One of my original goals with this blog was to show you how to make the seemingly immposible in a small space happen. I live in Brooklyn, in a large apartment building with poor air circulation, in a little kitchen and I smoked my own bacon. It took over a week to get the smoky smell out (more on that later), but I made it happen and you can too. Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. Always remember that.
Bacon pastrami with bacon mustard – I almost find it hard to believe I finally made this dish. Believe it or not but I dreamt up this combination more than a year ago, it was going to be my entry into the 4th annual Brooklyn Bacon Takedown. Then I found out I had a wedding to go to. A orthodox-Jewish wedding to attend. Oh the irony, me wanting to take a classic jewish deli dish and baconizing it and yet not being able to because I had this wedding to attend.
Fast forward one year later, the wedding was beautiful, the couple is happy and enjoying their first wedding anniversary and here comes the 5th annual Brooklyn Bacon Takedown. I am in this time (after threatening all friends to not get married in October ) and this dish has not left my memory.
All throughout the event I had people asking if this was slab bacon and yes in a way it is, but better. The premise is quite simple and while the entire process takes a week, it’s mostly hands off time. Purchase some good quality pork belly, cure it for a week, rub it all over with pastrami spices, smoke it, steam it, slice it, slather it with homemade whole grain mustard with bacon bits in it and eat it. Take the leftovers and fry it up with some eggs.
If you are the person that always asks for the fatty cut at Katz’s then this is for you. It’s decadent, fatty, moist, peppery and every bacon lovers dream.
Oh and incase you are curious how I did at the Takedown, I came in second place for judges choice but my real win of the night was when Tyra Banks came back to my table for seconds. Yeah, that’s right, this was not a typo. Tyra “Smize” Banks was there and she’s a fan.
- 2½ tablespoons kosher salt
- 1¼ tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon curing salt (pink salt)
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 tablespoon pickling spices
- 1- 2lb boneless pork belly, skin removed
- ¼ cup coriander seeds
- ¼ cup whole black pepper
- ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- ½ cup yellow mustard seeds
- ½ cup brown mustard seeds
- 1 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ lb bacon, cooked and finely chopped
- In a medium stock pot, add the kosher salt, brown sugar, pink salt, garlic and pickling spices. Fill halfway with water and bring to a simmer. Whisk to make sure the kosher salt and brown sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Place the pork belly in an airtight container and pour the cooled cure over. Discard any extra liquid, cover and place in the refrigerator. Store for 6 days.
- After 6 days, discard the liquid and pat dry. Return to the fridge uncovered and let dry for 24 hours.
- Using a spice grinder, grind the coriander and black pepper until coarsely ground. Mix together in a small bowl with the smoked and sweet paprika. Rub all over the pork belly.
- If using an outdoor smoker, prepare as necessary.
- If using a stovetop smoker, place the wood chips on the bottom (you can use any type you have on hand), replace the inner rack and then the second rack to elevate the meat. Cover and turn the heat to medium. Once the smoker begins to smoke (should only take about 1 to 2 minutes, carefully open the cover and place the pork belly on the rack). Cover tightly and smoke for 40 minutes.
- Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
- After 35 minutes, uncover and pour 1 to 1½ cups of water on the bottom rack (you want enough to cover the bottom but not touch the pork), cover the smoker again and steam in the oven for another 30 minutes.
- Carefully remove and let cool before slicing.
- At about the 4th day of the curing process you should start to make the mustard. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the mustard seeds and apple cider vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit over night or up to 24 hours.
- Once the vinegar has been completely absorbed by the mustard seeds transfer to your food processor, add the white wine and salt and process until your desired consistence (if you want a smooth mustard, let it go for awhile, if you like the bite of the seeds, only pulse a few times).
- Transfer to a glass jar or container and place in the refrigerator to develop the flavors.
- The day you plan on serving, cook up the bacon, finely chop and mix in with the mustard.
I almost forgot to tell you why my apartment smelled like a smoke house for a week! 1) I promise if you make this, it shouldn’t (hopefully?) happen to you. My reason, I made 20 pounds bacon pastrami in about a 4 hour time period. There was a lot of smokiness going on. I doubt you’ll be making this much, but even so, open the windows and get the vents going.