover with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator for seven days (get your hands in there and give the spices another good rubbing around midway through)
After seven days take it out of the fridge, rinse off all the seasonings under cold water and pat it dry.
Put it on a sheet tray and put in the oven (put it on a rack on the sheet tray if you have one) and put the oven on to 200 degrees F. If you want to preheat the oven, that is fine too. Leave it in the oven for 90 minutes (or, if you want to measure the internal temperature, until it reaches 150 Degrees F).
Let it cool and refrigerate it until you are ready to cook it. But, I know ... you won't be able to wait!! So, cut off a piece and cook it. Taste it, savor it! Congratulations!! It is bacon!!
If you don't have five pounds of belly, either guesstimate salt based on the above, or if you have a scale, multiply the weight of the belly in ounces or grams by .025 and that's how many ounces or grams of salt you should use.
Because we have Kune pigs, there is a lot of fat and it took a little getting used to. Now, however, I love it and am so grateful for bacon without all the unhealthy things in it.