Makin Bacon with Chef Cory Welsch
I’ve become a bit of a bacon snob as of late. Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to taste a variety of non-store bought bacon. Everything from home-made, dry-cured, in house cured and smoked pork bellies have made their way into my belly, and the flavour and texture is superior to any mass-produced bacon I have found in a grocery store.
Recently I was talking with Chef Cory Welsch, who started making his own bacon for his menu at Moriarty’s Bistro & Wine Bar about six weeks ago. From the day that he gets his pork bellies to the day he is finished is only five days. He’s thrilled with the finished product, so why buy something that you can make on your own?
Chef Welsch is one of many chefs around the city making their own bacon in house. He feels that making bacon is a relatively simple process, but has become a lost art. “Most of what you buy from the store is liquid smoked,” says Welsch. “People are missing out on delicious smoked flavour that truly defines a good piece of bacon.”
Chef Welsch was kind enough to share a simple homemade bacon recipe with me. Since I don’t have access to a smoker, I asked how important that step is to the process. Chef Welsch says that you can cure it, eat it, and it’s still delicious, but you miss out on that smokey flavour that is synonymous with bacon. So, if you want the real thing, he says you’ll just have to come to his restaurant.
Chef Welsch’s in-house smoked bacon is featured on some of Moriarty’s salads and sandwiches. Come in to try a classic BLT (featuring house made bacon and foccacia) on Moriarty’s lunch menu for the upcoming Downtown Dining Week March 15 – 24th.
Recipe Courtesy of Chef Cory Welsch @ Moriarty’s Bistro & Wine Bar
1 pork belly (cut in half)
1 lb coarse salt
8 oz grated ginger
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground allspice
1 cup packed brown sugar
1. Mix salt, ginger, cumin, allspice and brown sugar.
2. Place pork belly on wire rack with bake sheet underneath.
3. Coat pork bellies liberally with the dry cure mix. Don’t forget to do both sides.
4. Place in fridge uncovered. Let 4 days pass. Rinse dry cure from bellies. Place skin side up on smoking racks.
5. Set your smoker at between 180F to 200F. Use what wood you like but I prefer apple wood chips for bacon.
6. Into the smoker for 3-4 hours depending on how smokey you would like it to be.
7. Remove from smoker and cool on racks in fridge. Slice it and eat it. Or wrap it and save it for later. Nothing beats your own bacon. You will never go back to the store bought variety.