You might think that curing your own bacon is a) difficult and b) not worth it but a) it isn’t and b) it is. Compared to supermarket bacon, home-cured is tastier, meatier and doesn’t shrink to half the size – or exude white stuff while cooking! All you need is a lump of pork belly, your home-made cure, a fridge and a bit of personal organisation. First – buy your meat. You will need a piece of pork belly from the thick end, boned out and weighing about 2KG. You will need to find a traditional butcher for this. Now make your cure:
- 300g salt
- 200g soft brown sugar
- 2 tbs ground black pepper
- 2tbs crushed coriander seeds
- 3 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and finely chopped
- leaves from a small bunch of thyme
Mix the cure well and put it in an airtight pot.
Find a non-metallic plate or tray big enough to hold the meat. Put a handful of cure on the bottom of the plate, place the meat on top and spread another handful of cure on the top. Cover and place in the fridge for one day. Remove and pour off the liquid that will have been drawn out by the cure. Turn the meat over, and top up the cure top and bottom with another handful. Leave for another day in the fridge, then repeat. Do this for five days in total, and each day there will be less and less liquid drawn out as the cure does its job. The meat will get firmer too. After five days, wash the cure off the meat, dry with a paper towel and wipe all over with a cloth dipped in vinegar. Now leave in the fridge uncovered to dry for another week or so. It will then be ready to slice and use as bacon was intended. It will keep in the fridge for several weeks apparently, although you might find it gets eaten pretty quickly. For longer storage once it is air-dry, wrap in a dry tea towel and keep in the fridge for several months.