1. Roast the bacon a day before use, as it’s much easier to work with when it has chilled completely.
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F and set a pan of water on the bottom under the lowest rack.
2. Soak the herbs in water. Place a couple sprigs each of rosemary and thyme on the skin side of your bacon.
3. Wrap the slab of bacon tightly in plastic wrap, using several layers to form a parcel. Then wrap the plastic covered bacon tightly in foil.
4. Place the slab of bacon directly on the rack over the pan of water. After one hour at 300°F turn the oven down to 250°F and let the bacon cook for 2 more hours.
5. While the bacon is roasting, put the paprika, fennel and salt in a spice or pepper grinder and grind to a fine powder.
6. Carefully remove the bacon from the oven (it may drip juices) but do not unwrap it yet. Allow the parcel to cool on your countertop to room temperature before placing in the fridge.
7. When the bacon has completely cooled, remove it from its package and pull off the skin and either discard or save it for making soup or a dog snack. There will be a translucent golden gel. This is the nectar of the gods and will add amazing flavor to anything you use it on. Remove the herbs and discard them.
8. Heat up your charcoal grill or a cast iron grill pan till it is raging hot.
9. Slice the bacon as thick as you like. Matthew’s usually ranges from ¼ to ½” thick. Brown the bacon on each side until it is slightly charred. Slice the bacon into bite size pieces, sprinkle with the spice mix and a little drizzle of the maple syrup.