I walked into the Fatted Calf in Napa. It's usually pretty busy when I go in but they helped me right away. I ordered the pasture-fed heritage pork belly. What I like about getting meat is that I know the animals were treated humanely - one of the rules, as it turns out of the Charcutepalooza. I go to the Fatted Calf at least once a week and we've chatted with the butchers there, so I'm a bit surprised that they don't recognize me yet. I didn't get to view the beauty of the pork belly until I got home. I opened up the butcher's paper and angels sung. It was beautiful.
I then mixed up the spice mix. I followed the above recipe but I also added a bit of cajun seasoning to kick it up a bit. I'm a bit worried about the juniper berries though because whenever I drink gin I puff up a bit. I don't regularly eat juniper berries, so honestly I could be totally fine.
Clockwise from the top we have juniper berries, crushed garlic cloves, curing salt (it's pink to let you know not to eat it), kosher salt, ground nutmeg, pepper with fresh thyme and bay leaves, brown sugar with a dusting of cajun spices.
I then mixed all of the spices and salts and rubbed the pork until it started to become moist. I then covered it with some plastic wrap in a pyrex baking dish. It will sit for a week getting massaged occasionally until day 7 when I roast it. I'm looking forward to having fresh bacon next weekend for breakfast!