Bacon is, I think, one of the staple foods of mankind. Is there anyone in the world who can resist the smell of sizzling bacon? I know people who are vegetarian… Except for bacon. People who gave up being vegetarian… For bacon. An alien from outer space might wonder why – in the era of freezers and food flown to us in airplanes – we would possibly resort to the ancient preservatives of salt and sugar, but surely one bite and they would understand?
This makes it more surprising that I’ve never tried to make it myself. But, when a friend handed me a pot of sodium nitrite and said I wouldn’t look back, I decided to give it a go. I’ve had a large slab of pork belly curing in my fridge for the last week, and we unwrapped it and had some for breakfast this morning. I can honestly say it was the best bacon I’d ever eaten – better by far than the stuff from the local butcher or the farmers market, never mind the pallid, slimy wafer thin slivers that the supermarket calls bacon. It was so good that I ate every bit and completely forgot to take any post-cooking photos! So, to make up for it, I hot smoked a good chunk of it to be sliced into lardons and eaten in a salad, of which I do have some pictures. It was a real hardship….