This is as simple as it comes. A basic dry cure for a slab of pork belly to make delicious streaky bacon, free from factory manipulation and injected brine. Cold smoke it and you’ve got smoked bacon.
When fried or grilled, this bacon won’t emit that white sludge which you have paid the same price for, gram for gram, as the actual meat when you pick up a packet of bacon form your local supermarket.
Whilst kosher salt (free from additives) is ideal, we’re yet to find any issues with using the most basic salt available ‘cheap as chips’ in big bags from the supermarket. This salt contains ‘anti-caking’ agent to prevent the salt from sticking together; sodium ferrocyanide (E535) in trace amounts.
Here’s what you need:
- Pork Belly – 2kg
- Salt – 500g
- Sugar (any granulated) – 300g
- Prague Powder #1 – 5g (2.5 g per kg of meat)
- A dry curing box
Hygiene is important so keep utensils, surfaces and extremities good and clean.
- Combine all the dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.
- Trim the pork belly of any uneven bits and remove any ribs if the butcher has left them on. The rind can be a bit tough to slice at home once the bacon is ready so you can remove it now in one go. Give the belly a rinse under cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Spread a layer of the cure blend into the top tier of the curing container. You may choose to put some cheese-cloth in first to prevent too much of the cure falling into the bottom tier.
- Add your pork belly ensuring there is some space between the meat and the sides/top of the container, and spread over the remainder of the cure, covering the top and sides of the meat.
- Pop the lid on and store in the fridge for 5 days, checking occasionally to empty any liquid.
- After 5 days, give the pork a good rinse – now you’ve got bacon!
If you’re going to smoke it, let it hang for a day somewhere cool and dry to let a sticky film develop on the meat. This will allow the smoke to stick more readily.
Cold smoke for 10 hours, slice and eat.
To slice the bacon evenly, it helps to pop it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes first.