By Jeremy Berger
on 7.11.14
Photo by Ben Rusnak

B
acon doesn’t need to be fixed. Nobody ever said that about bacon. “This bacon is great, but I’m just wishing it had a little more” — nope. And so it’s with some reluctance that we offer a recipe for making your own bacon, particularly one that requires two days, five different cooking techniques and more than ten ingredients. But once you’ve tasted chef Christopher Lee’s Jamaican jerk bacon with tropical salsa at The Forge in Miami, Florida, you’ll be spending plenty of quality time with swine belly and Jimmy Buffet’s fifteenth album, Floridays. Like all things that require work, this bacon is well worth the effort.

Jamaican Jerk Bacon

Serves 8 (as appetizer)

Ingredients:
2 lbs fresh pork belly

For Brine:
1 gallon water
1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar
10 garlic cloves

For Tropical Salsa:
1/4 cup pineapple, small dice
1/4 cup mango, small dice
2 tbsp shallots, small dice
1/4 cup tomato, small dice
3 tbsp green peppers, small dice (no seeds and veins)
3 tbsp yellow peppers, small dice (no seeds and veins)
1/4 clove garlic, mince
1 oz lime juice
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 cup EVOO
Sea salt, to taste
2 tbsp parsley, sliced

Preparation:
1. Brine pork for two days. 2. Remove the skin carefully and rub with the jerk seasoning. Allow to sit for 12 hours with the jerk seasoning in refrigerator, not covered. Jerk seasoning is found in most supermarkets, but you can also substitute blackening seasoning if you can’t find it. 3. Smoke for 30 minutes with hickory wood chips. Skip this step if you don’t have a smoker. 4. Place pork belly into a baking dish with three cups of water and cover. Cook in a 225 degree oven for 2.5 hours. Remove and let rest. 5. While resting, turn oven up to 400 degree convection and, once the oven is hot, place bacon into the oven on a baking sheet and roast until it looks caramelized. Remove and cool. 6. Slice into 1/2 inch slices and place on the grill before serving. 6. Place everything for the salsa in a bowl and mix well. Allow to marinate for at least an hour before serving.

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