Handfuls of red, ripe New Girl tomatoes and Black Krims just picked from the kitchen garden. Along with a motley mix of red and green leafy mesclun.

Soft, plump pan de sal rolls just out of the oven. Made from scratch.

Crisp strips of bacon. Cured with the sweetness of maple and bourbon. Cured at home.

These are the makings of a great meal, in our book.

You know it’s summer in our home when there are BLTs in the kitchen: home-cured bacon with homegrown lettuce and tomatoes in homemade pan de sal. These BLTs are our summer tradition, our first taste of our proudly homegrown tomatoes, our way of warmly welcoming the season’s sweet bounty.

 

New Girl and Black Krim Tomatoes

 

Home-cured Bacon Recipe
Recipe adapted from The New York Times

2-1/2 pounds pork belly, squared off, rind removed
2-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons bourbon or apple cider

Place pork belly in a large Ziploc bag. Add salt, maple syrup, and bourbon. Rub the cure into the pork belly, turning the bag over and over while pressing the cure into the meat. Close the bag, squeezing out as much air as you can and refrigerate for seven days. Each day, flip the bag over and press the cure into the meat.

After seven days, wash the cure off the meat, rinsing thoroughly. Pat the bacon dry with paper towels and set it on a rack over a baking sheet. Allow the bacon to air-dry in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Roast pork belly in the oven to an internal temperature of 150 degrees F, about one to one-and-a-half hours. Chill bacon well in the refrigerator, then slice thin or thick to preference or cut into chunks. Bacon will keep for three weeks in the refrigerator and three months in the freezer.  To store wrap bacon in parchment paper, then wrap in plastic wrap or foil and place in a Ziploc bag.

 

How to Cook Bacon

How to Cook Bacon

Lay out slices of bacon on a baking sheet, fitting as many as you can without having them overlap each other. Place the baking sheet in the oven. Turn the oven on to 425 degrees F.

Bake the bacon to the desired crispiness. Start keeping an eye on them after about 15 minutes to avoid burning. Use a flat spatula to lift bacon slices, then pour the bacon fat into a small bowl for future use or for proper disposal after it has cooled and has hardened.

 

Bacon Lettuce and Tomato

  • Chris J

    Maple cured bacon should be a standard in any Filipino kitchen, the cultural penchant toward sweet being such an imperative. Looks good! Big fan of homemade!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Yes, Filipinos have an insatiable sweet tooth from sweet spaghetti to sweet pork — tocino.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, my mouth is watering, lol! I have never used pork belly in my life or even seen what it looks like, so I need to ask a stupid question: what does “squared off” mean, please?

  • Anonymous

    And this this the week I decided to go Kosher!
    http://www.arthur-in-the-garden.com

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Not a stupid question at all, Susan. Squaring off the pork belly means trimming the edges so that they are nice, clean, and straight. Here are some images from America’s Test Kitchen where they show skinning and trimming the pork belly.

    http://www.americastestkitchenfeed.com/do-it-yourself/2012/02/how-to-make-pancetta/

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Change of plans?

  • Anonymous

    Well…maybe for this! :-)

  • Anonymous

    Gosh that looks sooo good! You must have a micro-climate up there in the hills because we’ve only gotten one tomato off our plants. I love this cured bacon recipe- much simpler than the one I’ve tried before which required smoking. You can guess what we’ll be eating this sweltering weekend! Thanks Jun!

  • http://thehungrygiant.net/ TheHungryGiant

    the tomatoes look really great but the bacon just takes the cake!

  • LC

    a lot of recipes call for pink salt. is the bourbon in place of that? Did your bacon have a weird color? Other recipes make it seem like you must use the pink salt so I am definitely interested in trying your method.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    The original recipe calls for adding pink salt. Adding nitrates is optional. I personally do not use pink salt. “Bacon is cured in the refrigerator, then slow roasted, and finally cooked again before serving. It is not being consumed as a raw, cured meat, so the use of a nitrate is a personal decision.” Here’s a link to the original New York Times piece about homemade bacon: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/28/dining/the-art-of-making-your-own-bacon.html?ref=dining

  • Candy Villaluna

    Can I use vanilla infused vodka or rum instead of bourbon?

  • http://www.defiantlyhealthy.com Defiantly Healthy

    Greetings! I LOVE this recipe and i’ve made a variation of it for the past three years. It never disappoints! I shared the recipe on my blog just in time for St. Patty’s Day this year. http://defiantlyhealthy.com/2014/03/05/homemade-corned-beef/

    Thank you!
    Stacie