Cottage bacon (a.k.a. buckboard bacon) is made from cured pork butt, rather than the usual belly meat. It’s a meaty, leaner product that makes great BLTs. After buying some from a local farmer this summer, my dear wife asked if I thought I could make it.
“Sure, but I’ll need a meat slicer.”
“Make me bacon like this and I’ll buy you the slicer.”
2 pork butts (pork shoulder roast), boned and trimmed
1 tablespoon Morton’s Sugar Cure per pound of meat
1 teaspoon white sugar per pound of meat
1/2 cup maple syrup or molasses
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
I cured the 2 butts separately. Each went into a FoodSaver bag with 1 tablespoon Morton’s Sugar Cure and 1 teaspoon white sugar per pound of meat (so the 8 pound butt got 1/2 cup cure plus 8 teaspoons sugar, the 6 pound butt got 3/8 cup of cure plus 2 tablespoons of sugar). The smaller butt had a 1/4 cup of molasses added, and the larger one got a 1/4 cup of maple syrup. Both got a 1/2 tablespoon of ground pepper. I made sure to rub the cure into the meat and cover all sides.
I sealed the bags using the partial vacuum option (I only pulled out about half the air to give the cure room to circulate) and stored them in the refrigerator. After the first day, liquid began to collect in the bags, indicating that the cure was working. I cured them for 7 days, flipping the meat over once a day.
After 7 days, I removed the meat from the cure and soaked in cold water for 3 hours to remove some of the salt. I dried off the meat and let it rest covered in the fridge overnight.
I set the Big Green Egg up for indirect cooking with a plate setter to diffuse the heat and a drip pan to catch the fat. I added a chunk each of apple and hickory for smoke. When the temperature stabilized at 225°F, I put the bacon-to-be on. I smoked them at 225°F for 5 hours until the larger of the 2 hit 140°F internal.
I pulled the butts, let them cool a little, and stored them in a covered container in the fridge overnight. The next day they met my new Chef’s Choice 610 Electric Food Slicer (thanks, honey).
In about 5 minutes I turned the 2 butts into a couple of big piles of 1/4 inch slices. Most of it went into quart-sized FoodSaver bags to be frozen for later, but I also loaded up a broiler pan with some for breakfast. I baked it in the oven at 350°F for about 15 minutes a side.
Crispy, smoky, just a little sweet – like a cross between country ham and belly bacon. Very tasty.