Preserving meat. This is something I’ve been reading voraciously about lately. I love this book called The River Cottage Curing and Smoking Handbook. It makes the mysterious process of turning a hog leg into something delicious like prosciutto seem easy. I can relate to the way the author likes to use what’s at hand. Keeping it simple. Bacon is first on the list. Oh my, I don’t think my family could ever have too much bacon. We’d eat it on eggs, on potatoes, in soup, with chicken, on salad. Is there anything in this world that in not made better by adding a sizzling, dripping piece of preserved pork belly? I think not. So the process is relatively simple. I followed a recipe for a salt/sugar rub and I rub a dub dubbed that stuff all over both pork bellies, making extra sure to get it in all the nook and crannies. Then, into the fridge it goes. Right now the meat is soft and wiggly. At the end of this process it will be quite firm and rigid. Some recipes call for simply leaving the belly in the fridge for 5 days and then draining and rinsing it. Other recipes instruct to drain the liquid off daily and re-applying the salt mixture. This is the method that I went with. After 4 days, though, I didn’t have any more curing mix left. So, I just drained off the little liquid from the bottom of the container and put the container back in the fridge. The majority of the liquid will be expelled from the meat during the first day or two, anyway. After 5-7 days, rinse all the salt off the belly really well. Pat dry. Now, if it is fall or winter, you can hang that beautiful belly on hooks out of doors to finish curing for 5-7 more days. However, it is quite warm here, so I had to just put it back in the fridge for the remainder of the curing time. After 5-7 days, now is the time to smoke it. I do not have a cold smoker, so I sliced up the belly and cooked some up right away and froze the rest for future use. It’s good. But I’m after Jeremie to build me a cold smoker because I think that will make it great!