Yep. Bacon. Again. It seems I’ve written about it so much it must be redundant to do so again. But it is not.
The more I work with pork, the more I love it. So versatile. It seems to embrace transformation and elevation while maintaining an undeniable humility. This batch was 10 lbs of skin-on belly from our last pig. My 3 year old [who loves bacon] had a chance recently to meet our local pork farmer I buy whole hogs from, and it made me think: ‘why am I the only guy I know who buys hogs from a local farmer and cuts them myself?‘ I sincerely hope that one day that practice ceases to be deemed ‘odd’ or ‘hardcore’ and instead becomes seen as ‘sensible’ and ‘normal’. Ah, a man can dream.
i could be a vegan, except for the sweet, smoky existance of bacon.
Man that looks great, even raw! I love this idea of making your own bacon, I may have to put it into practice… would just need to source some pork belly.
So do you smoke it then freeze it off and cut what you need when you need it?
Brent – :)
Barry – best source of pork belly is usually a chinese super-grocer of some kind. That was my source for a few years. Next trick is finding pink salt, but that can be bought online if you're having trouble.
And yes – it freezes really well. I cut it into roughly 2lb slabs, freeze it, and we tackle it one slab at a time. It's important to skin it post-smoke/pre-freeze when it's easy to do so if your belly is skin-on.
Love this blog. Found it about 6 months ago and look forward to new entries.
I grew up in Omak and that picture at the top looks a lot like the Okanogan Valley.
Mike – cheers and thanks for the comment. That photo is shot north up the valley from Osoyoos – good eye!
" 'why am I the only guy I know who buys hogs from a local farmer and cuts them myself?' "
I can provide a possible answer to this question! I can!
The average modern day family probably doesn't have time to cook a home meal and have family dinner together, much less harvest and prepare their own ingredients. Not that I think that they shouldn't, but the reality is, most folks work 9 – 5 jobs, 2 parents working.
You are blessed, maybe!
Nice to have you back writing Kevin. I just picked up, and ate, an entire package of double smoked applewood bacon from Old Country and it was fantastic. Your's looks equally delicious!!
Come to the American Midwest, there are a lot of folks who still butcher their own steers, pigs, deer, rabbit, etc. It's a family ritual in a lot of the rural areas. Come help and take home a few lbs…
It may be harcore or weird up there, but no one bats an eye in our butcher shop when someone comes in for a belly to make bacon with — and the shop I go to is definitely not a Gucci butcher…
Litcube – I hear ya, but I suppose the question is one of priorities. For something like butchering a pig, it's a one-day-a-year commitment. If we're talking inability to cook for oneself cause we're 'too busy', that's a social mal.
Chris – apple and bacon. yum.
Anonymous – Glad to hear it! And I would if I could. :)
Hank – belly is sold readily here too in chinese butcher shops, I was referring to cutting a whole animal.