My love affair with simple cured pork, particularly bacon, continued, as I made three different kinds of bacon plus some basic salt pork.
Bottom right, you see a slice of maple cured bacon, finished in my oven. It is astonishing how well the maple flavor became part of the cure. It's magnificent, perfect for slicing thin and eating on french toast. Bottom center is a chunk of salt pork, which is more or less just plain bacon only chopped into cubes so it gets even more of the salty cure on it. It was also finished in my oven. It is superb for seasoning sauces or soups. It is also incredibly hard to avoid just straight-up eating it like meat popcorn.
The other three images in the collage are the two slabs which went into the smoker instead of the oven. The larger of the two was a simple, traditional bacon cure. The smaller got the standard cure, too, but then was packed in crushed bay leaves, garlic, and peppercorns. Both wound up in a 200F smoker with alder wood chips. The regular bacon is smoky, salty, and delicious. The bay/garlic/peppercorn bacon almost has a hint of pastrami flavor. It's going to make some killer sandwiches.