Thanks, I'm trying this fo' sho'.
There is just something about bacon, that nearly everyone except possibly vegans finds it's almost irresistible. But most bacon lovers have really never had real traditionally prepared bacon and finding it in the store is pretty difficult. Beyond the time it takes to cure (5-7 days) and the few ingredients that take a bit of time to locate preparing bacon at home isn't difficult at all. It's something every bacon fan should try themselves at least once.
Plus, for around $30 you'll have 15lbs+ of the most delicious bacon you've ever had waiting in your freezer.
All you'll need is:
- One three-to-five pound slab of pork belly, skin on.
- 1/4 cup coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoons pink curing salt
- 1/8 cup white sugar
Full instructions are here.
Yes, there's sugar in it, I think it's pretty essential to the taste since the sugar takes some of the bite off the salt. In 5lbs of bacon we're not using that much sugar anyway since most of it will go down the drain in the end.
And before you get too worried about the sugar or salt content, it's important to consider that most of that isn't going to be absorbed into the meat, plus if you want to lower the salt/sugar content a bit before cooking you can lightly blanch the bacon for a minute in simmering water to draw out some of the salt and sugar before frying.
Thanks, I'm trying this fo' sho'.
If I just said LOL, I lied. Do or do not. There is no try.
You realize that curing salt is nitrates? If you'd like to cure your own pork fat, i suggest doing an East Europenian version, with spices (paprica, peppers), salt and garlic only. You will need to keep it in a freezer after curing, but it will be nitrate free.
Prague powder #1 or pink salt contains 93.75% table salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite. Prague powder #2 contains sodium nitrate in addition to sodium nitrite. Both kinds are used in the preserving and curing of meats, and in sausage making. As an additive, the sodium nitrite or nitrate serves to inhibit the growth of bacteria, specifically Clostridium botulinum in an effort to prevent botulism, and helps preserve the color of cured meat. Curing salt may be dyed pink, helping it blend better with meat, and moreover preventing it from being confused for and consumed as common table salt.
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How does your bacon cook up? When we make our own it's very tasty, but the fat really doesn't render off when cooking. Makes for a chewier experience and sometimes I like crispy bacon.
One of my best memories was coming home (this during the year we lived on a farm) to find mum and dad smoking a bit of pig <drool> Now my butcher makes us nitrate free bacon.
It's not just that you have to keep it in the freezer after cooking, if you try smoking meats like this without using nitrates your risking introducing dangerous bacteria to the meat. The science behind if small amounts of nitrates are harmful is fuzzy at best. The science if botulism can kill me isn't nearly as fuzzy, if I'm smoking something and the preparation process raises the risk of it's formation I feel safer with the nitrates. Plus it's not like other foods in my diet like spinach and celery don't contain nitrates naturally.
You could argue however that since you are likely to fry it up after smoking that any toxins should be killed, so it's probably not that risky to do without the nitrates. For me I don't have any immediately ill-effects personally from eating the nitrates, nor am I that worried about the long term effects. Personally I feel safer knowing they are there doing their part to protect me from dangerous microbes.
Last edited by Kevin_in_WMich; 06-13-2012 at 12:45 PM.
Doesn't surprise me someone would have problems with it though, different folks have problems with all manners of food (eg. dairy, eggs, etc) but that doesn't mean necessary they are bad for the population at large.