Dry curing streaky bacon

 Dry cured streaky bacon

Dry cured streaky bacon

So much bacon these days is either waterlogged or expensive. It's time to bring the bacon home. Pork belly is still an affordable cut of meat and it's easy to get creative with the cure so I decided to have a go making my own bacon. I mean, why not? I love good bacon. 

Ingredients

  • 1kg pork belly
  • Muslin cloth; don't eat this :)

CURE:

  • 30g himalayan salt
  • 10-30g demerara sugar, depending on how sweet you like your bacon
  • 0.25g saltpetre, measure accurately because it's toxic in high doses
  • 2 fresh bay leaves, shredded
  • 10  juniper berries, lightly bruised
  • 15g freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Go get yourself a decent piece of fresh, organic pork belly for streaky bacon. (You want loin for back bacon.) If you can, get pork from a heritage breed that's been raised with love, in superior conditions. It’ll cost a bit more but the taste and texture will be way better. Bone it, if it's on the ribs. Remove the skin to make crackling later. You want the pork belly to have an even covering of fat to keep the curing even. 

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2. Mix the cure from the salt, sugar, saltpetre and aromatics.

3. Lightly rub the cure into the pork belly on all sides.

4. Place the pork belly in a resealable bag. Seal it, making sure there's no air left inside.

    5. Stick the bag at the bottom of the fridge for a week. Turn it every 2 days. As tempting as it may seem, do not open the bag. Just leave it alone except when turning. 

    6. Take the pork belly out of the bag and rinse under a cold running tap. Pat dry with kitchen roll. (You could eat the bacon now, but it will be better hung for a while.)

      7. Tie one end of the muslin and place the bacon inside. Tie the other end and skewer through the knot with a butcher's hook.

      8. Hang the bacon from a shelf in the fridge for 3 days. Don't touch it. And make sure no other food touches it.

      9. At this point you can smoke the bacon if you like. It's also delicious as is.

      10. When you're ready to eat it, take it out of the muslin and cut off some slices. Return the bacon to the muslin and hang again.