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Thread: Ok, so uncured bacon.. page

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    Amber's Avatar
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    Ok, so uncured bacon..

    I am sure this has been talked about, but a quick search wasn't pulling up any answers.

    After a quick google search about uncured bacon, I read alot about danger of botulism, and other foodbourne bacteria and other dangers.

    Can someone point me in the right direction?

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    Is there a reason why you'd rather have uncured bacon than cured bacon? The process of curing meat was devised a few thousand years ago to counteract the growth of bacteria, allowing people to store meat for long periods of time. Over time, the individual curing processes resulted in all the varieties of delicious cured meat we know today, not just bacon, but all kinds of sausages and cured hams, too. The salts and nitrates and nitrites, besides preventing the growth of bacteria, (essential to proper curing), are aslo important in imparting the individual flavoring characteristics and colors of cured meats.

    If you're concerned about nitrites, you should be aware that they're present not only in cured meats, but also in green leafy and root vegetables. Many products that claim to nitrite-free use concentrated celery juice (high in nitrites) instead, gaining the same benefits but slipping under the FDA regulation of needing to list the celery juice as the natural form of nitrite that it really is.

    Uncured bacon will not keep as long as cured bacon, and will not have the same flavor, and will more expensive than traditional bacon. Here's a good article that you may find enlightening: http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/01/c...-hot-dogs.html

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    well, i never said id rather have one over the other. i am trying to figure out which is a better option for my family...

    we had uncured bacon this morning, and i preferred its flavor to regular bacon. so when i started googling a little, i got all kinds of thrown off. a friend is the one who suggested uncured. so now i am just wondering whats fact from fiction

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    I was the friend and the only reason is I thought cured meats were not a good primal option. I love nitrites in my meat (for taste) but thought they were a no no. I also would like to know what is best for my diet (also trying to lose weight).

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    So there's a big difference between naturally cured meats and the ones where that lovely bright pink powder (nitric acid) is added to them to get them all nice and pink. I get my bacon from the farmer's market, so pasture raised is plus, but they brine the bacon (a great natural curing of sorts great for poultry, pork, and shrimp) then smoke it (not cooked like an andouille, low heat smoked) so it tastes absolutely delicious and I know no manufactured items were put in it- no, it doesn't last as long but neither does the bacon in my fridge

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    Quote Originally Posted by trigirl85 View Post
    So there's a big difference between naturally cured meats and the ones where that lovely bright pink powder (nitric acid) is added to them to get them all nice and pink. I get my bacon from the farmer's market, so pasture raised is plus, but they brine the bacon (a great natural curing of sorts great for poultry, pork, and shrimp) then smoke it (not cooked like an andouille, low heat smoked) so it tastes absolutely delicious and I know no manufactured items were put in it- no, it doesn't last as long but neither does the bacon in my fridge
    I'm interested to know what you mean by naturally cured meats. Also, what do they brine the bacon in? I'm just starting to do some curing and smoking at home, so I'm always eager to learn how others do it. Anything the farmer's market purveyor has told you would be of interest to me.

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    So the whole debate between nitrate free and conventional bacon really lies in what is used to cure the bacon. When nitrates, in the form of sodium nitrate which is sold to charcuteries in tubs of bright pink powder lest someone confuse it with regular salt, are added to meat before smoking it gives it the now recognized pink color of pork (although this is quite disturbing if you think about it) as well as a good touch of saltiness and of course a healthy dose of sodium nitrate for you. It is found mainly in processed foods, those scary bright pink hams, and of course conventional bacon.
    Now, brining and smoking are both what I call "natural" cures as they are what people have been using for thousands of years and in fact grok most likely made use of smoking when he and his tribe caught a large game animal and needed a way to save some of the meat from spoiling to eat later (think jerky). In modern days, many Inuit tribes in the NW still spend nights out on rivers when the salmon are running and smoke their catches overnight to create lasting food stores (I've seen such a thing in person and it is quite delectable).
    Here is a great primer on brining:

    http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/brining.html

    Brining is basically a mixture of salt/sugar generally in a 1:1 ratio and then additional spices such as juniper berries, peppercorn, cardamon, bay leaf, anything whole goes really though watch out for the peppercorn- it can overwhelm! Each meat has a different suggested brine time so its best to look it up- this article lists them.
    The bacon I get is first brined and then cold smoked over 6-8 hours. Brining is also great for tough game birds, your thanksgiving turkey (seriously, try it), shrimp (especially for the barbie), and pork- especially ribs. It allows the flavor of the bring to soak into the meat and the meat to retain moisture during the cooking process allowing for more complex flavors and juicy, tender meat. I personally swear by brining and use chai tea bags along with the other recommended spices.

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    ok, so can you get naturally smoked/cured bacon/ham at walmart? I've seen bacon with packaging that says its such...but I dunno.

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    most likely what you are getting at walmart is the kind where they sub celery juice, which naturally has nitrates, instead of sodium nitrate which is better. You should be able to just get raw ham there that shouldn't be cured and you can brine it at home (more cost effective). They may have "natural" bacon in the deli case, most likely organic, and it should not be bright pink.

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    Uncured bacon (aka pork belly) is like any raw meat. Treat it the same way. What's to fret about?

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