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.