Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Red Wine Bacon, a thinking man's recipe

So it would appear my business partner thinks you want foie gras, gold leaf and half a hundredweight of pomp and circumstance with your bacon. Personally I like to think you lot are a little more sophisticated then that. I mean does chef Dominic really think people want bacon that looks like something Mr. T would wear on a chain around his neck? Do you really want bacon that's as spangly as P-diddley's trousers?  I think not.
In all seriousness though I think the bacon Dominic made is magnificent and it's going to be fabulous for an event I'm hoping to organize in the near future, but more on that in a later post.
What you really want is some seriously grown up bacon, you want bacon that's moved on from the breakfast table to take it's rightful place at dinner. You want the kind of bacon that makes people really rethink what bacon is all about, you want red wine bacon.
That's right, I said red wine bacon, amazing winey, garlicky, baconny goodness that takes bacon to a whole new level.


1 pound of pork belly (Ask your butcher to remove the skin at the time of purchase)
1 1/2 tsp Morton's kosher salt
1/2 tsp curing salt #1 (sometimes called Pink salt #1 or Prague salt #1)
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp of brown sugar
2 tbsp of garlic powder
1/2 cups red wine

1 /12 cups of red wine
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp brown sugar

!. Throw your dry ingredients into a large ziplock bag (I like Glad Zipper locks, but do you boo, most heave duty ziplock type bags will work)
2. Add your wine to the bag and shake thoroughly so the wine is well mixed with the dry ingredients.
3. Put your pork belly in the bag, force as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing and place the sealed bag in the fridge.
4. Store the bag in the fridge for between 1 and 3 weeks to cure, turning the bag over daily to ensure even curing.  I recommend erring towards longish curing times when working with red wine try for at least 10 day to allow the wine to get right in there.
5. Making a glaze, put your glaze ingredients into a sauce pan and and simmer until the red wine starts to thicken and look syrupy.
6. Remove the now cured belly from the bag and rinse under the tap, allow to dry for about a 1/2 hour before smoking
7. I like to smoke over a hickory and apple wood mix between 220-240 degrees, allow about 45 minutes per pound, double that if it's below freezing out. Coat with wine glaze when you put it in, turn the belly over at the half way mark and re-glaze.
8. Remove from the smoker and refrigerate for 24 hours before slicing. (Do not skip this step!!!)

Cooking:  As I mentioned at the beginning this bacon is more at home at the dinner table then at breakfast, though I've found fun ways of including it at breakfast also, there are lots of interesting ways to cook it, when you fry it it turns a deep winey red as it cooks and the wine flavour is very distinctive.  My favorite way to prepare it is to put it over top of a chicken breast in the oven, just cook the chicken as you normally would and lay the bacon on top of it before you put it in the oven, the wine flavour will spread through the chicken in the most delightful way.

I've also enjoyed chopping my wine bacon into lardons and frying them up to throw on top of salad, you have to do something to help salad. ;)

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