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Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects


Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects Cover





Makes about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds

Time Commitment 8 to 11 days

Nothing could be simpler than makin bacon, the king of all fried meats. How many “vegetarians” have you known who just eat the periodic slab of crisp sautéed hog fat? I rest my case. Bacon is God. To cure your own bacon, plan and shop for ingredients well in advance. You might need to special-order the pork belly from your local butcher or grocery store. You can order curing salt from online retailers such as; I recommend Insta-Cure #1. In this recipe, I offer three ways to smoke the bacon. If you go the liquid smoke route, use only the real stuff: fake liquid smoke has an unappealing chemical taste. If you choose to smoke the meat on the grill, youll need some hickory sawdust, which is available in smoking stores or through online retailers. Once the bacon is ready to eat, note that it will be easiest to slice thinly–a must if you like crispy bacon–when it is partially frozen and your knife is very sharp.

Prep Ahead Have on hand 3 tablespoons of real liquid hickory smoke or 5 cups of hickory sawdust, depending on the method youve chosen to smoke the bacon.

2 1/2 to 3 pounds pork belly

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses

2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon curing salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions Rinse the belly and thoroughly pat it dry. Trim off any thin edges so that the piece is one long rectangle. (You can save these excess pieces of belly for making sausage or lard.)

In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the molasses. Then mix in the 2 tablespoons of salt, curing salt, and pepper and rub it evenly into the meat (like a relaxing, porcine spa treatment). Place the meat inside an oversize sealable plastic bag and lay it flat in the refrigerator for 7 days, massaging the liquids that will amass through the bag and flipping it daily.

After 7 days, inspect your bacon. It should be firm to the touch all over, like touching a cooked steak–a sign that it has been cured. If the flesh still feels spongy and soft in spots, massage the meat again with an additional 2 tablespoons salt and check it again after 1 or 2 days.

Once the bacon is fully cured, discard the solids, rinse the meat well, and pat it dry.

The next step to giving bacon that familiar flavor is the addition of smoke.

Fastest: Roasting and Liquid Smoke Preheat the oven to 200°F. Place the belly, fat side up, on a rack over a roasting pan and roast for 2 to 21/2 hours, until the interior temperature of the meat reaches 150°F. Gently brush the liquid smoke over the entirety of the bacon, covering both sides evenly.

Slowest: Smoking on the Grill Refer to “How to Smoke,” page 60. Smoke the meat, fat side up, using a 5-cup packet of hickory sawdust, for 3 to 5 hours, until it reaches an internal temperature of 150°F.

Best of Both Worlds: Smoking and Roasting This is my preferred methodology, because I love the flavor of the smoke but often lack the patience for a full grill session. Start smoking your meat, and do so as long as youre able–at least 2 hours is really ideal. Smoke it until you get sick of babysitting the grill and tending to the coals. Finish the meat on a rack over a roasting pan in a 200°F oven until it reaches 150°F inside at its thickest point.

Fry a slice of the bacon and taste. If it needs more smoke flavor, brush a thin layer of liquid smoke on both sides of the slab.

Whichever method you use, when your bacon is ready, slice it as thin (or as thick) as you like it and fry, over medium-high heat, until browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels and enjoy.

How to Store It Bacon can be stored in large slabs, in precut hunks for flavoring beans or other dishes, or in slices, in layers between pieces of parchment paper, and sealed tightly in a freezer storage bag. Refrigerate up to 10 days or keep frozen up to 3 months.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Meagan Hofmeister, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Meagan Hofmeister)
Who doesn't want to make their own bacon, ferment cabbage, and can jam?
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sarahgilbert, September 14, 2009 (view all comments by sarahgilbert)
this book is both satisfyingly broad (pickles! bacon! crackers! pasta! jam! limoncello di crema!) and disappointingly shallow. with a title like "jam it, pickle it" I expected quite a few more jam and pickle recipes. three jam recipes (and one "curd") and four pickle recipes is a bit of a let-down. what's here sounds fabulous -- I'm off to secure several pounds of fresh olives this fall for my own cured olives, and I'll try many of the liqueur recipes -- and the photography is stunning and will, I'm sure, inspire many a reluctant jam-pickle-curer.

the big drawback of this book is that it embraces an out-of-the-grocery-store philosophy and yet skips many of the important lessons (there's no talk about eating the the seasons, for instance, nor can a budding home preserver have a clue how to deal with large quantities of, say, fruit off a backyard tree, or an *entire* salmon, despite the rather oddly titled chapter, "hunt it") and suggests using many grocery store ingredients, like canned tomatoes (even though canning one's own tomatoes is, in my opinion, preserving 101). the book is inspirational and cute and crafty. a bible of preservation methods it is not. most definitely belongs as a coffee table complement to a very robust preserving library.
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(17 of 21 readers found this comment helpful)
Carmen Rigby, July 28, 2009 (view all comments by Carmen Rigby)
Love this book! Worth every penny!
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(14 of 26 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

Solomon, Karen
Ten Speed Press
Martine, Jennifer
Methods - Canning & Preserving
Canning and preserving
Canning & Preserving
Cooking and Food-Preserving
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9.40x8.10x.90 in. 1.67 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Methods » Preserving
Featured Titles » General

Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$24.99 In Stock
Product details 160 pages Ten Speed Press - English 9781580089586 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I've planned my summer around this book, and I can't decide what to pickle, jar, or cure first. Solomon teaches you how to infuse your own spirits and make your own lemon curd, graham crackers, ricotta, mustard, and marshmallows! Detailed instructions for every imaginable kitchen project make this a perfect guide for every culinary do-it-yourselfer.

"Review" by , "tips so flavor-boosting..., they made us want to snub the squeeze bottles filling our fridges."
"Synopsis" by , Food and crafting enthusiasts look forward to the weekends to create, experiment, and stock the pantry with handcrafted edibles and gifts. For creative urban dwellers, the kitchen is a workshop space, and Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects is its how-to guide.

This savvy collection of 75 recipes for creating homemade artisan foodstuffs features delicious projects easy enough to be completed in one to two days. Detailed instructions, prep-ahead tips, shopping lists, and optional extras outline the shortest route between crafty cooks and a pantry full of hand-labeled, better-than-store-bought creations.

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