While I understand the site of a dead pig may irk many, and the site of a severed and halved head might make others want to puke, I’m going to make something yuck into something beautiful. It’s universally loved. It’s bacon.
Well, kind of. Bacon, as most know it, is streaky. From the belly, it’s the goods. That bacon come from the belly. Middle bacon? That’s the loin, sliced. But there’s something better.
Something better than streaky bacon, you say? NEVER.
Keep reading, I’m about to blow your mind. I’ve recently embarked on a bit of a journey. I love bacon because it’s delicious and accessible. That’s kind of the reason people love it. It’s easy and delicious.I take issue with the fact that if you want to eat the good stuff, you have to drop a weeks pay, add to the mortgage, sell a kidney. It doesn’t have to be that way. How you say? What did I do? I decided to take the matter into my own hands, that’s what I did.
[Insert dramatic video of executioner axing pig’s head]
I was hoping I could find some gif of a pig’s head being unveiled by a magician. Instead, you get a picture of my incisions on Babe’s face.
So, what is this monstrosity that I’m making? It’s guanciale. It’s the paragon of pig fat, a paradigm of pork porn, the sweetest of swine. It’s like a pillow of pork fat, marbled with meat. The best part is that it’s easy to make, bro. Yeah, bro, it’s about as easy as boiling water. Or toasting bread.
The only catch is that it takes about a week to get it done. Believe me when I say, however, I will not buy bacon ever again (unless at a restaurant, or if someone cooks it for me; I’m not completely insane).
So, I guess this might be the first recipe that I bestow upon you, oh invisible readership!
- Half a pig’s head
- A lot of salt
- A lot of plain sugar
- black pepper
- juniper berries
- bay leaves
Take that pigs face and make an incision as close to the ear as possible. Now, draw an imaginary line down, across the jaw and fairly close to the mouth. Cut down, until you reach the cheek bone. Run your knife down that line and cut the cheek from the bone. Eventually, you will come away with about 1kg of meat. There will be some weird, pebble like glands on the underside of the cheek. Take those off and trim as much of the sinew and connective tissue as you like. Done.
Next, you can make as much of the cure as you like. All you need to do is make sure it’s 50:50 salt and sugar. Add the herbs and spices to the mix, however much you want.
Almost there. Get an open handful of the cure, chuck it in the bottom of a container. Get your cheek, put it on top and put another handful atop the cheek. Put it in the fridge.
Over the next three days, do the same thing, pouring away the excess liquid. It doesn’t need to be perfect, or in every nook or cranny. No need to take away the previous cure either.
On the fourth day, clean the container and cheek. Dry it, put it back into the container; back into the fridge. Three days
later? You have 1kg of bacon for a fraction of the cost and it will taste a whole lot better. Cut it thick, thin, cook the entire thing, I don’t care. Just enjoy your cheap, delicious bacon!