Makin' Some Bacon

Yup, I've taken to making my own bacon, or rather curing as is the technical term.

I'd always thought that curing my own bacon would be something neat to try, and after a few years of the make your own kit being unpurchased on my Amazon wish list, I gave up and just got on with it.

Firstly, not terribly hard. You'll need a large chunk of pork belly and a mix of salt sugar and spices - the cure. There are loads of these recipes around, I went for the basic one in my preserving bible Salt, Smoke, Sugar which is a really simple one using no saltpetre or other fancy things. Its just basic kitchen stuff which suits me perfectly.

my pork belly before curing. I'm making streaky, for back bacon use loin
So, with my pork belly joint lovingly purchased, and a perfect sized bit of tupperware found, I set about creating my cure. For my 1kg joint (I started small) that was 275 grams of course salt, 85 grams brown sugar, 2 bay leaves and 8 juniper berries. Its the salt that is most important - I've seen recipes for cures with different spices, and even using maple syrup, but always salt.

Grind your ingredients together, then take a third of this mix and rub all over the joint. Pop into a non-reactive container (ie not metal, hence tupperware), cover and put in the fridge. Keep the rest of the curing salt mix safe - you'll need it.

The next day there will be ALOT of liquid in the container, just like you see. Drain that off, take half of the remaining cure mix and rub into the joint. Do exactly the same another 24 hours later, finishing off the cure.

Leave this for 2 days, then rinse off, dry and wrap in cloth and pop in the fridge. Another couple of days and you are ready to go! I'm told if its too salty, you can rinse off again and that should sort it. Mine was fine thou, so I didn't need to rinse and so I can't tell you if it does work. It should last about 2 weeks in the fridge, but of course you can freeze it too.

Its lush, and while I don't think I'll ever master slicing it thinly enough for bacon sarnies, as an alternative to buying lardons or using pancetta in stuff, well, it gets the vote of my taste buds! The pork belly I used was £6.49 a kilo, add in the salt and the spices (which I already had) you're looking at less than £8 a kilo to make your own. Compare that to that to a little packet of pancetta at £1.50 in your average supermarket, it wins on price too!!

No comments