Howl's Moving Castle is one of the many exquisitely animated (and profoundly confusing) expressions of destiny, growth, and love brought to us by Hayao Miyazaki. An even more ubiquitous theme in his films, however, is food. Few can so magically inspire hunger as the sizzling breakfast served up courtesy of Calcifer's demonic flames - can some at-home know-how help us bring the magic into our own kitchens?
For the homemade bacon
1 large piece of pork belly (about 3 lbs), skin removed
4 ½ tsp kosher salt
4 ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
6 packed Tbsp brown sugar
¾ cup distilled water
1 tsp pink curing salt (Prague Powder #1)
2 Tbsp applewood
2 Tbsp cherrywood
To complete the breakfast
Salt and pepper
Make sure your pork belly is cut to size so that it will fit in the Ziploc bag you are marinating it in. Also make sure that the skin has been removed from the pork belly.
Combine kosher salt, coarsely ground black pepper, brown sugar, distilled water, and curing salt in a bowl. Mix until everything is combined.
Put pork belly into the Ziploc bag and add the curing solution. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing. Place the bag in a high walled container (like a casserole dish) to prevent cross contamination. Put the dish in the fridge for 3-5 days, flipping once per day.
To use a stovetop smoker, start by adding 2 Tbsp applewood and 2 Tbsp cherrywood to the bottom of the smoker. Top that with the drip plate, followed by the roasting rack. Lastly place the pork belly on top of the roasting rack. Cover the entire stovetop smoker with aluminum foil.
Add the stovetop smoker to a burner over medium heat. Insert a temperature probe into the pork belly so that you can monitor the internal temperature. Once it has been smoking for 30-45 minutes, move the entire pan to the oven.
Finish the pork belly in a 225°F oven for another hour, or until it reaches 150°F internally. Place the meat in a Ziploc bag and chill for about 4 hours.
When completely chilled, remove the bacon from the bag and slice strips to your desired thickness.
Fry strips of bacon in a cast iron skillet over medium low heat. This keeps the bacon from burning while the fat renders out.
Once the fat has rendered out, add 4 cracked eggs to the pan. Cook until the eggs have a good crust on them. If the whites need to cook more, kill the heat to the pan and cover with a lid to steam the tops of the egg whites.
Serve the eggs and bacon with some sliced bread and cheese and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Enjoy!