Monday, 17 October 2011

Bacon Curing

When I look back at our first attempt at Bacon Curing and read:

"Our bacon is salty.
And I'm happy to report that this is normal - or so they say.
The quick solution is to blanch it for 45-60 seconds then drain and dry before frying. This works well and we are delighted with the taste."

I am ashamed to say that I lied.

Not about it being salty, but 'delighted' was perhaps a bit strong. We were pleased as punch that we had made our own and that it was edible, with a few refinements. But it wasn't great.

The Cure we used was very similar to that found in several of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's books, and it was in one of his books that I came across the revelation that he doesn't use his Bacon as 'Breakfast Bacon', he uses it in other dishes.
That leads me to beg the questions "Whose bacon was he cooking for a Bacon Butty last night on TV?" and if it was indeed his "What Cure did he use?"

The next time we made Bacon was as part of our Butchery Course, using a Cure from the Lady Butcher who taught us. We were not given the Cure recipe. The resulting Bacon was much better than our first attempt but, perversely, we found it a little too sweet.

Our Pork is very precious to us, so we decided that this year we would buy Curing Salt and we bought Supracure from Weschenfelders.

It has worked very well.
We followed the instructions sent to us which state 50g of Cure per kg of meat and we added Demerara Sugar in the ratio 1:9 so that the resulting Cure was 90% Curing Salt and 10% Sugar.

We have followed the same method as we used before but we did not soak the Bacon before hanging it to dry this time.

We are already eating our Saddleback Bacon and it is very much to our liking - no lies this time!

Our Large Black Bacon is out of the Cure and is hanging, it will be ready to sample in a few days time.

Bacon is hugely satisfying to make. It doesn't require too long in the Cure and it doesn't need to be hung for weeks on end.
And you don't need to raise your own pigs to make it. You could just as easily buy a Loin or Belly from your Local Butcher, Farm Shop or Farmer's Market. If you explain what you need it for, they should make sure you have the right cut.

20 comments:

  1. I am learning more about producing pork from you than from anyone else
    thanks for that

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  2. That must be frustrating to raise an animal, slaughter it and then use a bacon cure from a supposed expert source and find it's made the meat too salty :( I'm curious about the process myself so thanks for the tip on picking up a cut from the butcher to practice on - I really love bacon and wish I could have it more often!

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  3. Glad you've managed to get the bacon more to your taste. My hubby likes his bacon smoked.

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  4. I'm now hankering after a bacon sarnie! Congrats on the successful cure; it must be so satisfying.

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  5. Bacon and ham were always made in my childhood home . I don't remember recipes. I think they always did it the same as grandpa did for generations.

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  6. John, that's very kind of you. We're so pleased to have helped someone :)

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  7. Tanya, I think a lot of Curing is trial and error. Maybe we shall trial a bit more adventurously next year :)

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  8. Jo, Smoking is an option we are keen to try. Smokers cost the Earth though :( We keep looking at how to build our own so, maybe one day!

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  9. Thanks Pen! It is hugely satisfying with the added bonus of no white gunk when you fry bacon ;)

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  10. Ah Red! I wish I knew how my Great-Grandparents processed their pigs. I also wish my parents hadn't demolished the Pigsty, but hey ho!

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  11. WHAT A LOVELY READ AS ALWAYS FROM BOTH OF YOU
    KEEP TRYING TO FIND LOCAL PERSON AT A FARMERS MARKET I WILL KEEP LOOKING
    WISH MY LAND LORD WOULD LET ME KEEP PIGS

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  12. Home reared bacon the only way to go. The best bit is the 'no white gunk' and Lovely Hubby loves that it goes so crispy for his butties.

    Sue xx

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  13. i'm so glad (and a little bit proud) of you for admitting that you "lied". I think as bloggers we make a bigger deal out of certain things than they are - especially if we've put a lot of time and energy into something. Well done, well. done.

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  14. I love home made bacon! I have used the same recipe from the Meat book, but I don't leave it in the cure as long as he says. Otherwise it is too salty for bacon.

    What I really like is the flavour from the juniper berries and the bay leaf. I use fresh bay leaves from our bush, I wonder if this changes the flavour at all.

    Did you use any spices in your newer recipe?

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  15. It does, indeed, sound satisfying - though I doubt I would enjoy doing it unless we had grown the meat ourselves. However, I confess the only bacon I really like is smoked streaky fried to a frizzle.

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  16. All I know is that my stomach is letting me know that some crispy bacon would taste mighty fine right now! It is remarkable how much you have learned and shared in your posts. I'm sure you must have a great sense of accomplishment due to your perseverance and hard work...and your desire to continue learning and sharing is wonderful.

    I'm sorry to have been off the commenting wagon lately, and especially wanted to thank you for the mention of my Pigging Out post earlier! Thanks so much!

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  17. Haven't seen you on in a couple of weeks...hope everything is ok! :)

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  18. Thinking of you and hope you are enjoying getting ready for Christmas! I saw this post and thought you might find it fun :)

    http://happierthanapiginmud.blogspot.com/2011/11/pig-alert.html

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  19. Wow how interesting I have always wanted to cure my own but have been scared. I hate all the nasty stuff they add to bacon fesh would taste amazing I'm sure!

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  20. Merry Christmas, Mo and Steve. I miss your posts! Hope you are enjoying all of your 'put away' food during this holiday season.

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