Homemade bacon. I didn’t know it was possible. I just figured it came from either a small farm or an industrial plant. I don’t remember how exactly I got my hands on Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’s Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, but it was inevitable, and I read that I could make my own bacon. A life changing moment, really. And easy. Really easy, and the scraps made pork salt – another thing I thought only came out of some industrial wasteland as a byproduct that only the truly poor or insane would want. Charcuterie has the playbook for sweet, breakfast style bacon; savory bacon (think pasta sauce, collard greens or whatever could use some pork flavor) and the salt pork (which the Grub Blogger uses to flavor beans, soups, stews, etc.). So, with 100% credit going to Ruhlman and Polcyn, here is my Brooklyn Bacon.
For this example of porky love, I went to my favorite cooking resource, Cook’s Illustrated. I recommend that anyone interested in home cooking subscribe to their website at http://www.cooksillustrated.com/. The beans come out sweet and smoky, with a supporting pork flavor from the salt pork, and small bites of toothy pork from the bacon. This is an inexpensive, easy way to get the most out of white beans, which can be pretty bland. Although usually a side dishes, I will eat these on their own for a small, but very satisfying dinner. This will destroy the Pork ‘n Beans in your supermarket canned foods aisle. The beans absorb all the flavors as they slowly become tender, but the slow cooking keeps each bean pretty much intact, giving a nice layer of texture to the final dish.