美国前500家连锁餐厅有约80%在菜单中包括至少一种培根菜品。培根这种腌肉产品如此深入人心，专注于早餐文化的网站Extra Crispy甚至专门设立了一个“培根评论员”职位；金爵曼熟食店（Zingerman’s Deli）更是在密歇根州举办了为期五天的培根美食节；在活动上推出了完全免费的培根菜品，例如用培根碎作为配菜制作的“缤纷鳄梨色拉”。
玛丽安·森斯克的丈夫是加州纳帕森斯克酒庄（Robert Sinskey Vineyards）的主人，她在酒庄担任厨房总监。森斯克根据自己的经验专门编写了一本适合在家中烹制的食谱《威廉姆斯-索诺玛家常菜：在厨房创造传统》（Oxmoor House出版社）（Williams-Sonoma Family Meals: Creating Traditions in the Kitchen）。
上世纪90年代，森斯克在Plump Jack Café餐厅担任厨师期间，曾被《Food & Wine》评为“最佳新秀厨师”。她说道：“自制培根让你可以完全掌控这种往往无法控制的食物。你可以买一块上好的猪肉，根据自己的口味添加调味料，制作属于你自己的培根。为什么不呢？”
1/2杯粗盐，1/4杯红糖，1茶匙甜椒粉（可选），2 1/2磅去皮五花肉，颗粒大小约1 1/2英寸的现磨粗黑胡椒（可选）
Bacon used to have a slow season. Sales of the ubiquitous burger topping—and its parent product, pork belly—were known to heat up in the prime-time grilling months of summer, while in the winter, sales traditionally cooled off.
That’s changing, though. In July 2017, Bloomberg reported that pork belly prices had increased 80 percent for the first half of the year, and that bacon prices, already high, were projected to continue to climb. The major reason was simple: ongoing demand, no matter what time of year it is.
Approximately 80 percent of the top 500 restaurant chains in the U.S. offer at least one bacon item on the menu. The cured meat has become so pervasive that a “bacon critic” position was created at the breakfast-oriented website, Extra Crispy; five-day bacon camps are put on by Zingerman’s Deli in Michigan; and completely gratuitous bacon dishes like “fully loaded guacamole” with a crumbled bacon garnish, are pushed out.
Even fake bacon is prized. Now that high-quality plant-based burgers are getting more popular, faux bacon is the holy grail for such companies as Bill Gates-backed Beyond Meat.
In this time of overwhelming bacon opportunities, there’s one you don’t see much of: the kind you make yourself. Yet makin’ bacon is supremely easy, requiring just four ingredients—all available at the supermarket—and no specialized equipment.
Maria Sinskey, the culinary director at her husband’s Robert Sinskey Vineyards in Napa, Calif., created an especially home-friendly version for her cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Family Meals: Creating Traditions in the Kitchen (Oxmoor House).
“Making your own bacon gives you total control over a food that is frequently out of control,” says Sinskey, who was named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine when she cooked at Plump Jack Café in San Francisco in the 1990s. “You get good-quality pork, customize the seasonings to your taste, and make it your own. Why not?”
The procedure is simple: Rub a carefully measured mix of seasoning on a pork belly. “Three days later, you’ll wake up to bacon,” promises Sinskey. She notes that a dry cure like this is easier than a wet cure, so you don’t have to deal with sloshing containers of brine solution.
Sinskey’s bacon is nicely salted, with a hint of sweetness. Because it is not smoked, the flavor shines through; she compares it to Italian pancetta. Use it as you would store-bought smoked bacon, whether for salads and sandwiches, as a side for eggs, or in any recipe that could use a bacon boost.
Store it, well-wrapped, in the refrigerator for a week. For longer life, slice it, place parchment paper between the slices, wrap them in plastic, and store in the freezer; you’ll have bacon on demand for months. If you like your bacon on the smoky side, cook it on an outdoor or stove-top smoker. Or just replace some of the kosher salt with smoked salt for the cure.
This recipe is adapted from Maria Sinskey’s Williams-Sonoma Family Meals: Creating Traditions in the Kitchen. Note: This bacon is nitrate free; nitrates pump up the pink color of most store-bought bacon and also accentuate the cured flavor. This bacon has a more direct pork flavor.
Makes About 2 Pounds
1/2 cup kosher salt1/4 cup packed brown sugar1 tsp. sweet pimenton (optional)2 1/2 lbs. skinless pork belly, about 1 ½ inches thickCoarsely ground black pepper (optional)
Mix the salt, sugar, and pimenton (if using). Rub three-quarters of the mix into the meat side and the remaining one-quarter into the fat side; rub it in around the sides of the slab, too. If using black pepper, pat into the fat side of the meat before adding the salt-sugar mixture.
Seal the belly in a Ziploc bag, pressing the air out. Refrigerate for 3 days, turning each day. (Liquid will collect in the bag; do not pour it out.)
Rinse the bacon briefly with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place it on a rack over a pan and refrigerate, uncovered, to dry for two hours. Slice the bacon from the slab—thick or thin, according to your preference—and fry it up. For smoky bacon, cook according to manufacturer’s directions over an indoor smoker or smoke it on an outdoor grill.
(Testers note: If you want to test the cure after two days, cut off a couple of slices. Rinse them with cold water and pat completely dry. Fry the slices and taste. If you want the bacon saltier, return the pork belly to the bag and refrigerate for one additional day.)