Black Pepper Bacon

November 26, 2014 1:11 am Published by Leave your thoughts

black-pepper-bacon

Black Pepper Bacon

For a special treat during the holidays, why not take the time to cure your own bacon? Using only a handful of ingredients, the hands-on time is minimal, but you will need to let the pork belly cure for 10 days. This recipe yields 3-4 lbs. of bacon to last you during the holidays. This recipe for Black Pepper Bacon is from renowned chef and cookbook author Chef Jennifer Hill Booker. Her new cookbook is entitled “Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent” by Pelican Publishing.

This unique regional cookbook with a French twist is the story of a classically French trained chef embracing her Southern roots. Building a culinary foundation on her farm-to-table concept, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker creates a unique take on contemporary Southern cooking. Combining agrarian approaches and down-home style with classical-French techniques, Booker reinvents Southern cuisine. This unique cookbook is a delicious blend of 135 family recipes with unique stories recounting spending time on her family farm, learning to garden, raise chickens, hogs, and cattle, going hunting and fishing, making sausage, canning, and preserving.

For both the novice and experienced cook, Booker has the perfect recipe to satisfy your nostalgic taste buds. With chapters devoted to everything from breakfast foods to vegetables to pork dishes, Booker presents a fresh and
versatile perspective on contemporary Southern food. From comforting Cracklin Bread and flaky Buttermilk Biscuits to elegant Winter Pumpkin Soup and innovative Fig Stuffed Chicken Livers, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker will introduce you to an array of recipes that use French techniques to elevate familiar Southern flavors.

bacon

Yields 3 to 4 pounds

Curing meat takes time and the right ingredients, one of which is Pink Curing Salt. This curing salt, also known as Prague Powder #1 and TCM, or tinted curing mix, is not to be confused with table salt. It is a mixture of sodium, nitrates, and nitrites that inhibit the growth of microorganisms that can cause food-borne illness. It is colored pink to help distinguish it from salt or sugar, and to blend better with the meats it’s being used to cure. Curing salts can be ordered on-line or acquired from a butcher. No matter what its name, curing salt should be used sparingly, and due to its high nitrate and nitrite levels, never eaten alone.

Black Pepper Bacon Recipe

¼ cup sea salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground bay leaf
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon ground thyme
2 teaspoons Pink Curing Salt, or Prague Powder #1
3 to 4 pounds fresh pork belly

Mix the salt, brown sugar, black pepper, bay leaf, onion, garlic, and thyme together and place in a large flat plastic container with a cover. Taste and adjust the seasoning before you add the Pink Curing Salt. Add the Pink Curing Salt and mix well.

Add the pork belly to the container and spread the cure mix over the entire pork belly, being sure to press the mix into all the cracks and crevices of the belly. Cover and refrigerate for 10 days, turning the pork belly after 5 days.

After day 10, remove the pork from the container and rinse with cold water; removing as much of the cure mix as possible. Discard the mix left in the container.

Pat the pork belly dry, place on a wire rack in a sheet pan, and refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 hours to form a pellicle, or sticky skin.

Preheat the grill or smoker to 300° F using a fire made of hickory wood and charcoal. Smoke the cured pork belly for 1 ½ hours per pound at 200° to 215° F, or until the internal temperature reaches 155° F.
Remove and let the bacon rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate the bacon before slicing to make it easier to cut.

Fry the bacon slices in a hot cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side, or until crisp.

From Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent by Jennifer Hill Booker, © 2014 Jennifer Hill Booker, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

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This post was written by Mr. B.

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