Thursday, September 10, 2009

Home Cured Bacon

As most of you know regular bacon contains all kinds of toxic nitrites that are really not needed for the flavour and wreak havoc on your body, (Im assuming they are added to the meat to preserve it for long periods of time), so for quite some time we have been eating naturally cured bacon.

When we started gaps we found out that bacon was off the food list as it also contains various kinds of sugars. So being a lover of bacon I decide to find out how I could cure my own.

As with all my "how to" searches I started with YouTube (my favourite resource). I watched several videos of people curing bacon and ham in different ways. I didnt want to have the hassle of smoking the meat, as that seemed like too much extra brain power, so I just went for the basic cure and then freeze method.

Once I had seen enough videos to feel confident to give it a go myself I decided on a simple salt rub method.

That came out a little too salty and my teenager complained it had no real bacon flavor. So then I cured it with salt and honey. That made a real difference to the flavor. Although the honey in the meat does make it caramelize and then burn more easily so we have to keep the temperature of the pan on medium.

So here is what I do to make bacon. It's very simple:

I purchase an organic pork belly rinse it and rub honey all over it. Massage it well (this is a very goopy process).

I then sprinkle a generous amount of salt all over every surface and pat it down. I place it in a zip lock bag and make sure all the air is squeezed out before sealing it.

Place the whole think in a baking tray in the fridge and place a chopping board on top of it before adding a weight to that, to help press out all the juices – I usually use 3 kilos of oranges as our fridge is always full of fruit.

Each day I turn it over and replace the weight again.

In 5-7 days it is ready.

To slice it you will need a very sharp knife or a friendly butcher that is willing to slice it for you. (I spend approx $150 every 2-3 weeks at my butcher so he is very helpful and slices it on the deli slicer for me, so all the slices are nice and even).

I layer the bacon between pieces of plastic wrap so I can just pull out a couple at a time. I tried using greese proof paper but it tends to tear as you pull out the slices. Plastic wrap, called "Gladwrap" in Australia, works much better.

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