the joys of curing and smoking your own bacon…

The snow may be on the ground (and slowly accumulating depending on our day in Calgary), but I think it would be a shame to put away the bbq…

A few weeks ago, it was decided that “we” were going on a trip in search of pork belly, to cure and then smoke – in short,  make our own bacon.  (Now please note, when I refer to “we” –I am simply the encourager and witness of this Saturday afternoon “plan” and later in the month taste tester/bacon eater.)

 With almost 7 pounds of pork belly successfully acquired, and the dry cure combined –the pork was to spend the next 7 days refrigerated, bathing in a combination of the salt and sugar. 

The following recipe and excerpts  are  from the cookbook “Charcuterie” written by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn:


The Basic Dry Cure with Granulated Sugar

1 pound/ 450 grams kosher salt

8 ounces/ 225 grams sugar

2 ounces/ 50 grams pink salt (10 teaspoons)

The authors of the cookbook prefer Dextrose to table sugar for their dry cure for the following reasons:   “Dextrose is a corn sugar, rather than table sugar because it is less sweet and the grains are very fine, it dissolves more easily and therefore has a more uniform distribution.” Pg. 39

The Basic Dry Cure with Dextrose

1 pound/ 450 grams kosher salt

13 ounces/ 425 grams dextrose

3 ounces/ 75 grams pink salt (5 tablespoons)

“An important note about Salt measurements: It’s best to weigh salt rather than to measure by volume because salts differ in weight by volume.  For example, Morton’s Kosher Salt; a cup weighs almost 8 ounces.  Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt; a cup of salt weighs 4.8 ounces.  That is a big difference.” Pg. 38

“Traditionally, once it is cured, baon is hot smoked to a temperature of 150 degrees F/ 65 degrees C. then cooled and sliced…the result will be delicious fresh bacon that can be sliced and fried, cut into lardons, cut into chucks for stews, or roasted or grilled whole.  Store in the refrigerator, it will keep for up to two weeks.  Or it can be well wrapped and frozen for up to two months or longer.” Pg. 41


1 Comment

  1. by Nicole on November 23, 2012  11:23 am Reply

    You didn't tell me your week away involved pork bellies! Love the photos - it makes me want to try smoking pork, but I know I never will, so I will live vicariously through your blog. I think I can smell it in my office!

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