Recently it has been bacon curing time here. I made some cured with the salt/sugar box method and smoked with hickory but more on that later. After being sent the Ruhlman recipe by Jonno (thank you) I decided to try their basic dry cure and the Ziplock bag method.
I used the loin from our Oxford Sandy and Black pigs – who I have to say have been very very tasty so far.
I mixed up a cure of 2 parts salt to one part brown sugar – I can’t remember how much of this I made – not much. Ruhlman suggests 30g for a belly weighing 1.5-2.25 kg. I added some bay leaves cut into thin strips, a sliced dried red chilli, 1//2 cup of maple syrup and probably about 10g of ground black pepper. I may well have added a little crushed juniper as well.
I smeared the cure on the belly and then put the belly in a ziplock bag and placed it in an appropriately sized tuperware box. The pork releases liquid as it cures and it is this salty liquid that cures the meat. You need to overhaul the cure every day or so – this just means flipping the bag overs so the cure is distributed over the meat.
I usually cure my bacon for up to 10 days but this time I just did it for 5 days – firstly this is what Jonno suggested and secondly I was about to go on holiday. After five days I washed the cure off, I hope I remembered to wipe the bacon with vinegar, but I may have forgotton!
Then I hung the bacon in my curing shed and left it for two weeks.
When I came to slice it, it had a light covering of white mould – but this doesn’t put me off. I wiped it off with a cloth soaked in vinegar and sliced the bacon on my marvelous slicer.
It was much lighter than my usual bacon, not as salty. Obviously curing it with a lighter cure and for less time means its storage capability is not as great but as we have a freezer this is not a big issue.
Overall I like this cure and will try it again – maybe smoking the next batch and hanging it only for a week.
In the interests of making sure it was safe to eat I made a bacon sandwich with loads of watercress immediately after slicing – and I am still here …..