As previously mentioned, this weekend is about doing massive amounts of homework, making some butter, and curing some bacon. I figured, let me start by finding some place around here that sells pork belly. Easier said than done, but I located someone.. off I go on a 30 minute drive to Van Nuys for some pork belly. I wouldn’t exactly call Van Nuys sketchy, but it’s definitely sketchy adjacent (Panorama City, I mean you.).. So I arrive at my destination, purchase said meat, then get the hell out of dodge.
I go to the store that I last saw curing salts.. and they no longer have them. (sad face goes here) I research online and find out there’s a place in San Gabriel, which is like a 40 minute drive from Burbank… I call and she says, ‘Hey. I’ve got a location closer to you!’ and proceeds to send me to Arcadia.. which is a 35 minute drive (in the other direction from Van Nuys).. but they close in an hour, so I hop in my car, hit the freeway, stop and go for a bit.. but make it to the store, Claro’s Grocery, in time. HOWEVER, they do not have any at this location. (angry face goes here).. they quickly call the other location, tell them I’m on my way over, and to hold some curing salt for me.. 20 minutes of annoying traffic later, I get my curing salt kind of. They didn’t have pink salt.. but they did have quick tender which has nitrates in it.. so at least I won’t have grey bacon. (relieved face goes here).
If they weren’t already closed, then I would have LOVED to have looked around the shop. It looked to be an italian deli, but old school. They seemed to have parts for my pasta maker there too, which was intriguing. I didn’t have time to see whether they had any other noodle attachments though. I’ll have to research further.
So I make it home, make my dry rub for the pork belly, open the package.. and find the pig skin still on. Semi-failure on my part for not asking the guy to take it off, so I get to work removing it. It’s one thing to have a pork chop but quite another to remove pig skin from a pig belly.
Anyway, this is what it looked like all dressed up in its curing rub. One of these shots is kind of strange, but I liked the way you could see the salt crystals.
This is the one I mean. I was trying to take this picture in my kitchen which, admittedly, has the shittiest lighting EVER. The salt looks pretty. 🙂
This one is the one on my dining room table, so you can see it better. My bigger cat hopped up right before this picture and started to investigate, so I can’t be that far off base. 😀
I am really really excited to see how this turns out. I hope well because I used a variation of Michael Ruhlman‘s recipe.. and I’d really hate to think he’d lie to me. 😦