Are you a bacon lover looking to take your breakfast game to the next level?
Why not try curing your own bacon at home?
It may sound intimidating, but with the right ingredients and a little patience, you can create the best bacon you’ve ever tasted.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of dry curing bacon at home. No need for fancy equipment or special skills – just some quality pork belly, a few seasonings, and a willingness to experiment.
So grab your apron and let’s get started on this delicious journey.
How To Cure Bacon At Home Dry Cure?
The first step in curing bacon at home is to choose the right cut of meat. Look for the freshest pork belly you can find, preferably from a local butcher or farmer’s market. You’ll also need a few key ingredients: salt, sugar, and curing salt (also known as pink salt).
To make the dry cure, mix together 1 cup of kosher salt, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of curing salt. Rub the mixture all over the pork belly, making sure to coat both sides and the edges.
Place the seasoned pork belly on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and refrigerate for 7-10 days. During this time, the salt will draw out moisture from the meat and infuse it with flavor.
Every day, flip the pork belly over and massage any liquid that has accumulated back into the meat. This will help ensure that the cure is evenly distributed.
After 7-10 days, remove the pork belly from the refrigerator and rinse it thoroughly under cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels and let it air-dry on a wire rack for 24 hours.
Now it’s time to smoke your bacon. You can use a smoker or a grill with a smoking box. Apple or cherry wood are great choices for smoking bacon.
Smoke the pork belly at 200°F for 3-4 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 150°F. Let it cool completely before slicing.
What Is Dry Curing And Why Do It At Home?
Dry curing is a traditional method of curing bacon that involves rubbing a mixture of salt, sugar, and curing salt onto the pork belly and allowing it to cure for several days. This process draws out moisture from the meat, infuses it with flavor, and preserves it for longer shelf life.
Dry curing bacon at home allows you to control the quality of the meat and the ingredients used in the curing process. You can choose to use organic or locally sourced pork belly and adjust the amount of salt and sugar to your liking. Additionally, dry curing produces a more robust flavor profile compared to other methods such as pumping or immersion curing.
While dry curing bacon at home is a time-consuming process, the end result is well worth the effort. You’ll have delicious, homemade bacon that is free from additives and preservatives commonly found in store-bought bacon. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you made it yourself.
Choosing The Right Pork Belly For Bacon
When choosing the right pork belly for making bacon, it’s important to look for certain qualities. First and foremost, you want to find a pork belly that is fresh and has not been sitting in the meat case for too long. It’s best to buy from a local butcher or farmer’s market where you can ask about the source of the meat and how it was raised.
You’ll also want to look for a pork belly that is uniform in thickness and squared off. This will ensure that the bacon slices are consistent in size and cook evenly. Avoid pork belly that is gouged or looks old, as this can affect the flavor and texture of the bacon.
If possible, choose a pork belly that is from a heritage breed like Berkshire, Duroc, or Kurobuta. These breeds have a richer, meatier flavor than industrial pork bellies. It’s also important to consider how the pigs were raised. Look for pork belly from hogs raised humanely without hormones or antibiotics.
When making homemade smoked bacon, you’ll want the skin (called the rind) off. You can either cut it off yourself or ask the butcher to do it for you. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to making delicious homemade bacon that is sure to impress your friends and family.
Essential Ingredients For Dry Curing Bacon
When it comes to dry curing bacon, there are a few essential ingredients that you’ll need to have on hand. The first is salt, which is the primary ingredient in any cure. Kosher salt is the most commonly used type of salt for curing bacon at home.
Next, you’ll need sugar to offset the harshness of the salt. Brown sugar is a popular choice, but you can also use white sugar if you prefer.
Finally, you’ll need curing salt, also known as pink salt or Prague powder. This is a mixture of salt and sodium nitrite that helps to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and gives the bacon its characteristic pink color.
When mixing your dry cure, be sure to follow a recipe and measure your ingredients carefully. Too much salt can make your bacon too salty, while too much sugar can make it too sweet.
By using these essential ingredients and following the proper curing process, you can create delicious homemade bacon that rivals anything you can buy at the store.
Step-by-step Guide To Dry Curing Bacon At Home
Dry curing bacon at home is a simple process that requires patience and attention to detail. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:
1. Choose the right cut of meat: Look for fresh pork belly from a local butcher or farmer’s market.
2. Mix the dry cure: In a bowl, mix together 1 cup of kosher salt, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of curing salt.
3. Prepare the pork belly: Cut the pork belly into a square block and rinse it under cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels.
4. Apply the dry cure: Rub the dry cure mixture all over the pork belly, making sure to coat both sides and edges.
5. Refrigerate: Place the seasoned pork belly on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and refrigerate for 7-10 days. Flip the pork belly over every day and massage any liquid that has accumulated back into the meat.
6. Rinse and dry: After 7-10 days, remove the pork belly from the refrigerator and rinse it thoroughly under cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels and let it air-dry on a wire rack for 24 hours.
7. Smoke: Smoke the pork belly at 200°F for 3-4 hours using apple or cherry wood chips, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 150°F.
8. Cool and slice: Let the bacon cool completely before slicing it across the grain into thin or thick slices.
By following these simple steps, you can enjoy delicious homemade bacon that is sure to impress your friends and family. Remember to store your bacon in the refrigerator or freezer for optimal freshness.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Curing Bacon
When it comes to curing bacon at home, there are a few common mistakes that can ruin your final product. Here are some things to avoid:
1. Using the wrong cut of meat: It’s important to use fresh pork belly for your bacon. Avoid using pre-packaged or frozen pork belly, as it may have been treated with chemicals or additives that can affect the curing process.
2. Over-salting: While salt is an important ingredient in the curing process, it’s easy to overdo it. Be sure to measure your ingredients carefully and follow the recipe closely. Too much salt can result in a product that is too salty and unpleasant to eat.
3. Using the wrong type of salt: Kosher salt is a popular choice for curing bacon, but it’s important to use the right type of salt for your recipe. Avoid using table salt or iodized salt, as they can contain additives that can affect the flavor and texture of your bacon.
4. Not using curing salt: Curing salt, also known as pink salt, is an important ingredient in the curing process. It contains sodium nitrite, which helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and gives your bacon its characteristic pink color. Be sure to use the right amount of curing salt for your recipe.
5. Skipping the flipping: It’s important to flip your pork belly every day during the curing process to ensure that the cure is evenly distributed. Skipping this step can result in unevenly cured bacon.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your homemade bacon turns out delicious and flavorful every time.
How To Store And Cook Your Homemade Bacon
Congratulations on making your own homemade bacon! Now that you’ve put in the time and effort to cure and smoke it, you want to make sure it stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible.
To store your homemade bacon, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to two weeks this way. If you want to store it for longer, you can freeze it for up to six months. To freeze, wrap the bacon tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil, or place it in an airtight container. Be sure to label the package with the date so you know when it was frozen.
When you’re ready to cook your bacon, there are a few different methods you can use. One popular method is to cook it in a skillet on the stovetop. Heat the skillet over medium heat and add the bacon strips. Cook for 5-7 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the bacon is crispy and golden brown.
Another option is to bake your bacon in the oven. Preheat your oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the bacon strips out on the parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crispy.
If you have leftover cooked bacon, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. You can also freeze cooked bacon for up to six months.
Now that you know how to store and cook your homemade bacon, enjoy it in all your favorite dishes! From breakfast sandwiches to BLTs, there’s no limit to what you can do with this delicious cured meat.