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Making bacon

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by lemonsqueeezy, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. I'm having a go at making my own bacon...have been salting some pork belly slices since Sunday, draining the fluid, rubbing more salt every day, couple more days to go until it's ready as green bacon. However, it seems too easy...can anyone help with these questions...
    1. I've just realised my pot of salt is Lo-salt. Will that be a problem?
    2. I'm not using a whole belly, just slices - most recipes imply you're working with a big piece. Do I have to be extra cautious about getting the salt everywhere.
    3. Am I going to poison myself? Have I done anything wrong?
    Self doubt is creeping in - should I bin the lot and let the butcher do the work????
    All advice welcome[​IMG]

     
  2. I'm having a go at making my own bacon...have been salting some pork belly slices since Sunday, draining the fluid, rubbing more salt every day, couple more days to go until it's ready as green bacon. However, it seems too easy...can anyone help with these questions...
    1. I've just realised my pot of salt is Lo-salt. Will that be a problem?
    2. I'm not using a whole belly, just slices - most recipes imply you're working with a big piece. Do I have to be extra cautious about getting the salt everywhere.
    3. Am I going to poison myself? Have I done anything wrong?
    Self doubt is creeping in - should I bin the lot and let the butcher do the work????
    All advice welcome[​IMG]

     
  3. nick909

    nick909 Lead commenter

    Have only a little experience of making bacon - made it a few times, but...
    I'd say so. In that Lo-salt doesn't taste very nice, in my opinion! I'd use sea salt.
    It will be fine but I'd imagine that it will be extremely salty, maybe unpalatably so, being slices. You will need to soak it well before eating. You won't need to cure it for as long as a piece.
    You are unlikely to poison yourself, but it might not be very nice...
    No - try it first! If not nice, do it again - with a whole piece of belly or loin, and sea salt.
     
  4. The title of this thread reminded me of the rude t-shirt I saw involving pigs.
    Sorry. I'll go now..........creeps off
     
  5. nick909

    nick909 Lead commenter


    I'd also add that using a mixture of salt and brown sugar is a nice cure - the sugar takes the edge off what can be an astringent cure, with just salt. Also try adding flavourings such as crushed bay leaves and crushed juniper berries.
    If you want a recipe - let me know and I'll post HFW's - has never let me down!
     
  6. anon468

    anon468 New commenter

    cosmos - have you never played that 'fun for all the family' game Pass The Pigs? [​IMG]
    Also sorry for digressing the thread... scuttle, scuttle...
     
  7. Ahh - I have plenty of bay...I'll have a go with some sugar too (not at the same time)
    Tried and tested recipes would be good.
    I'm using belly slices cos I bought half a pig, and that's how it arrived. I could ask them not to chop it up next time.
    Thanks everyone [​IMG]


     
  8. cosmos - have you never played that 'fun for all the family' game Pass The Pigs? [​IMG]
    Um.......pretty sure I haven't. Do explain.
     
  9. anon468

    anon468 New commenter

    It's a proper game, honest! I bought mine in the late, lamented Woolies. It accompanied me through uni and was responsible for much drunken hilarity in halls of res.
    Game consists of two plastic pigs which you throw and depending on the position(s) they fall in, you win points.
    'Makin' bacon' is one of the positions:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pass_the_Pigs
    Really sorry, OP. Threads do this sometimes...
     
  10. yes, sorry OP.....didn't mean to hog your thread.......
    Brilliant game manashee! must see if I can find it somewhere.
     
  11. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    And so do I at the moment... On a Tesco order I placed a couple of weeks ago with the intent of making a pate that week, I looked for bay leaves. They were ludicrously cheap compared to other herbs, about 30p a packet I think, and on a BOGOF deal. The packets are about the size of a small bag of crisps but not so bulky. I've got more than enough bay leaves to see my days out.
     
  12. nick909

    nick909 Lead commenter

    You can indeed use a mixture of sugar and bay with the salt in the cure - it works well! You can cure belly slices - think of bacon chops - but they only need 12-24 hrs curing. If you whip them out now theyh might be okay. Just might need a soaking in fresh water to remove some of the salt if very salty. And it might be a personal thing, but I really don't like Lo-Salt.
    HFW's recipe:
    1 whole free-range or organic (and preferably rare-breed) pork belly, cut into three equal pieces
    Around 750g salt
    Around 250g soft brown sugar
    25g freshly ground black pepper
    Optional aromatics
    A few bayleaves, finely chopped
    20 juniper berries, lightly crushed
    25g coriander seeds, crushed
    In a clean, non-metallic container, and with clean hands, mix the salt, sugar, pepper and any of the optional ingredients you are using.
    Place one piece of belly at a time on a clean work surface. Grab a good handful of the dry-cure mix and rub it all over the surface of the meat. When the belly is thoroughly salted all over, place it in a clean box or tray, again non-metallic (wood, plastic or ceramic is ideal), and repeat with the other pieces. Stack the finished bellies on top of each other and leave, covered, in a cool place, safe from flies. Keep any left-over cure.
    After 24 hours, the meat will have leached salty liquid into the container. Remove the bellies, pour off this liquid and rub the meat all over with more cure. Re-stack the bellies, preferably moving the one that was on the bottom to the top. Repeat the process daily. The bacon will be ready in just four days, though if you cure it for longer (up to 10 days), it will keep for longer.
    Bellies cured in this way should be rinsed of excess salt, patted dry, wrapped in clean muslin and left to hang in a cool, well-ventilated place, such as a larder, garage or outhouse. Cut pieces off the belly as you need them, then rewrap and rehang. Alternatively, wrap the belly in cotton, muslin or greaseproof paper and store in the fridge.
    Bellies cured for more than 10 days will keep for months in this way but tend to be unpalatably over-salty. Counteract this by soaking pieces cut from them in fresh water for a few hours. My preference is for a lighter (four- or five-day) cure. Any I'm not likely to use within a month get vacuum-packed and frozen.


    Note - I don't usually cure a whole belly - usually one piece about a kilo in weight. I find 4 days makes for a very salty bacon, so tend to got for about 3.
    It really is very simple though - and great fun.
    Good luck!
     
  13. nick909

    nick909 Lead commenter


    Further to this - I'd use about 1/3 of the suggested quantities above for 1 kilo of belly - you can always make up more if you need it.
     
  14. Have you got any maple

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGeKSiCQkPw
     
  15. Well, I've just had a <u>delicious</u> bacon and butterbean stew - and I'm still alive!!
    I rushed to try some bacon in time for tea this evening, so I didn't give the salt a proper washing out, but I am totally inspired to try some different recipes. How long have I been buying thin watery Danish when I could of been doing this all along!

    THANK YOU[​IMG]
     

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