Binging with Babish: Breakfast from Howl’s Moving Castle

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Hey, what’s up guys welcome back to Binging with Babish where this week
we’re finally taking a look at food from a Miyazaki movie.
Something like bacon and eggs might seem like a very simple place to start,
but it’s the perfect excuse to learn how to make our own bacon from scratch.
First thing we got to do is cut a big old piece of pork belly down to size
And by down to size
I mean whatever will fit in your intended marination vessel.
Then we need to remove the skin
Just try to get the knife under a corner of the belly’s skin and peel back from there.
Once the skin has been summarily removed
It’s time to talk about a cure for our belly, and no I don’t mean Pepto-Bismol.
Into a large bowl goes 4 and 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt,
4 and 1/2 teaspoons of coarsely ground black pepper,
6 packed tablespoons of dark brown sugar,
and 3/4 of one cup of distilled water.
Emphasis on the “distilled” part.
Last but not least a teaspoon of prog powder number one or pink curing salt
This can help give the meat its distinct flavor, color, and texture
Once you have tiny-whisked these ingredients to a state of dissolution,
into a gallon-size zip top bag they go with our approximately three pounds of pork belly.
Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing and place into a nice high-walled
container like this casserole, which will help prevent cross-contamination
during its 3-5 day stint in the fridge during which time we’re going to give it a flip once every day to make
sure that it is evenly exposed to the cure. This guy’s been going for five days
and not only is it pinker in color, its firmer in texture and so, my boy is ready to get smoked.
Normally, I would head out to my buddy Steve’s place to use his smoker,
but I’m gonna try using this stove-top smoker,
into which I’m depositing about two tablespoons each of apple and cherry wood.
On top of that goes the drip plate, on top of that goes the smoking rack,
and on top of that goes the pork belly,
which I’m going to naively try and cover with the included smoker… cover… thing.
Place on a burner over medium heat and immediately replace with aluminum foil because this thing
holds in smoke about as good as a college freshman after taking his first bong rip.
I’m also gonna probe the belly cuz I want to smoke it— like that! See, there’s smoke!
I want to smoke it to an internal temperature— oh look there’s more smoke— about 150 degrees Fahrenheit
And since these stovetop smokers can only sustainably smoke for about 30-45 minutes
we’re gonna finish it off in a 225 degree Fahrenheit oven for about another hour
until it reaches the desired temperature, at which point we are going to unwrap it and chill it
completely because what we essentially have here is
bacon, a big ole slab of bacon waiting, begging to be sliced
and pork belly is a lot easier to slice when it’s nice and chilled
so once this guy’s had the chance to hang out in the fridge for at least four hours out it goes and into it we
cut with a long thin knife.
And now, for the first time in your life,
you can decide the very thickness of your bacon, unless of course you’ve never been to the deli at Whole Foods
But much like bread, bacon just tastes a whole lot better when you made it yourself
Be sure to hang on to all these scraps and end pieces.
They’re gonna be perfect for your next carbonara. Select the three or four most
symmetrical and photogenic slices of bacon and get ready for the main event
It looks like Howl was using a carbon-steel skillet, but the only one I have is too small for the job
So we’re going with cast iron and this is actually pretty thick bacon. So I’m cooking it over medium-low flame
So all the fat renders out and it doesn’t burn. Once all the fat renders out
and the bacon is mostly cooked, into the frying pan go the eggs.
The pan’s gonna be pretty hot, but that’s okay
We want the eggs to develop that nice brown crust around the edges
If the edges are running too quickly and the whites are not setting fast enough for your liking,
go ahead and kill the heat and cover the pan, and in 1-2 minutes you’ll have
perfectly cooked sunny-side up eggs. Everything might seem a little heavily soaked in bacon grease
But remember that the grease was practically dripping off the plate in the movie.
Our eggs are nice and properly cooked
Let’s try the bacon. It is fabulous.
I simply cannot oversell the fabulousness of homemade bacon
It’s something you owe to yourself to try,
and with the simple additions of bread, cheese a little bit of salt and pepper, we’ve got a minimalist
but exquisite breakfast that is literally the first meal that I’m having at the end of my diet.
So you bet your ass it ended up in the Clean Plate Club
The only thing that could have possibly made it better would have been an
anthropomorphic fire voiced by Billy Crystal eating up all my eggshells
But I will settle for homemade bacon.

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