Home-Cured Bacon, Quick, Easy, and NO NITRATES!!

Fresh home cured bacon.
Wednesday,  2/8/12,  6:15 PM.
This one is a very unusual subject for me to address especially because I DO NOT APPRECIATE PREACHY PEOPLE, thus I do not want to be one.  I risk that I fear in this post because I am interested in this subject because I do not want to have nitrates, artificial colors, and flavors, etc. in my life to the extent I can reasonably avoid them.  Thus, I become "preachy" I fear!!  I am sorry in advance.

Well now then, I am past all that and here is what happened.  I had phoned my butcher and asked if he could get bacon without nitrates and he said no.  We still eat bacon.  Then somebody shipped something from somewhere to my husband wrapped in newspaper.  My hubby noticed an article written in the wrappings telling how to home-cure bacon.  He brought it home to me.

I called my butcher back and asked if he could get me 2 two pound slabs of fresh pork belly and remove the rind.  "Of course," he said and a deal was struck!!  He ordered  the fresh pork bellies and I picked them up today.  I have prepared 2 glass baking dishes because they are just about an inch or so wider than the meat and that is just perfect.  I am making 2 batches of "cure".  One is the original recipe and the other I have adapted a bit.  Here is the first:

2 C. coarse Kosher salt
2 C. packed brown sugar
1 T. freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds pork belly, rind removed

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl until it is uniformly combined.  Place one half of the cure mixture in the bottom of the glass dish.  Place the pork flat into the dish and press it in a bit.  Spoon the rest of the mixture across the top of the meat and press it uniformly all around covering the slab of pork covering it completely.  Place the dish uncovered in the refrigerator for 7 days.

Two Pound Slab of Fresh Pork Belly Packed in Curing Mixture.
The second batch of cure is as follows:

2 C. coarse Kosher salt
1 1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated maple syrup
1 T. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t. hickory smoke flavor (without any nitrates or artificial ingredients)

Mix altogether and proceed exactly the same as the first batch was done.

So now I have 2 trays of bacon uncovered and curing in the spare refrigerator we keep in our garage.  Boy does the aroma hit you when you open the door!!

The article instructs to rinse all of the cure and slice at the end of the seven days.  Randy Pearson, my butcher offered to slice it when I have it to that stage so I will go a week from today and revisit him.  I am going to share some of this with him as I expect there are folks who might be interested in this if it is good.  The article says, "it is amazing and we will just love it!!"

For now, I am leaving this post in draft and will conclude a week from today with fresh cooked bacon and taste test results.

Wednesday, 2/15/12, 7:30 PM.

These are the slabs once the curing salts were washed away.
Tonight I toted the two containers of bacon and cure upstairs from the extra refrigerator and washed both pieces of pork belly in cold running water to remove all of the salt mixture.  Then I dried them with clean paper toweling and placed them in zip lock bags.  I labeled the first batch "A" and the second "B" so we can compare the two blends of cure I mixed up.

Randy Pearson owner Rivertown Butcher Shop, Newburgh, Indiana.
Calling our butcher, Randy Pearson of Rivertown Butcher Shop tomorrow to have him slice for me.

Freshly sliced bacon we just made at home!!
So here it is!! Delicious!! Sweet and salty, just wonderful!!  Brian is thrilled and the home made bread made these "Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato" sandwiches a real treat for supper this evening.  I will be ordering and curing our bacon from now on for sure!!

By the way, there was only a slight difference in the two curing solutions.  The bacon was slightly sweeter in the second batch but I cannot say we liked it any better.  The liquid smoke made no difference I could taste. Both were deeply flavored with a salty sweetness that was excellent.


E said...

Wow sounds great ... just curious about cost of a slab of fresh pork belly? (I'm down the road in Corydon area)

Unknown said...

I paid $12. and some change for 4 pounds. If you want some just call Rivertown Butcher shop in Newburgh and talk to Randy the owner. He gets it in fresh on Tuesday's but you need to let him know ahead of time so he can order it in for you. He can also remove the rind for you if you ask him to. He is a good guy in our experience anyway. He would also hold it for you til the weekend just let him know.

TinaRBK said...

This is really inspiring, especially since my husband eats bacon practically every day. I am saving these recipes. The bacon looks amazing!
Also, I need to find me a nice butcher like you have. Enjoy the day Diane and thanks for posting this.

Unknown said...

Best of luck Tina and thanks again for your encouragement.

Sarah/Homestyle Cooking Around The World said...

New follower- love this post. Always looking to get more healthy meat that is not cured w/nitrates. Will have to check into this at our local butcher. Sarah @ Homestyle Cooking Around The World

Ranee @ Arabian Knits said...

Part of the reason for the nitrites is to preserve color. I've seen bacon cured with celery powder to achieve that naturally. How was the color of your bacon over time?

Unknown said...

It was just great, in fact both my butcher and I marveled at the way this turned out. My downside is thinking ahead far enough to order the pork belly and cure it. It is so much easier to just go buy, but I HATE the nitrate issue.

Unknown said...

Hi! I have been looking into curing my own bacon and came across your post. I notice you don’t mention smoking the bacon after curing, as I have seen in other recipes. Do you smoke your bacon prior to slicing it, or do you just fry it up for eating? Thank you! Jodi

Unknown said...

Both my butcher and I tried this and neither of us smoked it and it was really quite good. As you see in the post I did add a little liquid smoke to one batch, but, honestly we liked the other batch better. Good luck!

Unknown said...

Nice recipe but what do your measurements 'C' and 'T' and 't' mean? Am I right in guessing these are American cups, tablespoons and teaspoons? I hope to use your recipe in a couple of days.

Unknown said...

Nice recipe but what do your measurements 'C' and 'T' and 't' mean? Am I right in guessing these are American cups, tablespoons and teaspoons? I hope to use your recipe in a couple of days.

Unknown said...

So sorry, Yes, C. is an American cup
T. is a tablespoon
t. is a teaspoon

We were taught this in school as kids, that these are the assumed symbols. I forget this is seen by a wider venue. There is under the "Pages" section of this blog a complete table of these types of things as well as substitutions. I hope you have success with the bacon. We liked it! Thanks. Diane

Unknown said...

BTW, this is definitely not preaching. This is some very good information that we all could use and we can choose to read (use) it or not. Thanks so much for this. Carolyn

Unknown said...

Trying this! Only change will be 3 hours of cold smoke at the end!