Curing bacon is no witchcraft. If you follow our simple guidelines it doesn't take long to master the art of dry curing.
- 2kg Saddleback Pork Belly
- 500g PDV salt
- 500g Demerara sugar
- 25g Peppercorns
- 10g Juniper berries
- A few bay leaves
If your belly has come with bones on, remove them.
Once you have removed the bones make sure there is an even covering of flare fat across the belly. An uneven covering of fat can affect the length of time it takes to cure your bacon. If the belly is uneven, give the thicker part a bit of a scrape with your knife.
In a mixing bowl, mix together all of the ingredients, making sure everything is combined well. Take a generous handful of the cure mix and place in a deep rectangular tray, something deep enough and wide enough to fit the belly. Place the belly skin side down and add another handful of the cure over the top of the belly making sure you rub it all in evenly into the belly so it is fully coated.
You should use about a fifth of the cure in this step. Place the remained of the cure in an airtight jar.
Cover the belly with a lid or a clean and dry tea towel and place in the fridge for 24 hours.
During the first days cure the salt should start to draw out the moisture from the meat, you should find a small pool in the bottom of the tray. Remove the belly from the tray and pour away all the liquid.
Rub a fresh handful into the belly and place it back in the tray, this time skin side up. Repeat this process for 5 days, rotating the skin side of the belly with each fresh cure.
After day 5 you should notice the meat has started to turn darker and feels firmer to the touch. Run the belly under the tap and remove all the cure, rub the belly with a cloth soaked in malt vinegar then pat it dry with a clean tea towel.
Thoroughly clean out the tray making sure all the old cure has been sufficiently removed, dry it off and then place the belly back in. The leave the belly to dry out in the fridge for a further 5 days. Checking it from time to time and rotating it once a day.
After 5 days of drying your bacon will be ready to eat. It should keep for a further 3 months, getting drier and darker with age.