Home-made bacon


Pictured above is day 2 of the magical process that turns pork belly into delicious air-dried bacon.

If all goes well, after ten days of curing the bacon will be ready to hang at room temperature and use at our leisure (and we have a lot of leisure, I tell you.)

Every recipe I have read emphasises two points about making bacon: first, it is very very easy; second, it is amazing. We’re doing a non-smoked air-dried bacon, based on a recipe from the River Cottage ‘Pig in a Day’ program, with added-confidence from this family homestead site in the States.

Each day we rub the pork belly with a cure of salt, brown sugar and various spices (we added pepper, bay leaves, star anise and onion powder). After 24 hours in a cool place (a broccoli box with a frozen water bottle inside) the cure has leached a cup or so of liquid out of the meat. We tip out the liquid, and rub the pork again with fresh cure, making sure to coat every gap or flap of the meat.

In theory, after about 10 days the meat will have leached its last, and can then be rinsed thoroughly, dried, and hung in a cool dry place.

Read a few recipes before you try it for yourselves. I’ll keep you posted on our progress, but hopefully we’ll be enjoying some incredibly tasty bacon in about 7 days time!

If you don’t hear back from me, I’m either dead from food poisoning or too full of bacon to type.

4 thoughts on “Home-made bacon

  1. We also use the River Cottage method for curing bacon, but we usually only leave it in salt for 4-5 days, as we find it tastes too salty if we leave it longer. I would love to hear how your bacon turns out. Enjoy – there is nothing quite like home cured bacon!

    • Thanks Jane!
      That’s a good point about the salt. The main reason for wanting to cure longer is the heat here in summer. But since we have two pieces being cured now, perhaps we will cure one for a shorter period and see how they each fare?

      • It sounds like you’re going to hang it to dry for a long period of time to make proscuitto? In which case we do salt for longer (30days) and then air dry for 12 months or more. Our bacon is frozen after we have cured it, so the salt is just for taste rather than preserving – sorry for the confusion!

        • Actually we were just planning on hanging and eating it as we go. From memory the River Cottage recipe was up to 6 days curing and then 3-4 days air drying before use, and the bacon could be left hanging in the kitchen. That’s more or less what we want to do, though the homestead blog I linked to cures for 10 days and then apparently uses it straightaway, again hanging in the kitchen.

          I like this idea of hanging rather than freezing, so that’s what we’re aiming for. : )

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