Where I buy my pork belly.

I’ve been searching around for places to buy pork belly.  I have found 4 so far so I thought I’d post what I have found.

1.  Frandeka Meat ShopSoulard Market – St. Louis, MO

I love this place.  They do keep pork belly on hand.  It is frozen, usually in 3 to 5 pound slabs.  Ask the guys behind the counter an they will let you pick out the slabs you want.  They get their deliveries in  on Thursdays so if you can make it there on a Thursday or a Friday you will have the best pickings.

They also carry everything from goat and raccoon (yes, raccoon) to lamb, beef, pork, alligator,  bison….   if you have not been there before it is a must.

2.  Jay’s International Foods – South Grand, St. Louis, MO
3172 South Grand, St. Louis MO, 63118
314-772-9393

Another great place to shop.  Authentic international/ Asian market.  If you go to the back of the store, to the right is the meat counter.  They have slabs of fresh belly.  The ones I got were about 1.5 to 2.5 pounds each at $2.95 per pound.  This is the best price per pound I have found so far.  The guys behind the counter were very nice and let me select the pieces I wanted.

Jay’s International also has a great selection of fish, seafood, and many exotic (at least to me) foods from around the world.  I truly enjoy just walking through the store seeing what there is and wondering what the heck you do with much of it.

My last trip, along with the pork belly, I purchased a whole octopus for a Greek octopus salad and a whole red snapper which I grilled.

3.  Zerna’s Meat and Used Cars – Grey Summit, MO
2231 Highway 100, Labadie, MO. Tel: 636-742-4190

Yes, you heard me right.  Behind the used car lot is a meat market.  And a darn good one.  The couple who run the place are incredibly knowledgeable   and helpful.  She runs the front of the store and he is in back butchering the meat.  I called last week and was told they have pork belly slabs at $3.99 per pound.

They have AWESOME buffalo jerky and summer sausage which they smoke themselves.  They also carry fresh pork, beef, buffalo, and many other sausages, smoked meats.   Please check them out if you are ever that far out Highway 44.

4.  Don’s Meat Markethttp://www.donsmeatmarket.com/
4012 South Broadway, St. Louis MO 63118

Great service and an awesome assortment of quality meats.  I purchased a case (about 50 pounds) of pork belly in slab form at $2.59 a pound.  This will be a regular place for me.  Check them out.

Let’s Begin Again

I like bacon.  I like making bacon from scratch.  It is no secret.  By now, anyone who knows me knows that over the past couple of years I have been curing and smoking my own bacon.  Many of you have tried it, liked it, and asked for more.

So, I figured I would pick up the blog again.  I have revamped the look and will be posting on a more regular basis.  Please stop in often and check out what’s new.

To all of you who have requested my bacon…  thanks!  You have inspired me to keep on going and to maybe even open an honest business selling the stuff.  🙂

Here’s to inspiration, dreams, and the determination to make them happen.

Chocolate Heaven – Recipe #3

Well, 86% said you want to try it and the other 14% said that, yes, I should make it.  So, I did.  I mixed up the cure and and got the pork belly a curin’. (I’ll update this post again next week once it is finished curing).

INGREDIENTS

Chocolate Heaven

Cured with cocoa, coffee and molasses this is sure to be a salty sweet slice of crunchy heaven.

Ingredients (per 5 lbs of pork belly)

4 T Sea Salt

1/2 C packed brown sugar

2 T Dark Molasses

1 tsp Cure #1 (pink salt)

2 T dark cocoa powder

2 tsp dark roast coffee grounds

PROCESS

I am just going to post the pics with descriptions.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Gather together all of the ingredients you and tools you need.
Gather together all of the ingredients you and tools you need.
Start by adding the brown sugar and molasses to a mixing bowl.
Start by adding the brown sugar and molasses to a mixing bowl.
Mix the sugar and molasses together into a paste.
Mix the sugar and molasses together into a paste.
Add all other ingredients, minus the curing salt.  REMEMBER - if you want to taste the cure, do it BEFORE you add the curing agent.
Add all other ingredients, minus the curing salt. REMEMBER – if you want to taste the cure, do it BEFORE you add the curing agent.
After mixing together all other ingredients (and tasting if you are going to do so) add the pink salt/ cure #1.  Since I am making enough cure for 5 lbs of belly, I followed the instructions and added one level teaspoon.
After mixing together all other ingredients (and tasting if you are going to do so) add the pink salt/ cure #1. Since I am making enough cure for 5 lbs of belly, I followed the instructions and added one level teaspoon.
This is the package of cure #1/ pink salt.  Please remember to store it away from other spices and away from children and pets.
This is the package of cure #1/ pink salt. Please remember to store it away from other spices and away from children and pets.
Now for a bit of math.  AAAHHH - NOOOOOO!!!   Yes.  Since I am not curing 5 lbs, I need to figure out how much cure to use. In this case, I am curing 1.5 lbs of pork belly.
Now for a bit of math. AAAHHH – NOOOOOO!!! Yes. Since I am not curing 5 lbs, I need to figure out how much cure to use.
In this case, I am curing 1.5 lbs of pork belly.
After calibrating the scale for the weight of the bowl, I weight the cure.  8 oz.
After calibrating the scale for the weight of the bowl, I weight the cure. 8 oz.
Since I am only using 1.5 pounds out of 5 lbs, I divide 1.5 by 5. 1.5 / 5 = .3 or 30% I need 30% of the cure used for 5 lbs of belly. 8 oz x 30% = 2.4 oz So, I measure out 2.4 oz of the cure.
Since I am only using 1.5 pounds out of 5 lbs, I divide 1.5 by 5.
1.5 / 5 = .3 or 30%
I need 30% of the cure used for 5 lbs of belly.
8 oz x 30% = 2.4 oz
So, I measure out 2.4 oz of the cure.  (store the remaining cure in an air tight container for later use)
Rub the 2.4 oz of cure into the meat.  be sure to cover all sides and edges of the meat well.
Rub the 2.4 oz of cure into the meat. be sure to cover all sides and edges of the meat well.
Place the pork belly and the remaining cure into a 1 gallon zip-lock bag and place in the fridge for 7 to 10 days.  Remember to turn the bag over every day or so.
Place the pork belly and the remaining cure into a 1 gallon zip-lock bag and place in the fridge for 7 to 10 days. Remember to turn the bag over every day or so.

Once the belly is finished curing, I plan on rinsing the cure from the belly really well.  Then, I am going to apply a second cure to the belly.  It will be a mix of just cocoa powder and sugar.  I will leave that for one more day before smoking in an effort to give it a darker chocolate taste.

I will update the next steps next week.  Stay tuned.

Vacuum Seal – A New Toy

I received the new vacuum sealer in mail today.  Since I sliced up the bacon yesterday I figured I would go ahead and vacuum seal and freeze what the wife and I would not use in the next couple of weeks.

I have to say, I really like the sealer.  Very easy to use.  AND, it makes the bacon look cool, like I bought it from the store or something.  🙂

Vacuum Sealing

I purchased an inexpensive Rival vacuum sealer from Amazon.  Here is what I bought.  Rival Seal-A-Meal  It worked great.  Super easy to use.  You can get all sorts of pre-sized bags or a roll of  the seal material to make your own custom sized bags.  I used the pre-made 8″ bags today.

I am not going into any great detail with this post.  I am just going to post some pics of the process.  They are pretty much self explanatory.

I first weighed out 12 oz portions.
I first weighed out 12 oz portions.
I added pepper to the edges of the Sweet and Spicy bacon.  it wasn't peppery enough.
I added pepper to the edges of the Sweet and Spicy bacon. it wasn’t peppery enough.
I then laid out what I needed to vacuum seal the bacony goodness.
I then laid out what I needed to vacuum seal the bacony goodness.
Then, I neatly placed the bacon into the bag.
Then, I neatly placed the bacon into the bag.
Following the instructions, I sealed the bacon up.
Following the instructions, I sealed the bacon up.
The final product.  Sealed up and ready to freeze.
The final product. Sealed up and ready to freeze.