It’s been awhile since we tackled a big pork belly and converted it into bacon. But with all these new outfits putting out cured meats in Austin these days we figured it was time to wade back into the fray and show and prove.

Pork is in our blood. Our bacon lineage goes all the way back to the early part of the 20th century when our granddaddy Jim Sullivan began farming in southeastern Kentucky and set about raising hogs, cattle, tobacco, peacocks and children.

He grew successful and made a name for himself for Polled Milking Short Horns cows and Duroc hogs. We’ll discuss the Polled Milking Short horns at a later date but for now we’ll concentrate on the Duroc.

This hog can attain a good size and can do so quickly on a smaller amount of food than other swine breeds. This would have been a very attractive trait to farmers in Kentucky in the lean times of the early 20th century. Around the first frost in Appalachia is hog killing time, the animal is rounded up, dispatched and butchered with the hams and belly put into cure and hung in the smokehouse.

As kids we loved peering into this mysterious, odd smelling structure in the backyard. We knew this was where the bacon came from but that was about the extent of our knowledge of pork production.

We just liked to eat it.

Last week we secured a 10.35 lb Berkshire pork belly from Bryan Texas with the intent of converting this hunk of meat into a batch of bacon.

We thought long and hard about the theme of the bacon. There are a thousand different directions you could take this project but we settled on doing it New Mexico style.

We’ve never heard of Hatch Chile Bacon so perhaps this product will be a first.

As the week goes along we’ll continue a documentation of this project along with photos and the formula we followed.

our handmade bacon project

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