I have pork belly.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned the awesomeness that was the birthday I got from my fabulous dude a few months ago. It’s crazy cool! He built me a charcuterie fridge. Seriously! He repurposed an old refrigerator, added some temperature controls and humidity control, and now we can have homemade charcuterie!
Doing this sort of project at home can be pretty daunting because charcuterie is all about temperature and humidity. It’s not as simple as just hanging up a slab of meat in your garage and crossing your fingers, at least not if you live in a warmer climate! A lack of proper tools is why I hadn’t really gotten into it before now. Sure, I’ve had fun at home doing fast cures and tons of smoking, but the real stuff has been pretty out of reach. Luckily, before this I’ve been amazingly fortunate to work for restaurants who have made their own charcuterie. Having already had tons of fun in the meat curing department, the trick now is figuring out how to replicate the process at home on a tiny scale!
It’s almost impossible to describe how exciting this is.
The only thing holding up the project since the appearance of the charcuterie fridge has been the cost of meat. However, on our way back from Awesome Dude’s sister’s house, we stopped at Berkeley Bowl, which, for those of you not familiar with the experience, is basically the most popular place you can buy groceries in the bay area. The one in Berkeley is insane. Wall-to-wall cool people and trendy families plus about a mile of bulk food options packed into maybe 100 square feet. Sometimes going in there can feel like a sort of National Geographic hipster-watching safari.
Innocently walking through, minding our business and not asking for trouble in any way, suddenly we realized that there were slabs of pork belly on sale! For a ridiculously low price! Naturally, we grabbed one, and I’m now sitting on a couple of pounds of pure, unadulterated raw pork belly. Does life get better than this?
...I'm now sitting on a couple of pounds of pure, unadulterated raw pork belly. Click To Tweet
It’s decision time! What should I make? Which recipe should I use? Do you guys have any favorite recipes for curing pork belly?
The simple answer is homemade bacon, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what I’ll wind up making. I could cure the pork belly in the style of lardo, which I love. Then, of course, there’s pancetta! Who doesn’t love pancetta? If bacon does turn into the inaugural project, there are still a ton more decisions left to make! Smokey? Spicy? Sweet?
This is almost too exiting.
After this, we’ll have to slowly work our way through the list of charcuterie I’m dying to try. Prosciutto! Duck prosciutto! Coppa! Bresaola! The list is endless!
Does anybody out there have experience making charcuterie at home? I’d love to hear from you!
Do you have any favorite recipes for curing pork belly? Click To Tweet