Curing bacon is not difficult. This recipe is a winner – cold smoked afterwards and then left to mature for a week or two I find it better diced into chunky lumps and used in salads, pastas or with scrambled egg. You can try to slice it and have it in a butty, but it’s not really right for that if you ask me!
Anyway you eat it, remember to cook it gently. Blasting it in a pan at high heat will burn it double quick due to the treacle.
One more tip – if you get a big lump of belly (4kg+) you may find one end is meaty and the other is mostly fat. Cure it all and then trim the bits that are more fat than meat afterwards, they are great as added fat to freshly minced beef for incredible burgers!
I can add is this handy cure calculator and some feedback about Kyle’s technique based on the dozen or so times I have followed it, and a bit of practical advice on how to hang it and store it at home.
A Word on Salt
You should never use table salt for curing as it usually has iodine in it, and its too fine. You can use sea salt but I avoid it as it will have other minerals that may or may not be good for your cure. Many recipes online call for ‘kosher salt’. This is just American chat for salt with a larger grain, rock or flake, much like Maldon – however Maldon is expensive, so I recommend grabbing a box of this and keep it in the back of the larder for curing purposes, will last ages! Either way, just stick to a good quality, pure, rock or flake based salt.
- Before you begin, consider cutting the belly up into manageable pieces. I prefer to do lumps that fit into a gallon sizes ziplock bag
- Mix all the ingredients together to make the cure and coat the meat. Drizzle a generous but manageable amount of black treacle over it.
- Carefully drop the meat into a bag and pop it in the fridge. The next day the cure will be working and have gone a bit sludgy. Open the bag and add a slug of the beer, trying not to wash off the cure but make sure the beer and salty liquid are in contact with the meat, tip it all to one side and fold any excess plastic under the meat so as to be sure.
- Turn every day for a fortnight – congrats, your belly is now bacon!
- Wash off the cure under a cold tap and pat dry
- Keep it on a cake rack in the fridge for a couple of days to dry out a bit, then cold smoke over a strong wood like oak for min 8 hours
- Wrap in peach paper (like a non-waxy butchers paper) and leave to mature in the fridge for at least another week