Bacon for the average meat eater is a word that will make your mouth salivate, a bit like when Homer Simpson thinks about donuts! Aaahhhh! Baacccon!! Making your own home cured bacon is not as difficult as you may think. I was surprised how easy it actually is, not hard work, just a bit of time and definately worth the effort.
The following method uses a very simple dry cure. I think it is a good idea that your first attempt is basic, as if you decide to make more, next time you can add certain botanicals to the cure such as black pepper and bay leave, so you understand what they contribute to the end result.
- Loin of pork
- Food grade Salt
- Soft Brown Sugar
I told you it was simple! However, you have probably noticed there are no weights given. The reason being curing is a science and requires exact measurements in ratio to the weight of the item you are curing. Do not let this put you off, it is a very simple formula. For every 1lb of meat use 1.5 oz of cure, broken down as follows: 1 oz of salt and 0.5 oz of sugar.
Place your loin into a large sealable freezer bag. Mix the salt and sugar together and place into the freezer bag with the pork. Seal the bag and then massage the cure into the meat. Place into the bottom of your fridge and leave for 7-10 days. Seven days if you want a softer bacon, up to ten days for a firmer bacon. Turn the bag every day to distribute the cure around the loin evenly.
After your preferred length of curing time, remove the loin from the freezer bag and wash it under cold water to remove the remaining salt and sugar. You will notice the loin is much firmer. Dry using paper towels and wrap it in muslin/cheese cloth and hang in your garden shed or preferrably an airy barn (if you happen to have one!). This will let the bacon rest, and leave it hanging for about a week. You can leave it for a longer period of time, but bear in mind the longer it dries, the closer it will get to the consistancy similar to that of Parma Ham. Which actually cannot be a bad thing!
After a week remove from the cloth and your bacon is ready. I think the first thing to do is thinly slice a few rashers and make a bacon sandwich. Fry the rashers gently in a knob of butter and then sample the best bacon you have ever tasted.