Home Cured Bacon
When I saw the post of fellow blogger, 'The Old Fat Guy' from Canada, on how to make bacon, I just had to give it a go. It is so easy and the finished product is delicious. There is no water oozing into your pan like you get from store bought bacon, and you know exactly what you're eating.
Category: Cured Meat, Pork
Quantity: 1 kg (approximately)
- 1 kg piece of pork loin skin remove and trimmed
- 3 grams Prague Powder #1
- 40 g brown sugar
- 15 g salt
Mix the dry ingredients together to make the cure.
To determine how long to cure the meat in the fridge, measure the thickest part of the loin in inches. Multiply that by 4 and add 2. The thickest portion of my meat measured 2 inches so I cured it in the fridge for 10 days (2 x 4 +2).
Put the pork onto a plate and rub the cure into the meat, making sure you do not miss any cuts or folds, and making sure the cure is evenly distributed. You should spend a couple of minutes doing this.
Place the pork and any seasoning that is still on the plate, into a snap-lock/resealable plastic bag, squeeze out all of the air and then seal the bag. Place in a dish and then put in the fridge. Each day turn the bag and give the meat a little massage to ensure an even distribution of the cure. You will note that the cure becomes liquid during the brining period.
When the brining period is finished, take the meat from the fridge, remove it from the bag and rinse it under cold water. Then soak it in cold water for 40 minutes, changing the water once.
Pat the meat dry with paper towel, place it on a rack and then put it in the fridge, uncovered, overnight, to allow it to become dry and tacky. (It needs to be tacky for the smoking process.)
Light your cold smoker and cold smoke the meat for 6 hours, then return it to the fridge overnight. (If you do not have a cold smoker, skip this step and move on to the next step.)
The next day, light your hot smoker and put the meat on a rack in the smoker and smoke at 180˚C to an internal temperature of 150˚C.
Cover the bacon and leave in the fridge for another two days to allow the flavours to develop.
- I smoked my bacon to 150˚C internal temp, rather than 140˚C as suggested in the post by the Old Fat Guy, but I am going to try it at 140˚C as well.
- If you want to do 2 or 3 kilograms at a time, make sure you cure each kilogram separately, so for 2 kilograms you would have two bags with 1 kilogram piece of pork in each.
- With food, curing refers to the method of preserving and flavoring and in particular with meat and fish, it involves adding a combination of salt, sugar, nitrates or nitrites. Curing can also involve smoking.
- Prague Powder #1 (also known as Cure #1 or Instacure #1) is a mixture of Salt (93.75%) and Sodium Nitrite (6.25%). It should only be used to make cured meats that will be cooked after curing, i.e. bacon and ham. It MUST be weighed accurately and scales measuring 0.1g are recommended.