In Defense of Bacon + A Recipe for Homemade Bacon

Poor, poor bacon. Such a bad wrap in most western countries. My Chinese broze n’ hoez inhale pork belly and most fatty meats without batting a lash and they still have bangin’ bodz. Food here is preferred fatty, as it produces more flavor than say, lean, boneless, skinless chicken breast. Boooooring. 

Remember at the end of last year when cured meats were believed to be cancer-causing? Yeah. That sucked. What sucked more was all vegetarians being like, “told u so blah blah blah”.

Welp. I genuinely have no idea where to start with this, so I’ll just summarize it in one sentence followed by a disclaimer:

THERE ARE AN ENDLESS AMOUNT OF FOODS/THINGS THAT CAUSE CANCER.

That’s as real as it gets. And as someone who’s come from a long line of family members that have both lost the battle to cancer or survived it, it’s clear to me that food can be both your enemy and your home girl when fighting the good fight. 

Woah. That was really deep for a bacon recipe.

Before I begin, just know that your opposing opinion is unwelcome unless you are a vegan/vegetarian that eats 100% organic with food sourced locally when possible. If you care about food at all, you will understand why these credentials are beyond necessary.

If you’re one of the GMO-inhaling-soy-burger-eating-daiya-cheese-using-carbohydrate-overloading-sugar-hungry “vegans”, carefully forget that you stumbled upon this blog, because it’s clear you have no idea what type of eating habits you’ve adopted, not to mention the lack of attention you paid to the phaaaaaat list of ingredients on your “tofurkey”. 

Ugh. My eyes can’t roll hard enough.

Firstly, my opinion is unbiased because I have at some points in my life adopted a 100% vegan diet that was organic and local. I know what it takes to not eat animals/animal products, as I still practice veganism a few meals weekly.

A few questions to consider before we knock red/cured meats:

  • How was the animal raised?
  • What was it cured with? Nitrates? MSG? 
  • Was a processed form of sugar involved?
  • Was it dyed?
  • Are there preservatives in it?
  • What’s the shelf life?
  • How often am I eating red/cured meats?
  • Is it produced by a factory farm?
  • Did the animal have any quality of life at all?
  • What kind of cancer will be caused? (Srsly don’t fuck with me on this question. You can’t just say “That causes cancer.” and not be able to back it up with the kind of cancer it causes.)

These questions apply not only to red/cured meats, but to every single item you consume that is not organic. Bread, dairy, fruit, vegetables, drinks, frozen foods, grains, flours, spices etc. The list is endless unless your diet is 100% organic. I just can’t stress it enough.

Now let’s go back and take a look at what “organic” means. Is it a fancy word? Nah. Is it a new concept? Hell nah. Is it a trend or buzzword? Sadly, yes. But! It doesn’t have to be. 

Before industries and factories controlled what we ate *cough* Monsanto *cough*, ALL FOOD WAS ORGANIC. And it wasn’t called “organic”. It was just called food. This isn’t new, and the ignorance that goes into calling someone out for trying to eat organic and local is beyond me. It doesn’t make you a hipster or a snob for wanting food that was raised and grown without poison. Especially when the farmers responsible for cultivating it are paid fair wages. 

In short. Give bacon-eating dudes like myself a rest. Killing is killing and blah blah blah. I feel you, PETA. But moderation is key. 

End rant.

So now, for the bacon. The reason we’re all here. 

Homemade bacon is one of the easiest most hassle-free recipes out there. For a completely as-basic-as-it-gets-recipe, you just need two ingredients: pork belly and sea salt. 

The basic rule of thumb is this: 1 tablespoon of salt for every pound of pork belly you have. Got 5 lbs of pig? Use 5 tablespoons of sea salt. Boom.

I gave a few references here on why the fat that comes from the piggy can be good for you. Again, in moderation. 

The downside of making bacon in China is me lacking a smoker. However, in my humble little hutong kitchen, I have an oven that does me plenty of solids. Thus resulting in me using the low-heat baking method as opposed to smoking it. If you have a smoker, smoke dat shiii. If not, whatvez. 

Here’s my sweet, salty, and spicy recipe for homemade bacon:

Homemade Bacon

Makes 8-10 Servings (of two thick-cut slices)

Ingredients

  • 1kg organic, free-range pork belly

Cure Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons salt 
  • 1 tablespoon paprika 
  • 1/4 cup honey or sweetener of choice 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic power
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Tools Needed

  • time, 7-10 days
  • large ziplock bag
  • oven or smoker 
  • meat thermometer

Curing Your Homemade Bacon

1. First, rinse your belly, then pat it dry. Leave the skin on, it’ll come right off after it’s done smoking/baking. 

2. In a small bowl, add all of the curing ingredients together. Mix it up until everything is perfectly submerged and there are no clumps in your honey. 

3. In a large enough ziplock bag, slide in the pork belly, and then begin to drizzle your cure over the meat. Do your very best to cover every last bit of the belly in the cure. You’ll want to do this in the bag so you don’t lose any of the cure in a separate bowl. 

4. Once all of the cure is in the bag, get all of the air out and seal it up like so.

5. Put it in a safe place in your fridge and turn it once a day or so for 7-10 days. Try to give it a little rub down to distribute the cure evenly. 

6. You should notice around day 5 or 6 that your bacon will have started to become more firm. Just poke it from the outside of the bag. 

7. You’ll want to take it out when it is firm to the touch, which can happen on day 7. Sometimes a little longer. 

8. On the last day of curing, take your pork belly out of the bag, discard the cure, and give it a good rinse. 

Cooking Your Homemade Bacon

1. Pat it dry and let it rest for a few hours if you can before smoking or baking. This will help the salt redistribute for a better cure when it’s cooking. #science 

2. About 20 minutes before you’re ready to cook, preheat your oven to 200 degrees F. Place the pork belly on your baking rack and bake it until the internal temperature reaches 150F. Bake for about 1.5 hours, not testing until your oven timer is up. If the internal temp hasn’t reached 150F, just bake for another 15-20 mins.

3. Your bacon is almost complete! Take it out of the oven, either slice or peel the skin off, leaving on as much fat as possible. Let it cool.

4. Next, put your baked belly in the fridge to let it firm up. Maybe 30mins to an hour. 

5. Finally, your bacon is done. Slice it up as thin or as thick as you’d prefer. Do a dance and add it to whatever your life calls for. Eat it while driving, bring it to a movie, or encourage it to run for president. It couldn't possibly do as bad a Trump.

I suggest playing with whatever flavors you like, like this c00l d00d. My first time, I rubbed it down with coffee grounds and black pepper. Shit waz da kill.

Notice how it's not bright pink and slimy. Gross. That's what non-factory farm bacon should look like.

I just made breakfast. And then gave it a kiss. 

Did you dig this recipe? You got your own flavorz you prefer to use when curing meats? Leave them in comments below and share dis like it's hot, hot, hot!