Bone-in pork belly is not something we regularly see in the butcher shops we haunt but we were on a remote farm in Madison County, Alabama when we scored the meat, and the rules are a mite different in those parts.
Beginning in 1971, Henry Fudge has authored an intense Duroc hog breeding program near the Tennessee border of north Alabama, and by many estimates is producing the finest pork in all of the U.S.
Recently Fudge went with a new slaughterhouse and in all the madness that comes with breaking in a new butcher he received a score of pork bellies that had not had the bones removed.
We’re always looking for a fresh challenge so we were happy to take two of the bone-in slabs off Fudge’s hands.How To Cure A 10lb Bone In Pork Belly
1 each 9.65lb bone-in pork belly (4377.14 grams)
Cure #1 (at 6.25% nitrite) 10.93 grams
Salt, Kosher 77.3 grams
Now it’s time to smoke your belly. We have a cache of all sorts of woods that we’ve scored from area farms. In this instance we used dry-cured Louisiana pecan from old growth trees that were chopped down about five years ago.
Now it’s time to slice your belly. If this belly was boneless, we’d use a friends industrial-grade Hobart slicer but with the bones still in it we recommend using a boning knife or a chef’s knife. Be careful, and take your time so your slices are precise
At the end of the project it looked like we had a big pile of bacon ribs.
We’ve been pulling one rib at a time out of the freezer and using it for our daily bacon needs.
Sliced off the bone in thick planks it goes really well with fried eggs and Texas toast for breakfast.
Cut into lardons, and sprinkled across mixed greens with bleu cheese dressing it approximates health food (at least in our kitchen)
This bacon makes world-beating breakfast tacos
It would be impressive to serve a rib ‘as is’ in a restaurant setting
Each rib weighs roughly a pound so one would make a fine cudgel
We’re saving the bones and throwing them in our bone bowl for stock making
This belly has produced plentiful delicious lard that we use as a medium to cook popcorn in
It would also make an excellent bacon fat mayonnaise recipe
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