New Year's Black Eyed Peas with Homemade Smoked Bacon
There's nothing better than bacon unless it's homemade. These black-eyed peas are mixed with thick cut bacon, aromatic fresh herbs and the perfect amount of garlic for a dish worthy of celebration.
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For the Bacon: Place the salt, pepper, and pink salt in a mixing bowl and mix well. Mix in the sugar, breaking up any lumps in brown sugar with your fingers.
Place the pork belly on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle half of the cure on top and rub it into the belly. Flip and sprinkle the remaining cure on the bottom and rub it in.
Place the belly and any excess cure in a large zip-top plastic bag. Place the plastic bag in a roasting pan on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator. Cure the belly for 5 days, turning it over once each day.
Drain the pork belly in a colander and rinse well with cold water. Blot it dry with paper towels.
Place the belly on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet in a cool place in front of a fan until the surface feels tacky, about 3 hours.
When ready to cook, set temperature to 180℉ and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.
Lay the pork belly directly on the grill grate. Smoke the pork belly until bronzed and firm, 2 to 3 hours. The internal temperature should read 150℉ when an instant-read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
Transfer the bacon to a wire rack over a baking sheet and let it cool to room temperature. Tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Slice and cook or use in your favorite recipes.
For the Black-Eyed Peas: When ready to cook, set the Traeger to 350℉ and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.
Heat a large Dutch oven or cast-iron pot over medium heat. Cut bacon slab into large chunks and place in Dutch oven. Cook, stirring often until bacon is starting to brown on all sides.
With a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add garlic to Dutch oven and cook until fragrant.
Pour in chicken stock, black-eyed peas, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, pepper, and bacon.
Cover and place on preheated grill. Braise for 1 hour.
Remove lid and cook for 30 more minutes.
Remove from grill, season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve with fresh chopped herbs to top. Enjoy!
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