Homemade bacon is one of God’s gift to humanity. So to celebrate, I’ll pulled together three different homemade bacon recipes for you to try!
Curing meat is the process of preserving foods by the addition of salt, nitrates, nitrites or sugar. Making bacon is the art of curing the pork belly slab of a pig.
In the olden times, only salt and sugar was used. Or the entire pig would be smoked and hung in the smoke house or attic of the house where the family could cut away pieces of it all throughout the Winter.
The house I grew up in was from the 1700’s and had a layer of pig fat on the attic floor. Even after it was cleaned up, during the Summers the attic floor would “sweat” and smell like bacon!
Today, more often than not, store-bought bacon is processed in an industrial factory-setting and pumped with a curing solution that contains sodium nitrite. Sodium nitrite is known to cause migraines in large quantities and when exposed to high heat and protein, produces nitrosamines.
90% of nitrosamine compounds have been deemed carcinogenic.
Fortunately, curing bacon at home couldn’t be easier and the results are a lot tastier than store-bought!
We got this slab of pork belly with our pig share, and I decided to try out three different types of cures!
Cutting the pork belly into three even parts.
The first wet cure I made was a coffee molasses cure:
The second cure I made was vanilla bourbon. I had vanilla maple syrup in my pantry, but if you don’t have vanilla syrup, you can always use 1/2 cup of maple syrup and 2-4 Tbsp vanilla extract.
Dry Italian Rub
For my last cure, I decided to go savory over sweet. The dry cures tend to make meat tougher than the wet cures, but I believe bacon is fatty enough that it fries up beautifully without getting leathery.
For all cures, mix them together and massage it into your meat (insert tongue and cheek comment here). I flipped these over multiple times to ensure the cure penetrated well.
Leave in the fridge, turning it over once a day, for 7-21 days. The longer you let you cure, the more flavor it imparts.
I know it’s hard to be patient with delicious bacon staring at your from the warm glow of the fridge every day, but once your tastebuds have reached their limit of patience, wash the cure off the bacon, slice and fry it up!
If you’d like to take your bacon a step further (and who wouldn’t?!) you can smoke it at 175 degrees for 2-3 hours…okay, now I’m drooling…
You’ve just made specialty, gourmet bacon, at half the cost and much healthier! Because bacon and healthy in the same sentence is a win in my book!
Update: While cooking the coffee molasses bacon, the fat that renders off looks like motor oil, which can be very confusing when you fry up eggs in the grease!