Are you a fan of bacon but want to avoid the chemicals and preservatives found in store-bought options? Look no further than curing your own sliced pork belly!
While traditional cured bacon involves marinating and seasoning the meat before smoking, slicing, and packaging, this method allows you to create a chemical-free version with just a few simple ingredients.
Whether you prefer a classic bacon flavor or want to experiment with different seasonings, curing sliced pork belly is a fun and rewarding process that will result in delicious homemade bacon.
In this article, we’ll explore different methods for curing sliced pork belly and provide step-by-step instructions for creating your own bacon at home.
So grab your apron and let’s get started!
How To Cure Sliced Pork Belly For Bacon?
There are several methods for curing sliced pork belly for bacon, each with its own unique flavor profile. Here are three popular options:
1. Basic Cure: This simple method involves mixing salt and sugar with warm water and adding a touch of liquid smoke for a smoky flavor. Place the sliced pork belly in a deep glass container and cover with the water mixture. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
2. Spice Rub Cure: For a more flavorful bacon, create a spice rub using a combination of salt, sugar, paprika, and other seasonings of your choice. Rub the mixture all over each slice of pork belly, then stack them on top of each other and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in a Ziploc bag and let it cure in the refrigerator for 10-14 days.
3. Brine Cure: This method involves creating a brine solution using brown sugar, salt, pepper, and Prague Powder #
Why Cure Your Own Bacon?
Curing your own bacon has several advantages over store-bought bacon. First and foremost, you have complete control over the ingredients that go into your bacon. You can choose to use high-quality, organic pork belly and avoid any additives or preservatives that are commonly found in commercial bacon. Additionally, you can customize the flavor of your bacon by experimenting with different curing methods and spice blends. This allows you to create a unique product that suits your personal taste preferences.
Another benefit of curing your own bacon is the cost savings. While the initial investment in equipment and ingredients may be higher, the cost per pound of homemade bacon is often lower than store-bought bacon. Plus, you can make larger batches and freeze the excess for later use, which is both convenient and cost-effective.
Finally, curing your own bacon can be a fun and rewarding DIY project. It allows you to connect with your food and appreciate the time and effort that goes into creating a delicious and nutritious product. Plus, it’s a great way to impress your friends and family with your culinary skills!
Choosing Your Pork Belly
When choosing your pork belly for making bacon, it is important to consider the quality of the meat. Look for pasture-raised pork that is free from antibiotics and hormones. This will ensure that your bacon is not only delicious but also healthier.
You can purchase pork belly in two forms: regular sliced bacon and slabs of pork belly. The regular sliced bacon is simply sliced pork belly and cannot be cured or smoked due to its pre-sliced form. On the other hand, the slab of pork belly can be cured and smoked in the traditional way.
If you are opting for the basic cure method, it is recommended to choose regular sliced bacon as it will absorb the salt and sugar mixture more evenly due to its thinness. However, if you prefer a more complex flavor profile, go for the slab of pork belly and experiment with different spice rubs or brine solutions.
When buying pork belly, make sure to check its freshness by looking for a bright pink color and firm texture. Avoid any pork belly that has a grayish color, as it may indicate spoilage.
Ingredients For Curing
When it comes to curing sliced pork belly for bacon, the ingredients you use will determine the flavor and texture of your final product. Here are some common ingredients used in curing bacon:
1. Salt: Salt is the most important ingredient in any bacon cure. It helps to preserve the meat and adds flavor. You can use any type of salt, but kosher salt or sea salt are recommended.
2. Sugar: Sugar helps to balance out the saltiness of the cure and adds a touch of sweetness to the bacon. Brown sugar, granulated sugar, or maple sugar are all good options.
3. Prague Powder #
Dry Curing Vs. Wet Curing
When it comes to curing sliced pork belly for bacon, there are two main methods: dry curing and wet curing.
Dry curing involves coating the meat in a mixture of salt, sugar, and pink curing salt, along with any desired spices or seasonings. The meat is then wrapped tightly and left to cure in the refrigerator for 7-14 days. Dry curing results in a more concentrated flavor and a firmer texture, as the excess moisture is drawn out of the meat. However, it does require more time and attention to detail.
Wet curing, on the other hand, involves submerging the meat in a brine solution made of water, salt, sugar, and pink curing salt, along with any desired spices or seasonings. The meat is left to cure in the refrigerator for 7-10 days. Wet curing results in a milder flavor and a softer texture, as the meat retains more moisture. However, it requires less time and effort than dry curing.
Both methods require refrigeration and flipping the meat daily during the curing process. Ultimately, the choice between dry curing and wet curing comes down to personal preference and desired outcome. Dry curing is ideal for those who want a more concentrated flavor and firmer texture, while wet curing is great for those who prefer a milder flavor and softer texture.
Step-by-Step Guide To Dry Curing
If you prefer a dry cure for your bacon, here is a step-by-step guide to help you achieve the perfect homemade bacon:
1. Mix the dry cure ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together kosher salt, sugar, and pink curing salt. You can also add extra flavors and aromatics like rosemary and garlic if you prefer.
2. Calculate the amount of dry cure needed: To get the exact right amount of dry cure, multiply your pork belly’s weight in grams by 2.5% or 0.025. For instance, a thousand grams of pork belly needs 25g of dry cure. If you prefer, you can also just eyeball the dry cure as long as you cover every side and corner with the mixture.
3. Label and store the pork belly in a Ziploc bag: Place the pork belly in a Ziploc bag labeled with the starting day. This will help you keep track of how many days the pork belly has been curing. Place the bag in the fridge and let it cure for 7-10 days.
4. Flip the meat: After four days, flip the bag to ensure that it evenly absorbs whatever liquid comes out during the process.
5. Rinse off the cure: After 7-10 days, rinse off the cure with water and pat it dry with paper towels.
6. Smoke or roast: Now that your pork belly is cured, it’s ready to be smoked or roasted to create delicious homemade bacon.
By following these simple steps, you can easily create your own flavorful and perfectly cured bacon at home using a dry cure method.
Step-by-Step Guide To Wet Curing
Wet curing is a popular method for curing sliced pork belly for bacon. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:
1. Gather your ingredients. You’ll need 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of plain (non-iodized) table salt, 1 cup of white sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar, and 1 TBS of Insta-Cure #