It's been seven years now since Brandon Sheard of Farmstead Meatsmith came to visit our (then) farm and taught us how to properly kill, clean, cut, wrap, and cure our own pork. During those days, I remember feeling like it was the greatest thing I'd ever learned. Like climbing the Mount Everest of homesteading skills. Raising and butchering a pig is no small thing.
We're not currently raising our own pigs here on the farm – after spending years chasing them through orchards and out of gardens, we figured we'd better wait until we'd built a new structure that better keeps them in. We also tend to favor red meat – choosing to raise a calf and lambs each year. Frankly, it just made more sense to buy the few pieces of pork that we'd need each year from Brandon (who until recently lived fairly close to us).
Bacon is the obvious exception. Bacon is life.
Did you know that homemade bacon is as simple as salt, sugar, and 7 days in the refrigerator? Your only real job is to source some good, local, high-quality pork belly. After that, it's simply a matter of letting the magic happen.
Here's how to do it: