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Mister Gain

Making Dry Cured Bacon

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Making Dry Cured Bacon


This is made using a prepared cure bought from a butcher supplier, in this case sausagemaking.org making use of the Organic Cure which is used at 4% or 40 grams per kilo of meat for this particular cure. You can also obtain bacon dry cures from Scobies or Weschenfelder.


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1 As you can see from the picture, I have my meat ready for preparation. I have decided to make streaky bacon using pork belly. I particularly like belly with fat on it, in my opinion fat equals flavour, and most of the fat runs away during cooking after flavouring the meat. I generally grill my bacon but it is equally as good fried.

The equipment needed for the preparation is a good sharp knife and a chopping board. I like to keep a keen edge on the knife. Be aware that an accident is more liable to happen if the knife has a dull edge. Clean all work surfaces, chopping boards and cutting equipment with a tasteless, odourless anti-bacterial disinfectant prior to use. I also opt to use some cheap latex gloves for rubbing in the cure. A set of good scales with increments to 1 gram are necessary to weigh out the cure in proportion to the meat. Here I will use the Organic cure.


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2 Remove the rib bones from the meat, leaving the skin on. Wipe away any bone dust caused by the butchers preparation. Remember that a butcher cannot spend as much time as you can in preparation. I like to ‘sheet bone’ any ribs as I enjoy them as a separate meal. (Chinese spare ribs)


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3 After boning the meat it must be weighed in order to ascertain the correct ratio of cure required. This meat weighs 2 kg 180 grams.


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4 I then ascertain the thickness of the meat at its highest point to ascertain the amount of time the meat is to cure for. With the cures I use from sausagemaking.org the rule is that it must cure for one day for every 1/2" of thickness and then add 2 more days. This meat is 1 1/2" thick so will require 5 days curing.


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5 It is now time to weigh the cure, and as I am using the Organic cure I must equate at 4% (or 40 grams) per kilo of meat. The meat weighed 2 kg 180 grams, so the right amount of cure would be 87.2 grams. In this case the 0.2 grams is not critical and these scales are in 1 gram increments so I will settle for 87 grams of cure.


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6 I now sprinkle the cure initially over the flesh side of the meat.


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7 The cure needs to be rubbed well in to all the exposed flesh and skin. Only about 10% of the cure need be applied to the skin and the other 90% to the remaining exposed flesh and fat. The reason for this is that the skin will not absorb the cure as well as the flesh, so most of the curing is being done from the flesh side through the meat towards the skin. You will note that the cure starts to emulsify almost immediately as it starts to react with the moisture in the flesh. This is the start of the curing process happening, and thus removing the excess liquid from the meat.


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8 The meat now needs to be wrapped. This can be done a few ways. The easiest way is to tightly wrap the meat in cling film as it is readily available, and plenty of it. Moisture will leech out of the film so it is prudent to lay it in a 'non-metallic' tray for the rest of the process. Alternatively you can use a 'ziplock' type bag, but I opt for vacuum packing it, mainly because I have one. It is also useful for packaging the end product.


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9 After the packing process is complete, I opt to apply a sticker with relevant details on it. My sticker tells me the initial weight of the meat, the amount of cure used, the initial thickness of the meat, the curing start date and the curing end date.


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10 The meat is now put in the fridge at a temperature of between 2ºC - 4ºC for 5 days curing. It should be turned every 2 days. You can see by the 'juice' in the bag that osmosis has started immediately.


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11 After the 5 days curing, the meat is now bacon. It is removed from its packing and rinsed in cold running water to remove any remnants of the cure.


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12 It is then patted dry with kitchen paper or a clean tea cloth to remove excess moisture.


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13 It is then hung for a day or so in the fridge to dry out further. It must be stored away from other meats to avoid any cross contamination.


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14 It is now ready to eat and can be sliced and packed to your requirements. Easy isn't it?


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Mister Gain, I think I love you.

Great comprehensive instructions and illustrations. Thanks.

Why should it be in a non-metallic tray?

Does it have to be kept refrigerated once it's dried out? Could it just be wrapped in greaseproof once it's dry?

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Good stuff! :good: Always wanted to try this myself.. :thumbs:

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Mister Gain, I think I love you.

Great comprehensive instructions and illustrations. Thanks.

Why should it be in a non-metallic tray?

Does it have to be kept refrigerated once it's dried out? Could it just be wrapped in greaseproof once it's dry?

 

It needs a container that will not react to sodium (salt) otherwise you could get a metallic taste to the finished product if the 'juice' leaks out during osmosis. No need if you have a vacuum sealer as it sucks the air out and seals the bag, not everyone can (or wants to) go to the expense of the vacuum sealer, but if you wrap with clingfilm the chances are you will get plenty of leakage. Food grade polythene bags are not expensive and are a good alternative if properly twisted and sealed..

 

It actually freezes very well, and I used to slice 6 or 7 rashers and make packs up using butchers counter wrap (thin food grade polythene sheet?) and freeze them. blokes at work were always after buying it from me even though it was quite expensive compared to the white froth product available commercially.

 

Once you make this stuff you will be reluctant to eat the other stuff. Also, if you buy half a pig you get the option to create good old fashioned collar bacon, which we never see available round here, or long back (back bacon and streaky still joined together.

 

If you have a smoker you can cold smoke it for about 12 hours and it doesn't have that artificial smoked taste that the shop bought stuff does. Quite a few times I have cured the pigs cheeks for bacon and it is delicious.

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Cheers mate you made it so simple following those steps

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I managed to dig out a photo of some sliced dry cured pigs cheeks I made some years ago, cured by the same method explained above and cooked on the BBQ.

My son couldn't believe what they were and how tasty and succulent they were. I made myself a sandwich with crusty homemade bread with plenty of piccalilly on.

 

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