Bacon is a beloved breakfast staple that has been enjoyed for centuries. While most bacon you find in stores is cured and processed with chemicals, there is a way to make your own uncured bacon at home.
In this article, we will explore different methods for curing sliced bacon, including a recipe for a simple home-cure. Whether you prefer your bacon crispy or squishy, this guide will help you achieve the perfect flavor and texture without any added chemicals.
So, let’s dive in and learn how to cure sliced bacon like a pro!
How To Cure Sliced Bacon?
There are a few different methods for curing sliced bacon, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that the process takes time and patience. Here are some steps to follow:
1. Mix together a curing solution: For a simple home-cure, mix 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of salt in 1 pint of warm water. Add a few shakes of liquid smoke for a smoky flavor (optional).
2. Place the sliced bacon in a deep glass container and cover with the curing solution. Make sure each strip is fully exposed to the solution.
3. Cover the container with a lid and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
4. The next day, remove the bacon from the curing solution and pat it dry with paper towels.
5. Fry the bacon on a cast iron skillet to your desired crispness. You can also use it in recipes that call for bacon or salt pork.
6. Reserve the bacon fat for frying veggies or eggs or making biscuits. It will impart a lovely baconey flavor to whatever you fry in it!
If you want to take your curing game to the next level, you can try a more traditional method that involves using curing salts and smoking the bacon. Here’s how:
1. Mix together a curing blend: Combine black pepper, sugar, paprika, salt, and curing salt in a small bowl.
2. Pat dry the sliced pork belly with paper towels and sprinkle half of the curing blend over one side of the belly. Rub it in gently, then flip the belly over and repeat on the other side with the remaining blend.
3. Place the entire belly and curing blend into a large zip-top bag and refrigerate for 7 days, flipping it over each day and massaging the liquid around.
4. After 7 days, remove the belly from the bag and rinse it under water. Pat it dry with paper towels and place it back in the fridge uncovered on a rack over a pan to catch any drips for 24 hours.
5. Smoke the now cured belly using apple or cherry wood for three hours at 200°F or until it reaches an internal temperature of 150°F.
6. Store your homemade bacon in an airtight plastic bag or container in the refrigerator for up to a week, cutting and cooking as required.
The Basics Of Curing Bacon
Curing bacon is a process that involves preserving the meat with salt and other ingredients to enhance its flavor and extend its shelf life. There are two main methods for curing bacon: a simple home-cure and a more traditional method that involves using curing salts and smoking the bacon.
For a simple home-cure, you’ll need to mix sugar, salt, and liquid smoke in warm water, then cover the sliced bacon with the solution and refrigerate it overnight. The next day, you’ll need to pat the bacon dry and fry it on a cast iron skillet or use it in recipes that call for bacon or salt pork.
If you want to take your curing game to the next level, you can try the more traditional method of curing bacon. This method involves using a curing blend of black pepper, sugar, paprika, salt, and curing salt to rub all over the pork belly. The belly is then placed into a zip-top bag and refrigerated for 7 days, flipping it over each day and massaging the liquid around.
After 7 days, remove the belly from the bag and rinse it under water. Pat it dry with paper towels and place it back in the fridge uncovered on a rack over a pan to catch any drips for 24 hours. Then smoke the now cured belly using apple or cherry wood for three hours at 200°F or until it reaches an internal temperature of 150°F.
By following these basic steps, you can create your own delicious homemade bacon that’s free from chemicals and preservatives. Whether you opt for a simple home-cure or a more traditional method, patience is key when it comes to curing bacon. So take your time and enjoy the process!
Choosing The Right Cut Of Pork
When it comes to curing sliced bacon, the cut of pork you choose is important. The most common cut used for bacon is the pork belly, which is a fatty and flavorful cut that is perfect for curing. However, you can also use other cuts like the loin or shoulder, which are leaner but still work well for curing.
If you prefer a leaner bacon, you can use a loin or shoulder cut, but keep in mind that these cuts will not have as much fat as the pork belly. This means that the bacon may be drier and not as flavorful as bacon made from pork belly. If you do use a leaner cut, you may want to add some extra fat to the curing solution to help keep the bacon moist and flavorful.
When selecting your pork, it’s important to choose high-quality meat from a reputable source. Look for meat that is pasture-raised and free of hormones and antibiotics. This will ensure that your bacon has the best flavor and texture possible.
Dry Curing Vs. Wet Curing
When it comes to curing sliced bacon, there are two main methods: dry curing and wet curing. Dry curing involves rubbing the meat with a blend of salt and seasonings and allowing it to rest in this mixture for a long period of time. No water is added in this process, and the meat is left to cure for a full, robust flavor. Dry curing is the older and more traditional method of the two, and the lack of added liquid means there is less shrinkage in the pan when cooked.
On the other hand, wet curing involves mixing salt, along with other seasonings, in water and allowing the bacon to sit immersed in the mixture for a long period of time. This method helps to preserve both the meat and the moisture of the final product. Wet curing is also known as brining, and it is useful for large quantities of meat or ham cures.
While dry curing results in a deeper, more robust flavor profile, wet curing allows the meat to retain its water and even adds more liquid, so it doesn’t lose weight during production. However, this means that you’re paying for water, as you pay for the weight of the added water, and then all that extra liquid gets cooked off in the frying pan.
Ultimately, both dry curing and wet curing can produce delicious sliced bacon. The choice between these methods depends on personal preference, as well as the type of bacon being cured. If you want a more traditional flavor profile and don’t mind a little shrinkage in the pan, dry curing may be your best bet. But if you want your bacon to retain its moisture and don’t mind paying for added water weight, wet curing may be the way to go.
Making Your Own Bacon Cure
If you want to make your own bacon cure, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you’ll need to use curing salts, which are a combination of sodium nitrite and salt. These salts help to preserve the meat and prevent bacterial growth. You can find curing salts at specialty food stores or online.
To make your own bacon cure, start by mixing together the following ingredients:
– 1 cup kosher salt
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 2 tablespoons black pepper
– 2 tablespoons paprika
– 2 teaspoons curing salt
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. This recipe makes enough cure for about 5 pounds of pork belly.
To use the cure, spread a layer of it on the bottom of a glass or plastic container. Place the pork belly on top of the cure, skin side down. Cover the pork belly with more of the cure, making sure it’s completely coated. Cover the container with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for 7 days.
After 7 days, remove the pork belly from the container and rinse it thoroughly under cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels and let it air-dry in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Once the bacon is dry, you can smoke it using your preferred method. You can also slice it and fry it up for breakfast or use it in recipes that call for bacon.
Making your own bacon cure takes a bit more time and effort than using a pre-made solution, but it allows you to customize the flavors to your liking. Plus, there’s something satisfying about being able to say that you made your own bacon from scratch!
Applying The Cure To The Bacon
Once you have your curing solution mixed and ready, it’s time to apply it to the sliced bacon. Make sure the bacon is dry and free of any excess moisture before proceeding.
For a simple home-cure, place the sliced bacon in a deep glass container and cover it with the curing solution. Be sure to separate each strip so that it is fully exposed to the solution. Cover the container with a lid and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
For a more traditional method, start by patting dry the sliced pork belly with paper towels. Sprinkle half of the curing blend over one side of the belly and rub it in gently. Flip the belly over and repeat on the other side with the remaining blend. Place the entire belly and curing blend into a large zip-top bag and refrigerate for 7 days, flipping it over each day and massaging the liquid around.
Regardless of which method you choose, make sure to keep an eye on the bacon as it cures. Check on it daily and make sure that each strip is fully coated with the curing solution. If any pieces are not fully coated, rotate them so that they are.
After the bacon has cured for the desired amount of time, remove it from the curing solution and pat it dry with paper towels. At this point, you can either fry it up for immediate consumption or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for later use.
By following these simple steps, you can enjoy delicious homemade bacon that is free of any chemicals or preservatives.
The Importance Of Patience: How Long To Cure Bacon
When it comes to curing bacon, patience is key. The curing process takes time, and it’s important not to rush it. While there are different methods for curing bacon, the general rule of thumb is to cure it for at least 7 days. This allows the curing solution to fully penetrate the meat and work its magic.
It’s important to note that over-curing bacon can also be a problem. While some people may believe that you can never cure bacon for too long, this is not necessarily true. Over-cured bacon can become too salty and lose its flavor. So, while it’s important to be patient and allow enough time for the curing process, it’s also important not to overdo it.
If you’re new to curing bacon, start with a 7-day cure and see how it turns out. If you’re happy with the results, you can try experimenting with longer cures in the future. But remember, under-curing bacon can also be a problem. Taking it out of the curing solution too early can result in a young ham flavor rather than a rich and smoky bacon flavor.