Photo by Donna
The first real chill is here in Ohio, forecasting fall, the best time for cooking outside and curing and smoking meat.  And there's no better season for making bacon.

I've received many BLT From Scratch entries and I'm returning from vacation today to encourage more to take it up.  There's still time.  And there's Time: Hilary Hylton writes about the BLT challenge (and America's increasing pork hunger) for Time magazine!  Thank you Hilary!

I made the first BLT from scratch last week and it was surprising in its juicinessโ€”a three-napkin BLT. But Donna didn't like her photo, so we've got to do it again. (Oh, all right, if we must.)  I'm all out of bacon so I've asked two young farmers not to forget to bring fresh belly to the market on Saturday (there are now two farms growing pork for the market, a happy sign of the times). I'm making the official BLT deadline, Sunday, September 20.  Plenty of time to get some belly on the cure.

And when mine is ready I may smoke it or I may not but regardless, I'll cook it again as I did last time: I cut slabs about 3/8ths-inch thick, wrapped them in foil with a sprinkle of water for moisture (connective tissue needs moisture to break down) and put them in a low low oven for a few hours till they were very tender.  I then finished them on the grill over very hot coals till the outside was crisp and the inside hot and juicy, my new favorite way for cooking bacon.  

I dream one day of doing a whole book on having fun with pork belly.  There is no finer cut of meat on earth.