How To Cure Pork Belly To Make Bacon? The Key Facts

Are you a bacon lover? Have you ever wondered how to make your own delicious, homemade bacon?

Look no further than curing your own pork belly! While it may seem intimidating, the process of curing pork belly to make bacon is actually quite simple and can be done with just a few ingredients and some patience.

In this article, we will explore different methods for curing pork belly and provide step-by-step instructions for making your own mouth-watering bacon at home.

Get ready to impress your friends and family with your newfound bacon-making skills!

How To Cure Pork Belly To Make Bacon?

Before we dive into the process of curing pork belly, it’s important to note that the quality of the pork belly you use will greatly impact the flavor of your bacon. Look for organic or heritage breed pork belly for the best results.

There are a few different methods for curing pork belly, but we will focus on a simple method that takes approximately five days.

To begin, you will need to create a curing mixture. This typically includes a combination of salt, sugar, and curing salt (also known as Prague Powder #

What Is Pork Belly And Why Is It Used For Bacon?

Pork belly is a cut of meat that comes from the belly of a pig. It is a fatty and flavorful cut that is commonly used to make bacon. Pork belly is ideal for bacon because of its high fat content, which gives the bacon its signature flavor and texture.

When selecting pork belly for bacon, it is important to choose a high-quality cut. Look for organic or heritage breed pork belly, which will have a richer, meatier flavor than industrially-raised pork belly.

Curing pork belly is the process of preserving it with a mixture of salt, sugar, and curing salt. This mixture draws out moisture from the meat, which helps to preserve it and gives it a distinct flavor. After curing, the pork belly is smoked and cooked to create bacon.

Making your own bacon from pork belly can be a fun and rewarding process. By using high-quality ingredients and taking the time to properly cure and smoke the meat, you can create bacon that is superior in taste and quality to store-bought varieties.

The Different Types Of Bacon And Their Curing Methods

When it comes to bacon, there are different types depending on the cut of pork used, the curing method, and the smoking method. Here are some of the most common types of bacon and their curing methods:

1. American Bacon: This is the most common type of bacon in the United States. It is made from pork belly that has been cured with a mixture of salt, sugar, and sodium nitrite. The bacon is then smoked over hickory wood.

2. Canadian Bacon: Also known as back bacon, this type of bacon is made from pork loin instead of pork belly. The meat is cured with a mixture of salt and sugar, and then smoked over hardwood.

3. Irish Bacon: This type of bacon is made from pork loin that has been cured with a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices such as coriander and black pepper. It is not smoked, but rather boiled or roasted.

4. Pancetta: This Italian bacon is made from pork belly that has been cured with salt, pepper, and other spices such as fennel or garlic. It is not smoked, but rather air-dried for several months.

Regardless of the type of bacon you choose to make, the basic process for curing pork belly remains the same. The pork belly is coated in a mixture of salt, sugar, and other seasonings, and then left to cure for several days. After curing, the bacon can be smoked or cooked in other ways to achieve the desired flavor and texture.

Ingredients And Equipment Needed For Curing Pork Belly

When it comes to curing pork belly, there are a few key ingredients and pieces of equipment you’ll need. Here’s a breakdown:

Step-by-step Guide To Dry Curing Pork Belly

1. Start by preparing the pork belly. Rinse it thoroughly and pat it dry with paper towels. Trim any loose meat or excess fat.

2. Prepare your curing vessel by creating a setup that allows for liquid to drain out of the bottom. Place a pan or another vessel underneath to catch the liquids.

3. In a large, rimmed container, layer a 50/50 mixture of salt and sugar to completely cover the bottom of the vessel, at least a couple of inches deep.

4. Place the pork belly into the salt/sugar mixture and press the meat so that it coats all surfaces of the meat. If your pork still has the skin on, there’s no need to salt the skin side. However, if the skin has been removed, flip the pork over and salt all sides.

5. Remove pork from the salt/sugar mixture and place it into the clean curing vessel.

6. Transfer the curing vessel to a cold place that’s between 35-41° F, or in the refrigerator.

7. Let the pork cure for 5 days, flipping it over every day to ensure that it is evenly coated in the liquid that exudes from it.

8. After 5 days, remove the pork belly from the curing vessel and rinse off any excess salt/sugar mixture under running water. Rinse well with water and pat dry with paper towels.

9. Smoke your cured pork belly using apple or cherry wood for three hours at 200°F or until internal temperature reaches 150°F.

10. Let your bacon cool down and then store it in an airtight plastic bag or container in refrigerator for up to a week, cutting and cooking as required.

Remember to always handle raw meat with care and follow food safety guidelines to avoid any health risks. With this simple method, you can enjoy delicious homemade bacon that is free from preservatives and additives.

Step-by-step Guide To Wet Curing Pork Belly

Wet curing pork belly is a popular method of curing that involves immersing the pork belly in a water-based curing solution. Here is a step-by-step guide to wet curing pork belly:

1. Create the Curing Solution: In a large pot, combine water, salt, sugar, and curing salt (Prague Powder #

Smoking And Cooking Your Homemade Bacon

Once your pork belly has been properly cured and rinsed, it’s time to smoke and cook it to perfection. Smoking your bacon will give it that traditional smoky flavor that we all know and love. Here’s how to do it:

1. Choose your wood: Apple wood, maple, and hickory are all great choices for smoking bacon. Each will impart a slightly different flavor, so choose the one that sounds best to you.

2. Preheat your smoker: Set your smoker to 165°F and let it preheat while you prepare the pork belly.

3. Prepare the pork belly: Remove the pork belly from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This will help it cook more evenly. Place the pork belly on the grill grates of the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for about 6 hours or until the internal temperature is up to 155°F.

4. Monitor the temperature: It’s important to monitor the temperature of the pork belly while it’s smoking. Use a good quality thermometer to ensure that it reaches the proper internal temperature without overcooking.

5. Chill and slice: Once the pork belly is smoked, let it cool for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours before slicing. If you have the patience, chill the bacon completely before slicing. This will make it easier to slice evenly. Use a meat slicer if you have one, or a sharp knife if not.

If you don’t have a smoker, you can still cook your bacon in a traditional oven. Simply preheat your oven to 200°F and cook the cured pork belly until it reaches an internal temperature of 150°F.

Remember, homemade bacon is a labor of love, but the end result is well worth the effort. Enjoy your delicious, smoky creation!