03 Dec2008

Homemade Bacon!

by Marketman

bacon1

The day I read this simple recipe in my subscription copy of Saveur, I knew I would have to try my hand at making bacon at home. From the Monterey meat counter at Metro Grocery Market!Market!, I purchased a pork belly from one half of a large pig carcass. I had this cut in half and the bones removed and I proceeded with the Saveur recipe by coating the cut of pork belly with spices, salt, sugar, etc. I didn’t have carraway seeds so I omitted them (but try to get them if you make the recipe) and added a touch of paprika for color and flavor. The pork belly was then put into a large zip-lock bag and placed in the refrigerator for a week, turning the bag over every other day…

bacon8

After a week, I removed the pork belly, washed off the coating on the outside of the pork belly, then dried it off with paper towels. I then placed the belly on a sheet pan and placed it in a 200F oven to bake for a couple of hours.

bacon6

After the two hours of slow baking, the pork belly looked like this photo above, and I can tell you, instinctively I knew this was a winner. It SMELLED good.

bacon7

Next, the instructions said to carefully remove the skin of the belly, then cool the meat and place it in the fridge for it to firm up. Once it is cold, it can be easily sliced.

bacon2

I made a thick first slice (the end of the belly) and thinner slices next. The meat looked a pale pink, and without any nitrates in this bacon, you could say it was all natural in a sense…

bacon3

Fried up it gave off an incredible bacon aroma and the taste was just terrific. For the minimal amount of effort and the delicious results, this recipe is terrific and definitely a keeper! I found these slices of bacon to be almost just right spice wise. A touch salty, but bacon is supposed to be salty. If you prefer it a bit sweeter, add sugar. Thank you again, Saveur!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. myra_p says:

    MM, can you post the actual recipe? Anything that brings me one step closer to a completely msg/nitrates/food coloring/additive-free diet is greatly appreciated!

    I bet you if you smoked this and cut extra-thick slices, it would be just like the “double smoked bacon” appetizer/side dish at Robert’s steakhouse in NYC…

    Dec 3, 2008 | 8:54 pm

     
  2. Marketman says:

    myra, recipe is in link embedded in the post. Just click it to get the Saveur recipe… thanks.

    Dec 3, 2008 | 9:03 pm

     
  3. maryjoan says:

    I second the motion myra! MM, i’ve been looking for a good bacon recipe without the nitrates. just wondering if the pork cut into bacon slices that are sold in the grocery is acceptable for this recipe? thanks!

    Dec 3, 2008 | 9:03 pm

     
  4. Marketman says:

    maryjoan, you need to cure a whole piece of pork belly, not slices. Recipe in link…

    Dec 3, 2008 | 9:05 pm

     
  5. myra_p says:

    Eek, posted without re-reading… I see the link now, thanks :)

    Dec 3, 2008 | 9:18 pm

     
  6. maria says:

    wow! i would make fried rice with that yummy bacon fat. i’m bad, sorry

    Dec 3, 2008 | 9:23 pm

     
  7. joan says:

    hahaha myra i was so excited looking at the photos, i too missed the link! thanks again MM.

    Dec 3, 2008 | 9:28 pm

     
  8. Ellen says:

    I have been waiting for this post since you mentioned bacon making a few days ago. Thanks, MM! I will surely try.

    Dec 3, 2008 | 9:35 pm

     
  9. Jun says:

    Thanks MM, I will definitely try this. I love bacon when I was a kid but I seldom have it nowadays because of the nitrite. Hmmm….I can smell it alreasy :)

    Dec 3, 2008 | 10:16 pm

     
  10. Jun says:

    Hi MM, just a suggestion If you want too lessen the saltiness just poach it in water under low heat for a few minutes, this should extract the salt and hydrate the bacon slightly, but only do this just prior to using it. This will be good on pasta.

    Dec 3, 2008 | 10:35 pm

     
  11. Vanessa says:

    Yum and nitrite-free! :-)

    Dec 3, 2008 | 10:40 pm

     
  12. cheesehead says:

    or add honey! Honey might give it a nice hint of sweetness.

    Dec 3, 2008 | 11:56 pm

     
  13. betty q. says:

    Nitrites…BEGONE!!!!!! that is what my baby boys will say!!! I will make this as my week-end project. I am sure it would be more DEADLy if it was smoked as myra_p said…I have smoked quite a bit of salmon…on the stove MM, you can smoke it too…heavy duty baking sheet…wood chips scattered on the bottom…over low fire ,,,heat resistant cups or small bowls in four corners, a small cooling rack above it and then your cured bacon on a small tray so drippings don not fall on chips. Cover with foil…you might need to open the windows or if your smoke alarm is close by, turn it off first (remove battery ) or guys, flick that switch in your circuit breaker for a while! OR Do this in your barbecue grill….or NOT…2 hours propane!!!

    Dec 4, 2008 | 12:01 am

     
  14. betty q. says:

    …I meant heavy duty baking pan NOT sheet…one of those that is as heavy as cast iron!

    Dec 4, 2008 | 12:03 am

     
  15. flip4ever says:

    Was googling Saveur and came across this slideshow online — where they presented 13 exotic seasalts:
    http://saveurmag.com/gallery/Exotic-Sea-Salts/
    and 2 out of the 13 were from a company in the Philippines – http://www.philippineseasalts.com. Have you heard of them or tried them MM ?

    Dec 4, 2008 | 1:07 am

     
  16. nina says:

    The picture is enough to convince me that it’s good! Yummy… I miss bacon. Once in a while we are to able buy bacon from Pinoys who have access to the US bases but it’s been months since the last time we had bacon…

    Dec 4, 2008 | 1:19 am

     
  17. dhayL says:

    another way to enjoy the goodness of pork belly! thanks MM

    Dec 4, 2008 | 1:53 am

     
  18. Maria Clara says:

    Save the clear gold – the dripping oil good in fried rice and sauteed bagoong. Your slab of bacon and incorporate Bettyq’s smoking idea is really worth a gold bullion!

    Dec 4, 2008 | 2:32 am

     
  19. joseph says:

    can liquid smoke be added in the curing process to give it a smokey/hickory taste… i saw bottles for sale here in a nearby supermarket…???

    Dec 4, 2008 | 3:01 am

     
  20. estella says:

    i haven’t eaten bacon with caraway. i sure ill give that a try since i have a small bottle of caraway in my pantry. i often make bacon cured in a lot of sugar and salt since that reminds me of tocino…

    Dec 4, 2008 | 3:11 am

     
  21. shane says:

    mm, whatever did you do with flavor packed pork skin? I would settle for the deep fried to a crisp pork skin with mounds of steaming rice and mang tomas(although a poor sub for homemade liver sauce). Just a thought, I am almost certain the cured pork with less salt in the mix would taste superb prepared a la lechon kawali. Deep fry the pork after baking. Has anyone tried this? I guess it’s time to experiment…

    Dec 4, 2008 | 4:16 am

     
  22. marilen rodriguez says:

    Pork belly seems to be the ‘in’ food in NY, LA and elsewhere! been featured in all the food and fashion magazines lately, just saw the latest incarnation in the january 2009 issue of town and country – to think, we pinoys have been enjoying all manner of preparation since bygone days.

    Dec 4, 2008 | 4:24 am

     
  23. linda says:

    Looks like a winning recipe.Everytime I buy bottled bagoong,I always saute it with lots of bacon, garlic,onions,chillies and green bellpepper and talagang madaling maubos.My Aussie husband loves this bagoong with his karekare and he eats it more than I do.

    Now I have to go and buy a slab of pork belly from my Asian grocer and try this recipe. Thanks,MM!

    Here’s another quick recipe,saute onions,bacon,cabbage and sprinkle 2 tbpn caraway seeds,salt and pepper – this goes well with bratwurst,corned beef,any kind of meats.Enjoy!

    Dec 4, 2008 | 5:49 am

     
  24. Maria Clara says:

    They also use bacon bits in coffeecake, scones and breakfast muffins.

    Dec 4, 2008 | 6:01 am

     
  25. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Wow MM!! It’s 7am and my tummy is growling just looking at those pics. This is a must try!! But bad bad bad for my and hubby’s cholesterol….but so good. Must try so can have some in time for my daughters’ arrival. Tried your roasted chicken in a previous post and itss sooooo good!! Thanks again MM !!

    Dec 4, 2008 | 7:01 am

     
  26. lee says:

    my third favorite vegetable.

    Dec 4, 2008 | 7:34 am

     
  27. betty q. says:

    Lee..I think mas masarap if it’s sun-dried…your third favorite vegetable!

    Dec 4, 2008 | 8:03 am

     
  28. RoBStaR says:

    oh no.. not another swine…. I give up… i give up…I cooked lechon#3 for thanksgiving… and I think my body is screaming no more. It literally took me all of friday to digest the swine..and just to verify that my body was screaming no more…. I ate a lil more lechon on friday nite after I recovered… lo’ and behold.. took me all of saturday to digest it.
    Hell, you onl live once.. maybe I’ll make this and feed it to my friends…
    Thanks for the recipe MM.

    Dec 4, 2008 | 8:43 am

     
  29. bijin says:

    I clicked on the link to find out which issue of saveur it’s in since I keep almost all my issues though I hardly cook from them. wow, canning tuna is in that issue too but sounds complicated and intimidating! might try the bacon. thanks for testing recipes for your readers!

    Dec 4, 2008 | 8:43 am

     
  30. Ley says:

    We will definitely try this MM. I have a feeling that since this is homemade, hubby will have less cholesterol issue on this one. hehehehe…

    Dec 4, 2008 | 9:15 am

     
  31. Lee says:

    hi bettyq…. sundried and fried!

    Dec 4, 2008 | 9:19 am

     
  32. Lani says:

    I love this, one of my favorites.

    Dec 4, 2008 | 10:18 am

     
  33. Quillene Petite says:

    This looks easy enough to do, not to mention mouthwateringly-artery-cloggingly delicious…

    Thanks MM! and for Bettyq, I have never tried smoking anything in the oven yet. Hopefully my mom will not chase me out of the house if I try this…mura na ang LPG… bka pwede ko na palitan ang isang tangke pag naubos ko… hehehe… Any good brands for heavy baking pan to do this in you could recommend?

    For MM, Here in Manila, where could you get good wood chips? Which variety would be good to use? Thanks…

    Dec 4, 2008 | 11:16 am

     
  34. Zerho says:

    wow thanks for the recipe! ill try making it… didnt realize bacon is quite easy to make…takes a long time though..

    Dec 4, 2008 | 11:18 am

     
  35. Quillene Petite says:

    BTW, where can I get fennel and caraway seeds? Tnx.

    Dec 4, 2008 | 11:34 am

     
  36. johnny says:

    This is great! i wanna try this at home.
    marketman, you had just remind about your email last dec 2’08.
    I just want to know how to prepare the toppings (cured pork) not the ramen noodles.
    tnx…tnx…tnx..

    Dec 4, 2008 | 12:02 pm

     
  37. Tings says:

    Thanks very much!! This is much easier than Alton Brown’s recipe!

    Dec 4, 2008 | 12:12 pm

     
  38. RoBStaR says:

    Petite,

    try cherry, apple or hickory woodchips.. Anything else would be too strong and are usually meant for pulled pork, ribs, and beef briskets.If you’re smoking outdoors, try wood chunks instead of chips, they last a whole lot longer.

    Dec 4, 2008 | 12:48 pm

     
  39. wahini says:

    MM, i remember reading in a previous post about vanilla beans from davao. do you have the name and/ or contact information for that source? thanks!

    Dec 4, 2008 | 1:46 pm

     
  40. wahini says:

    speaking of vanilla beans and smoking, once the bean has been scraped and dried it can be cut up and thrown into the wood chips. the aroma gives the food a sweetness that you can’t get from just sugar.

    joseph: be careful with the liquid smoke as many of them have a very strong chemical taste, making it quite plasticky rather than smokey. a friend of mine uses liquid smoke when she cures her bacon, but her word of caution is to use it carefully as too much will give the plasticky taste.

    Dec 4, 2008 | 1:57 pm

     
  41. joey says:

    This is wonderful! In an ideal world we would all be making our own bacon and eating it too! :) I am definitely trying this one day…

    MM, went to Bacchus in Power Plant last night…MEOW!!! I was all over the Le Creusets (they’ve got the Doufeu!!!) and C had his head stuck in the meat freezer! I sure hope Santa stops there before going to my place :)

    Dec 4, 2008 | 2:04 pm

     
  42. Quillene Petite says:

    parang i envision going up to baguio for a few days to hibernate and cure the bacon and smoke this in the picnic area with the smell of whatever pines are left at john hay….

    i miss the old days when camp john hay was still really honest to goodness CAMP JOHN HAY…

    Dec 4, 2008 | 3:18 pm

     
  43. Marketman says:

    joey, I know EXACTLY what you mean, Santa’s sleigh would be overweight with pots and pans, knives and doodads, not to mention a few bottles of bubby and porterhouse steaks if my wish lists came true… :) wahini, cool, thanks for that idea, I never thought to put the vanilla pods into a smoker. wahini, I only get the beans at the retail level, so I don’t have the manufacturer’s name… quillene, Flavors n Spices at Market!Market! will probably have the fennel, not sure about caraway, but ossibly an Indian store might have it. Zerho it takes a week of curing in the fridge, but otherwise, no effort during that time. Quillene, I have seen wood chips in hardware stores like Ace or True Value, but I didn’t smoke this bacon, just baked it. Smoking would bring it up a notch I think! Ley, you and hubby will love this.. bijin, I SO WANTED to do the canned tuna, as fresh tuna is plentiful in Manila, but I don’t have the low pressure bottler they describe. I love tuna in olive oil so I may have to figure something out anyway… Robstar, have lots of vegetables in between swine… marisse, glad the roast chicken recipe worked for you! MC, I would not have thought to include bacon in muffins, OMG, that is so smart! linda, make sure you get a FATTY piece, it helps with the flavor! marilen, no kidding, some fancy dish at Boulud for $45, liempo lang pala! :) shane, pierce it with a pin and deep fry it in hot oil once or twice to make a new kind of chicharon… talk about DEADLY! estella, the caraway will just add a hint of flavor, the seeds are actually washed off before you bake it. joseph, I have never used liquid smoke… flip4ever, I haven’t read the salt article yet, but I have tried at least two chi-chi packaged hilipine salts and I like them a LOT. bettyq, with somoking the next time I make this for sure! Thanks! cheesehead, yes, good honey is a definite yes! Jun, that sounds like a good idea… for mixing with veggies, I just add the bacon as is and don’t add salt to the whole dish… it makes the saltiness just right! Ellen, enjoy it! MyraP, gotta try the smoking…

    Dec 4, 2008 | 3:29 pm

     
  44. Quillene Petite says:

    THANKS MUCH, MM! THANK YOU TOO, ROBSTAR!

    Dec 4, 2008 | 4:41 pm

     
  45. Lex says:

    Quillene Petite, you can get fennel from where market man said. You can also find it it Assad (Indian Grocery) in UN Ave. fronting Unilever or Jupiter St. (Makati Branch. Marketman, caraway seeds are often available in the spice section of Unimart-Greenhills.I ordered them from the US but only to find them in Unimart. They have a very good spice section compared to all the supermarkets.

    For fellow bloggers, you can access Saveur recipes by going to their website: saveur.com. You can access the bacon, ensaimada and everything else.

    Dec 4, 2008 | 5:19 pm

     
  46. mojito drink says:

    omg that looks awesome! btw, what do you do with the skin?

    Dec 4, 2008 | 8:02 pm

     
  47. Gay says:

    Wow MM, I can’t this bacon out of my mind!

    Dec 4, 2008 | 8:25 pm

     
  48. Mila says:

    For those wanting to buy vanilla pods, Katrina sent me an email that Pia Lim-Castillo is selling vanilla pods grown and processed in Mindanao. I think the pods are only P120 a pod ($2.50), you can reach her through this phone number: 729-3265 or 729-5413.

    Dec 4, 2008 | 8:51 pm

     
  49. lee says:

    what did you do with the skin?

    Dec 4, 2008 | 9:09 pm

     
  50. Marketman says:

    You can deep fry the skin for pork cracklings, but I have to be honest and say I took the skin to the crew’s kitchen and didn’t ask what they did with it… it could have been thrown out, but I would like to think it was enjoyed in a bam-i they made later that day… :(

    Dec 4, 2008 | 9:36 pm

     
  51. betty q. says:

    Hay, MM!..SMoked Pork Cracklings in MONGGO SOUP!!! …deadly! I would highly recommend it to Lee…but I forgot…vegetables like monggo is not in his vocabulary!!!..hahaha ..Lee!

    Dec 5, 2008 | 2:16 am

     
  52. wahini says:

    thank you for the contact mila!!!!

    Dec 5, 2008 | 4:10 am

     
  53. lee says:

    hi betty q. I like monggo a lot specially with pork of course.

    Dec 5, 2008 | 7:18 am

     
  54. Quillene Petite says:

    Thanks Lex and Mila!

    Dec 5, 2008 | 8:21 am

     
  55. Jun Bautista says:

    I can’t wait to try this…..BTW, I saw a feature once on the Science channel showing how a commercial operation cures bacon en masse, and the one thing that stands out is the use of Liquid Smoke – they don’t even do the actual smoking, it just gets sprayed on for the flavor, as well as color. Maybe I’ll try to one batch in my smoker and another with Liquid Smoke – thanks for the pointing out the recipe, MM! Can’t wait for your Bourdain episode to air!

    Dec 5, 2008 | 9:31 am

     
  56. sunflower says:

    Ok…there will be a shortage of pork belly in the supermarkets, I can tell… :)

    Dec 5, 2008 | 10:53 pm

     
  57. greasemonkey says:

    yum! i’ve been curing meat for a while now and this version without nitrates (prague powder 1 or 2, salitre/saltpeter) sounds fantastic! i’ve been following this blog long enough to know that when MM says it’s good, it’s going to be great! =)

    Dec 6, 2008 | 10:23 am

     
  58. greasemonkey says:

    oh, and the derivatives really do count for something in this recipe! both the rendered oil and the ‘chicharon’ are worth the trouble by themselves! you know what’s going on my market list for tomorrow! =)

    Dec 6, 2008 | 10:26 am

     
  59. jadedfork says:

    Saveur is actually one of my favorite food magazines, and I was very intrigued with this article.

    I’m curious about the shelf life though–i.e. how many days would we be able to to keep it in the fridge?

    Dec 6, 2008 | 11:21 am

     
  60. Melizza says:

    Thanks MM! Im definitely doing this. I still might have time to make some to give as xmas goodies!
    I’ll be buying my pork belly at the mall tonight. Would you know where I can buy caraway seeds around QC? Thanks again.

    Dec 12, 2008 | 4:09 pm

     
  61. Chad says:

    Okay, my bacon curing has made it to the 7th day mark today and Im really hoping this to be good. BTW, Earle’s delicatessen carries caraway seeds. The store I was in was in Makati, Buendia across RCBC.

    Dec 17, 2008 | 3:19 pm

     
  62. Ellen says:

    My bacon has been chilling with the spices for seven days now. I will bake it tomorrow. Unfortunately, I also cannot find caraway seeds even at Uni-mart. ‘Will keep you posted on the results.

    Chad, thanks for the tip. I will try to go to Earle’s before my next bacon experiment.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 10:10 am

     
  63. Ellen says:

    My bacon turned out to be salty with very pronounced rosemary flavor. I guess I need to try this again.

    Dec 20, 2008 | 7:23 pm

     
  64. Jun says:

    Hi Ellen, poach it in water for a few minutes. Then add a dash of sugar pag prinito mo with just a small amount of olive oil. The bacon itself will produce a lot of oil.

    Dec 22, 2008 | 8:48 am

     
  65. Ellen says:

    Thanks, Jun!

    Jan 5, 2009 | 3:28 pm

     
  66. paul says:

    uhm just wondering when you’re dry-curing the meat..it produces..no its more like secretes liquid out of the meat….am i going to take the liquid off the meat…cause i dry-cure it and placed it in a plastic container not in a ziplock bag…and am i supposed to rub salt to the meat every two days again and again until up to 10days

    Apr 8, 2009 | 11:45 am

     
  67. paul says:

    and yeah where could i purchase these wood chips cause ive read that apple/hickory wood chips are the best for smoking but idk where to find it

    Apr 8, 2009 | 11:47 am

     
  68. Dale says:

    Tried this out, and everything looked great.. until I baked it. Baked it at 200 degrees, and one hour into baking, the skin looked charred and it fat drippings were black. Sunog. Wonder what went wrong. Haven’t tried it yet, waiting for it to cool.

    Apr 21, 2009 | 12:09 pm

     
  69. Marketman says:

    Dale are you sure you used an oven at 200F, (fahrenheit as opposed to celsius?) as indicated in the post above? The oven shouldn’t be too hot at all, and certainly there should be no charring whatsoever. The only think I can think of is that the oven was way too hot. At 200F, I dry out tomatoes, which don’t char whatsoever… If you used 200C, that is closer to 400F and that would indeed result in a charred piece of belly after an hour or two. :(

    Apr 21, 2009 | 12:35 pm

     
  70. Cecilia says:

    What a wonderful blog! I don’t know how I could’ve missed this. Found it through the BLT article. And alot of wonderful tips from the comments! I should be trying this next week … My husband likes to put bacon in biscuits and cornbread, sometimes with feta as well. Very yummy! … And yes, I think I will be making bite-size chicharon with this for tapas parties. Oh, dear, my stomach’s getting so excited now. Gotta make that BLT now. Thanks!

    May 7, 2009 | 5:22 am

     
  71. Rico says:

    Excellent! Will ask wifey to do this! My online friend Glenda mentioned making homemade bacon, and I asked her to post about it, but she never got to. Great!

    May 7, 2009 | 12:01 pm

     
  72. nina custodio says:

    i will try this next time!!!

    May 15, 2009 | 9:41 pm

     
  73. maja says:

    MM,

    I tried this recipe and it turned out great. It tastes like a deli type bacon (without the nitrate) and a mild Italian sausage. Two great dishes if you ask me. You’re right, delicious results but minimum effort. The most difficult part in making this dish is the 7-day wait.

    Aug 5, 2009 | 2:22 am

     
  74. jo says:

    Question for ms. betty Q

    Someone Wrote Amout Smoking tinapa usinh kawali then put rice & Sugar could i also do these for smoking meat (Homemade Bacon)

    If it can
    how mAny cups of rice & Sugar could i use
    Do i use Slow mediun heat & wait til the rice to burn & sugar start to smell
    how long would i smooke it in low heat.

    for the dripping of fat did you put you bacon on a tray then put it on top of the cooling rack or did you put the tray on top of the wood chips
    & thr pork on cooling rack

    Dec 12, 2009 | 4:35 pm

     
  75. perry says:

    I think this is a great recipe and I would love to try it since my kids love bacon. But I was just wondering is it possible to remove the oven/baking part cause I don’t have an oven here at home. Or can give me any suggestion to replace the oven part? Also is it in the freezer or just in the chiller for 7 days..thanks a lot.

    Feb 10, 2010 | 10:48 am

     
  76. eat3 says:

    Just tried this recipe (well not the complete recipe, didn’t use the fennel, bay leaf and garlic, added cinnamon powder instead). After 5 days in the chiller I drained the liquid, felt that the liqiud slowed the process. Added a little more salt and spices. After 8 days instead using the oven- I smoked it using an improvised smoker/bbq grill (w/ mesquite smoke chips in foil-bought the wood chips from true-value, good thing it was on sale). Froze it and cut it (easier to cut frozen). Fried it this morning for breakfast-(with eggs from our own chicken) it was really good. I will never buy overpriced, water and chemical injected bacon from the groceries again. I feel like Hugh from that River Cottage show.

    Nov 6, 2010 | 9:43 am

     
 

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