UK BBQ Mag Winter 2016/2017 - Page 35

the plunge. There are plenty of very good websites and forums online which offer sound advice for beginners. For further reference and reading, plus a selection of great recipes, we recommend a book by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn called 'Charcuterie'. It features lots of helpful and informative tips on the art of curing meats, and the recipes themselves serve as an inspiration to some of our own creations.

In terms of equipment, we like to use the Pro Q Cold Smoke Generator. An ingenious, low cost piece of kit that will last for many years if cared for properly. So easy to use, and lasts for hours and hours. We also smoke our meats, fish, nuts and cheese inside another ProQ product - our Frontier Smoker, it's capacity is ideal for cold smoking all sorts of foods.

Ingredients

2 kilograms pork belly

5 grams curing salt #1 (Prague powder)

30 grams coarsely ground black pepper

40 grams rock salt

20 grams dark brown sugar

8 grams juniper berries crushed

3 bay leaves crushed

3 sprigs fresh thyme

3 large sage leaves, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves minced

Method

Start by trimming the belly so the edges are neat. Also remove the skin if it's still intact.

Mix together all the ingredients of the cure, expect for half of the black pepper which you'll need later. Now massage the mixture into the pork belly. Take some time to ensure the cure mixture covers the whole joint, over each and every surface and into all the crevices.

Put the pork into a zip lock bag, try to remove as much air as possible from the bag before zipping it up. It'll need to go into the fridge for at least 7 days. Each day, toss and turn the contents of the bag, giving the pork a rub so that the cure has a chance to distribute over all the surfaces of the meat evenly (you don't need to remove the pork from the bag at this stage). Lay the meat flat on a different side each day, alternating across the course of the week.

After seven days, check for firmness. You are looking for it to feel firm at the thickest part. Refrigerate for a further one or two days if it still feels a little soft.

Now remove the belly from the zip lock bag. Rinse thoroughly under cold water, and pat dry. Sprinkle evenly

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