Never run before you can walk goes the saying so I decided to start down the road to porky umaminess with a simple task, dry curing my own bacon.
Dry curing is incredibly simple, it involves coating the pork in a ‘cure’ which consists of salt, sugar and any other flavourings that you fancy. I started simply with just a little ground black pepper and some sage, because pork and sage is a perfect savoury combination.
The process of curing bacon with salt forces water out of the cells via osmosis, without water bacteria can’t survive and so the meat is preserved and can be stored for much longer than fresh pork.
For streaky bacon you need belly of pork, skin on is best for a nice crackling crunch, I used a 1kg piece and the following cure…
150g sea salt
20g caster sugar
A few grinds of the pepper mill
Small bunch of sage leaves finely chopped
All of this is simply mixed together and rubbed all over the belly and into nooks and crannies. Place the cure-covered belly in a non metallic bowl, cover and place in the fridge. That’s it! The bacon needs to be checked daily and turned. It will leach water which needs to be drained off. How long you cure it for is up to you but most articles I have read recommend 4-6 days so that’s what I am going for on my first time.
Someone pass the ketchup!
After five days of curing you can now either cook it straight away or choose to let it hang to intensify the flavour. You can now also cold smoke it too. I smoke my bacon, its a much better flavour, after smoking I then let it hang for a week or so before diving in.
It was the best bacon I have ever tasted, see my post ‘Bacon and eggs’