Why should I make my own bacon?
Firstly, it costs much less than commercially produced bacon. Secondly, it has much less salt and no saltpetre or nitrite, which is what preserves bacon and gives it that pink colour. Yet there is no reason why bacon has to be pink; the colour doesn’t affect the flavour. And when you make your own, you won’t keep it around long enough for it to need preservatives!
What do I need?
Besides a large baking tray for preparing the bacon, there are only three ingredients. Loin and lean belly pork are the best cuts for making bacon. Ask your butcher to slice the meat like bacon for you, as this is easier than doing it yourself. If you want to do it yourself, however, use a large, very sharp knife, or a meat slicer if you have one. Sugar is part of the curing process and enhances the flavour of the finished bacon. Use the same amount of sugar as salt to make your cure. Mix it together in a small bowl. Salt is the only other ingredient. Use it in the following quantities.
• 1 teaspoon or 5g per kilo of meat gives very mild bacon
• 2 teaspoons or 10g per kilo gives a stronger flavour and is my favourite
• 3 teaspoons or 15g per kilo gives a stronger flavour still, but it uses only half the salt content of commercial bacon
How do I make the pork into bacon?
1. Make your chosen quantity of cure.
2. Lay the slices of pork on a baking tray.
3. Sprinkle the cure over the lean meat only. Tiny amounts are sufficient.
4. Lay one piece on top of the other, so that the cure reaches both sides. Remember to do the underside of the bottom layer.
5. Place in the fridge, uncovered, overnight. You will have bacon in the morning! The meat will have given off a pink liquor; this shows the cure is working.
6. Cook as you would ordinary bacon, but don’t use high heat because this will make it tough. This is true with most bacon – not just home-cured.
7. Once cured, keep in the fridge and eat within 4 days, or freeze in batches.
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