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Five-Spice Cured Bacon
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Five-Spice Cured Bacon (五香臘肉)

Category: Charcuterie
Region: Cantonese

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds pork belly
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns (花椒)
  • 2 tablespoons cloves
  • 2 tablespoons fennel
  • 6 whole star anise
  • 3 ounces cassia bark (桂皮) about 2-inch square
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (生抽)
  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce (老抽)
  • 1/4 cup white rice wine
  • 1 cup sugar

Instructions

  • Cut the pork belly into long strips of about one and one half inch wide. Wash the pork thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel. Arrange the pork belly in a glass baking dish or any large enough container made from a non salt-reactive material.
  • In a dry wok heat the sea salt along with all the spices. Stir-fry the spice salt constantly until you begin to smell the spices. Turn the heat off and let cool to room temperature.
  • Mix the soy sauce, wine and sugar together and pour over the pork belly. Spread the spice salt over the pork belly making sure the spices are submerged in the liquid.
  • Cure the pork belly in the refrigerator for at least three days. Flip the pork belly once a day to ensure even curing. The salt will draw moisture out from the meat, so do not be alarmed if the liquid level in the container rises.
  • After the pork is cured discard the liquid along with the spices. Use a paring knife and puncture the skin on one end of the pork strip. Thread butcher twine through the hole and tie it in a loop. Repeat this for every strip of pork.
  • Hang the pork strips on a wood dowel and secure in a cool cellar. Dry the meat for at least three days. The drying process can be enhanced if the meat is brought out to the sun for three or four hours daily.
  • Once dried the cured bacon can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for about two weeks. It can also be frozen and kept for six to nine months.