Sunday, January 17, 2010

Home-Cured Bacon

This will be a short and emphatic post. Do yourself a favor. Make your own bacon! It's easy, inexpensive and very rewarding. There are a few days involved, but just for sitting in brine and cooking off. You don't have to do much else.

On an impulse the other day, I picked up some skin-on pork belly from the store. I've been thinking about making bacon for a while now, and sometimes you just have to jump in and do it. My initial internet search for a recipe yielded many calling for pink salt, which I soon learned is sodium nitrate. I wanted to avoid using nitrates, having heard this is possible. What happened was, not finding any recipes without pink salt I called up those local meat rock stars, Fleisher's to see if they carried pink salt. I believe it was one of the owners that got on the phone to school me about the pink salt, and how I didn't need it. He went on to give me the full recipe, quickly and brusquely, just how a butcher should. I am indebted and next time will certainly purchase the pork belly from them. Embarrassingly, I admitted it wasn't their meat I was using, and he still helped me. Those people are awesome. You should be a fan on Facebook because they are very funny, to boot.

Anyway, after all that, I dug a little deeper and found this recipe from Saveur. It's great and simple. I messed with the spices a little, and next time I will definitely use brown sugar. You can use sea salt, but I think a coarse grind is what you want. I baked the bacon for four hours, as opposed to the recommended two. I would stick with that, but it's up to you. I will use the smoker one day, too. The bacon came out sublime, a wee bit salty, and with the herbs I used, very much like breakfast sausage. My slab was almost a pound and a half. We ate half for breakfast this morning. I am looking forward to using the rest as lardons with some greens. Heaven!


  1. This is one of the things I'm looking forward to making someday. I can imagine how sublime home-cured bacon must be.

  2. Wow! You are really going for it!

    Love, Mamou

  3. Very Interesting J. And I've been cooking store bought, nitrate-laden CRAP (think ShopRite 2 for $5) for myself and more young-in's! Tasty... I guess?....

    I do a fair amount of home-cookin' these days so It's a definite try. Thanks

    Dave Z.

  4. Nice work. Smoking makes it better still, though you need to be diligent with the thermometer.

    I have 10 lbs. of belly in the freezer, ready to cure when I have a minute. But first, there's a ham to deal with.

  5. Christine- So sublime!

    Mamou- Yes, indeedy.

    Dave- It's so good. You have to make it. Let me know how it comes out! Good to hear from you, hope all is well with your fams---Jules

    Peter-Thank you, Sensei. I do want to smoke it, and a larger quantity of it. Ten pounds is an incredible feat. And a ham. Wow. Very cool!

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  7. I have't tried home-cured bacon. Always wanted to make it at home. Thanks for sharing!

  8. beautiful! I have another friend who's cured his own bacon recently. If I were not on Weight Watchers and kind of avoiding bacon for the time being I might try it. Maybe after I've got a few goals under my belt. ;)

  9. You're my hero! One I haven't tried yet, and given my love of bacon, that's a shock. Maybe I'll have to give it a go...

  10. Kick me Julia! I have had jowels in the freezer waiting for me for about, oh, 4 months now. I can't wait to try this!!!

  11. So cool! I am intrigued by all these cured meat preparations, but still rather intimidated. Eugenia Bone's well-preserved has a recipe (if you have that, being a can-jammer you might!) and Ruhlman/Polcyns Charcuterie is fascinating on that topic. (I got it from the library but it's on my "to buy-to do" list one day, but I'm working up to it.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Is this the same Fleischers as in Cleaving?

  12. Thanks, Shanna! Anytime!

    Ellie- Can't wait to see what you do. I know it will be top notch!

    Melissa- Thanks! And, good for you. Stay the course and bacon will be yours again!

    Kaela- Coming from you that means a lot! Do it!

    Annette- Yeah, you're such a slacker! (Check her site out and you'll know how big of a joke this is!)

    Sara- It's sort of new, but I've also been thinking about it a lot. Those are both great books (that I borrowed from the library--would love to own them) but they do both use pink salt. I haven't found a book on a more natural course--let me know if you find one.

    And yes, that's the one. Did you read Cleaving? What'd you think?

  13. oh my, i NEED to make this immediately. everything's better with bacon.

  14. Is curing meat the new canvolution? I've got to try this.

  15. Doris- It might be. What will we call it, though? The "curevolution"? or Brinedependence? Or, -- Oh, I'll stop. You must make this!