pork

Bready or Not: Cato Home-Cured Bacon

Posted by on Jan 3, 2018 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, gluten-free, pork | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Cato Home-Cured Bacon

We’re kicking off a breakfast theme for a month with a recipe that will step-by-step teach you how to cure your own bacon.

Bready or Not: Cato Home-Cured Bacon

I guarantee this will be among the best, if not THE best, bacon you will have in your life. Fresh really makes the difference.

Bready or Not: Cato Home-Cured Bacon

This recipe is not difficult. In all honesty, the greatest challenge is that the curing bacon takes up a lot of fridge space for about 10 days.

Bready or Not: Cato Home-Cured Bacon

I completely modified this from a Michael Symon recipe featured in Food Network Magazine, March 2014. The only way that I can buy pork belly locally is from Costco (for about $2.69 a lb!), so this is a Costco-sized recipe.

Bready or Not: Cato Home-Cured Bacon

If you can buy a smaller pork belly slab, then just halve the ingredients. Otherwise, buy the big belly and follow all of the steps I provide… which means you’ll have another slab of frozen bacon already seasoned and prepped to cure in a few weeks or months.

Bready or Not: Cato Home-Cured Bacon

After the meat is smoked, slice it up and use it however you want. I find that home-cured bacon cooks much faster than the store stuff, though it can be much thicker, and the bits that look burned aren’t usually burned.

Bready or Not: Cato Home-Cured Bacon

The smoked meat also freezes and keeps for weeks or months. Just thaw it in the fridge when you’re ready, and use it however you wish.

You’ll wish to eat every last morsel. Trust me.

Bready or Not: Cato Home-Cured Bacon

This recipe does require some supplies that you likely don’t have in the cupboard, and might be hard to find locally. Amazon, of course, has everything. I recommend them for buying 2-gallon zipper bags as well as pink curing salt (plus, you get enough salt to last through the apocalypse). Note that pink curing salt is essential here because it has salt and sodium nitrate, which keeps the meat pink and kills bacteria. Normal salts don’t pack that wallop.

 

Bready or Not: Cato Home-Cured Bacon

Bready or Not: Cato Home-Cured Bacon

This recipe uses a 9-10 lb pork belly slab like those found at Costco, and cutting that in half to cure part now and the other part later. If you have a smaller pork belly, halve these ingredient amounts and go from there.

Note that you need 2-gallon re-sealable plastic bags to hold the meat, and pink curing salt; neither is likely found in local grocery stores, but they are on Amazon. You cannot substitute other salts for the pink curing salt! The pink type is necessary for the curing process.

Full preparation time on this includes about 9-10 days in the fridge: about 7 days to cure, and 2 days for it to dry, followed by the day of smoking.

  • 9 to 10 lb pork belly
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons pink curing salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup paprika (sweet or smoky)

Cut the pork belly slab in half and rinse and pat dry both pieces. Place them in separate re-sealable 2-gallon plastic bags.

Mix together the spice rub. It'll form a thick paste. Roughly divide it into quarters, and use a quarter on each side of a pork piece. The rub will be very lumpy. Don't worry about a perfect, even coating; the pork will release juices and the flavors will seep in during the curing process.

Close both bags, pressing out as much air as possible. Freeze one bag for later; as a precaution against holes getting torn in the bag, wrap it well in plastic wrap, too. When ready to start the curing process for this half, add another day or two to the curing time in the fridge to account for thawing time.

As for the ready piece of pork belly, set that bag in the fridge for the next 7 to 10 days, until it feels firm. Flip the meat once a day.

Remove the pork belly from the bag. Rinse it well and pat it dry. Set it on a rack on a small cookie sheet in the fridge and let it dry for another two days. No need to flip it at this point.

Set up your smoker at 200-degrees. Applewood chips are a great choice, but maple and hickory are fantastic as well. Smoke the pork belly for about 3 hours, until the bacon reaches an internal temperature of about 150-degrees.

From this point, slice and cook the meat as you would regular bacon, but note that this fresher, homemade variety will cook much faster. Use plastic wrap or plastic bags to store the sliced meat in the fridge for upwards of a week, or freeze for up to 2 months.

OM NOM NOM!

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Bready or Not: Cato BBQ Rib Rub

Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 in Blog, Bready or Not, gluten-free, healthier, main dish, pork | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Cato BBQ Rib Rub

Today I’m providing my personal favorite, tested-a-gazillion times rub recipe for pork ribs.

Bready or Not: Cato BBQ Rib Rub

How you cook the ribs is up to you. My husband has a smoker, so he smokes these things for hours for delicious, succulent results.

Bready or Not: Cato BBQ Rib Rub

However, using this rub, you could barbecue ribs on a grill, or bake them in the oven. The choice is yours!

Bready or Not: Cato BBQ Rib Rub

The amounts stated in this recipe will cover about 5 pounds of meat. If you have leftover mix that hasn’t been in contact with raw meat, jar it and save it for later. You can also double or triple the recipe with that in mind.

Bready or Not: Cato BBQ Rib Rub

I have made this with several types of paprika. I favor smoked paprika, but all kinds worked well. I have also made this with fresh oregano and dried. You could certainly substitute or add other herbs, too.

Bready or Not: Cato BBQ Rib Rub

Whenever I find ribs on a good sale, we use this recipe. It’s one we often make for when company comes over, too. Everyone leaves full and happy!

Bready or Not: Cato BBQ Rib Rub

Bready or Not: Cato BBQ Rib Rub

A Bready or Not Original! This rub mix will cover about 5 pounds of your favorite pork ribs; baby back ribs are excellent. If you have leftover mix that hasn’t been in contact with raw meat, jar it and save it for later! You can double or triple the recipe with that in mind.

To intensify flavor, rub the meat and stash it in the fridge for a few hours before cooking.

  • 2 Tablespoons paprika, any variety
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano or 1/2 Tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon ground coffee
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Combine rub ingredients well, making sure to break up any clumps. Coat the meat, front and back.

Cook ribs as desired: smoke, grill, or bake.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not: Cato BBQ Rib Rub

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Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Verde Pork Loin

Posted by on Mar 2, 2016 in Blog, Bready or Not, crock pot, main dish, pork | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Verde Pork Loin

Since March is all about green, let’s start off the month with some colorful meat! This verde pork loin recipe, originally posted at the Holy Taco Church, creates delicious and versatile protein.

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Verde Pork Loin for Tacos & more

My slow cooker is one of my best friends, a friend that cooks up loads of food to feeds us for days. It works miracle when I’m writing on a deadline. This meat recipe reminds me a lot of posole, that luscious green Mexican stew.

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Verde Pork Loin for Tacos & more

This dish, though, focuses on the meat. This lets you be flexible. You can eat it on a plate with a vegetable side. Or on a salad. Shred it in tacos, burritos, or in a nice oozy quesadilla. Throw it on a Mexican pizza, or load it on nachos.

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Verde Pork Loin for Tacos & more

With good, tasty meat, you can find your bliss in many ways.

Plus, this is great to freeze in a larger dish or in personal portions. Make it last as long as possible!

 

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Verde Pork Loin

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Verde Pork Loin for Tacos & more

This slow cooker recipe takes minutes to prepare and makes a delicious pot of green, shredded pork. It’s awesome in taco shells, tortillas, salads, quesadillas, enchiladas, Mexican pizza, etc. Freeze leftovers for later enjoyment!

  • 3-4 pound boneless pork loin (shoulder works, though it's much fattier)
  • 1 15-16 ounce jar salsa verde (green salsa)
  • cumin
  • salt
  • pepper
  • yellow or white onion

Slice onion and place it in bottom of crock pot. Trim excess fat from pork and place it atop the onion. Sprinkle with cumin, salt, and pepper. Pour the full jar of salsa over the meat.

Cook in crock pot for 8 to 10 hours on low, or 4 to 5 hours on high. About 30 minutes before eating time, shred the pork. Make sure it's all submerged in the sauce and keep on warm setting until meal time.

This verde pork is awesome in taco shells, tortillas, salads, quesadillas, enchiladas, Mexican pizza, etc. It makes for happy leftovers, too.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not: Slow Cooker Verde Pork Loin for Tacos & more

 

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