DRY CURING Basic recipe at the bottom of the page
This page gives an overall process for dry curing. I am posting this page so that I do not need to repeat the process for each recipe I post. The process will pretty much stay the same. However, if there is a great change to the process for any given recipe, it will be listed in that recipe.
I will also note here that most recipes will call for Cure #1 (pink salt). What is that? Well it is 6.25% sodium nitrite. it is pink, thus the name ‘Pink Salt’ and is sometimes called instaCure. It is added to the cures to assist in the prevention of bad things like botulism especially when cold smoking. I am not going to go into great detail here since I am just learning myself. But I will say this. RESEARCH!!! If you are planning on home curing, please do it safely. There are many websites on this subject and as I learn more and become more confident, I will post more on the subject.
Please don’t be scared, it really is easy to home cure your own bacon. Again, just do it safely.
Where can I get pink salt Cure #1?
I purchased mine from a really cool place in Indianapolis called The Smoking Goose. Check them out. www.smokinggoose.com. I am not sure they sell it online. I have also seen it sold on Amazon and on other websites such as www.sausagemaker.com. (please note I am not endorsing, just saying I saw them there)
THE BASICS OF CURING
All recipes and this process assumes 5 pounds of pork belly. Rind on.
1. Rinse the pork belly (or other meat) and trim to square it off. You can cut the belly into two 2 ½ pound slabs for easier handling. or for doing two recipes at once!
2. Mix up your dry cure according to the recipe or create your own!. This can be a dry cure from any recipe that you like.
3. Rub the curing mixture into the pork belly. Rub it in liberally, being sure to rub the mixture into all crevices in the meat as well as all sides of the meat.
4. Place the pork belly into a gallon sized zip-loc bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can.
5. Place the pork belly into the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days. Each day flip the meat over. There will be liquid that accumulates in the bag. That is good. That’s the liquid coming from the meat as it cures.
6. At the end of the 7 to 10 days, remove the pork belly from the zip-loc and rinse well removing all of the access salt and cure from the meat. Soak the pork belly in water for ½ hour for a less salty bacon.
7. Dry the pork belly and place back in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours uncovered to air dry. (NOTE: I have read that this is necessary when smoking the bacon. I have gotten away with 1/2 hour)
8. Smoke in the smoker with your favorite wood until internal temp reached 160 degrees. I prefer fruit woods such as apple. (NOTE: You can also cook in the oven at 225 degrees until the internal temp reaches 160. For me, I like American bacon, good and smokey so I always smoke it on my smoker).
9. Let cool.
10. If you like a rindless bacon, slice off the rind (pig skin). If you like the rind on, leave it on and move on to slicing.
11. Slice it up. I use an electric meat slicer for more precise and even slices. But you can certainly slice it up by hand.
12. Fry it up in a skillet or cook on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees in the oven until crispy. I prefer cooking mine in the oven on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Even cooking, crispy bacon and easy cleanup.
13. Vacuum seal any left-overs and freeze. Will keep in the freezer for up to one month safely.
RECIPE FOR 5 POUNDS OF BACON
5 Pounds of Pork Belly
5 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Molasses
1 teaspoon Cure #1 Pink Salt
Mix all ingredients together until very well blended. Then, follow the above steps to cure and smoke your bacon.