Instructables

Bacon

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Picture of Bacon
Bacon is the foodstuff of the gods. The Spirit of All Things decided that humans needed something to keep them going every day and decided that the pig was the best thing for it. And, oh, we have rejoiced and created several odes to the delicious meat. It's absolutely amazing and we should all say a little "thank you" every day because it exists.

Or so everyone kept telling me. Others would find salvation in what I found to be a salty, crunchy piece of noise in my food. So bacon and I went our separate ways. It wasn't the bacon, it was me. Bacon took it well and hung out with its billions of fans while I left on other gastronomic adventures which took me through vegetarian fields, a shady vegan nook, and even a brief holiday in the land of the raw.

Then it all changed. A man showed me how to make dry cured bacon from pork belly and the heavens opened up. A tiny bite and time and space would stumble about and forget who was who. I once again tried regular bacon from the store and the signal went back to black and white so it looks like this is the only way for me.

Here is that recipe.
 
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Step 1: Ingredients

Basic Dry Cure
1 lb. (450g) kosher salt
8 oz. (225g) sugar
2 oz. (50g) pink curing salt

Basic Bacon
3-5 lbs. (1.5-2.25 kg) slab pork belly, skin on
1/4 cup (50g) Basic Dry Cure

As you can see, you'll be making a lot more Basic Dry Cure than you'll need for one piece of bacon, but you'll be doing this more than once anyway.

From the amazing book, Charcuterie.

Step 2: Salt the pork belly

Picture of Salt the pork belly
Spread the dry cure out over a baking sheet or the bottom of a container.

Trim the edges of the pork belly neat and square and then press it into the dry cure to give it a thick uniform coating.
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nikosent1 year ago
ERRMAHHGEDDD!!! This is awesome, going to try it out!
wonderfully written instructable. You paint the scene well in the intro
80$man2 years ago
bacon strips &
bacon strips &
bacon strips &
bacon strips &
bacon strips &
bacon strips
=SMART=4 years ago
While that bacon does look tasty, i much prefer English bacon which has more meat and less fat :) (bacon on the top left of photo)
20070226fullenglish.jpg
Looks tasty *slips in a puddle of drool* but how do we GET english bacon here in fatland-um... America?
Go to a British foods shop. We have one in San Carlos, for example. Check Google or your local yellow pages.
Do you know what part of the pig exactly to ask for? We have a FANTASTIC meat shop/butcher in town that can do the job perfectly if I just know what to ask for. Also, will the process above cover the back bacon too?
That looks more like toast in the upper left...
That's metric for upper right.
lemonie =SMART=4 years ago
It depends upon the bacon - you can get good stuff with a lot of fat. I wouldn't have fat content as being an English thing (historically anyway). I think the lean-aspect is a supermarket thing - e.g. when was the last time you saw bacon with rind on it? L
English rashers are just back bacon I believe, I don't see any difference other than the fact that it can be a cut from any part of the body and still be a rasher I believe bacon with the rind on it is called ham. But in all seriousness, I think that peameal bacon has rind, and we're talking about the same thing.
Bacon with the rind (the belly skin) on it is called "bacon". Bacon and ham are both cured and optionally smoked, but they're completely different cuts: bacon is the belly (the flesh outside the ribs -- sometimes sold in Asian markets with the ribs included), while a ham is made from a hind leg portion (shank or butt). Peameal bacon, called Canadian bacon in the US, is made from yet another cut, the loin.
Exactly right! There is also something called Canadian Bacon that is more lean. A great way to cook a lot of peameal bacon for a special breakfast or brunch is to cook it like a roast in the oven on a rack. I glaze mine when I do it this way.
There's also "middle" and other cuts, I think bacon has been slanted towards a popular "back" product by large retailers. L
KimJSCP lemonie4 years ago
FYI - The USDA defines bacon as "the cured belly of a swine carcass"; other cuts and characteristics must be separately qualified (e.g., "smoked pork loin bacon").
lemonie KimJSCP4 years ago
My dictionary defines bacon as:
n cured meat from the back or sides of a pig. Belly would be "streaky", and what is pictured above (=SMART=) is "back". If that is what USDA says what do they call what I know as "back" (=SMART=)?

L
ElChick lemonie4 years ago
Honestly, I personally don't care what it is called. I WANT TO EAT IT!!!! :)
In England bacon comes in many types including Back Bacon (as shown above) and Streaky Bacon (like American bacon) which is a cheaper cut and used for cooking more than Back Bacon which is used for sandwiches.
=SMART= =SMART=4 years ago
Also why are you wearing white gloves in the photos ?
fungus amungus (author)  =SMART=4 years ago
Those aren't my hands. I was taking pictures. The chefs were wearing gloves because they were making food for a crowd of people
Fungus, your pictures are fantastic. They look very professional. And the bacon looks delicious too!
rosec3 years ago
Do you know of an alternative to curing salt? My son cannot have nitrites or nitrates. Looks yummy and I just got a new meat slicer.
branonls rosec3 years ago
You can cure with just salt. It does most of the work anyways. Without nitrites/nitrates the meat may take on a gray color or not last as long. You will want to use it within a few days of smoking it.
PRC4 years ago
Outstanding. and I've used a Cameron for years. Question: What could be used instead of pink salt?
dauser PRC4 years ago
The "pink salt" is either potassium nitrate, potassium nitrite or possibly sodium nitrate/nitrite - or a spice blend with one of those. You can buy this as saltpeter at some drug stores.. but please double check the measurement.. it's not particularly good for you (one of the two salts is actually banned for this purpose in Canada, though it is still used in the US). I've made literally tonnes of bacon at a small family business.. not dry-cured like this, but with far less water than you find at the store. Watch out however.. if you get a thick piece of pork it may not cure all the way through this way.
drzcyy dauser3 years ago
pink salt is actually rock salt, which is salt not from the sea but from land or even mountains. it is actually from evaporated sea millions of years ago, so it is very pure with no contaminants or toxins. the colour comes from other minerals other than sodium. it is claimed to have more "flavor", but i cant taste the difference. pink salt is less salty compared to sea salt, and it doesnt clump and runs freely without any additives.
Grigoris drzcyy3 years ago
Well... not really. What I believe you're describing is not what this recipe means by "pink salt" but, rather, something along the lines of Himalayan pink salt. When making bacon, pink salt refers to a special kind of salt containing sodium nitrite, which acts as a preservative while also altering the texture of the meat.
drzcyy Grigoris3 years ago
i have done some research on curing salt. it's called "prague powder", and guess what, it's pink! it is 93.75% common salt, and 6.25% sodium nitrite. however........ the color is not from sodium nitrate, nor it is from nitrite, as all sodium salts are white or colorless. the "salt" is actually dyed pink as convention, as to make the meats look nicer (cured meat is actually brown), and to differentiate it from common table salt. and by the way, i learnt that both sodium nitrate and nitrite are carcinogenic!
Grigoris drzcyy3 years ago
That's correct about "prague powder." The nitrite content is quite low, and in a typical bacon dry rub, very little of it is used. It's also used in making corned beef; that's why it is still pink despite days of curing and hours of braising.

That first post of yours sounds more like you're describing the culinary pink salt (like the Himalayan variety), which does NOT have the same effect on meats as nitrite. It is a rock salt, as you said, whereas curing salt is not.

And yeah, I can't taste the difference either, at least not when actually used on food.
PRC dauser4 years ago
Morning and thanks for your reply. Question: Hormel produces an uncured bacon with no nitrates added. However, the company indicates that it uses seasonings with "naturally occurring nitrates." I went to the site but couldn't find a listing of what these seasonings might be. Are you award of any? And have you used these? Thanks again, Enjoy your day. PRC
Grigoris PRC3 years ago
I think celery is a source of naturally occurring nitrites. The notion of "uncured bacon," however, is simply a health-based marketing scam; bacon is by definition "cured", but it may or may not be cured with added nitrites. Manufacturers such as Hormel are simply preying upon consumer naivete when making such claims.
mishap91 dauser3 years ago
Salt Peter! Hope all the younger guys know what that is.
I hate store bought ones, they plump it with water. I prefer home-made ones where I know it tastes good and it's not poisonous.
PRC knex_mepalm4 years ago
Evening K_M, Thanks for your note. Home-Made: are you making your own? If so, would you be willing to share any tips? I've been buying from a small farm that raises the Berkshire breed. Expensive but so worth it. You can even tell the difference in the texture of the meat and no nitrites. Still I would like to learn how to do the homemade. Enjoy what's left of your Sunday, PRC
knex_mepalm PRC4 years ago
Well, I don't have any usual tips,but it is good to leave it out dry, rather than letting a bit of water on it, as it crunches it out to as much as it can. You can always follow this instructable to make it homemade though, i don't know what else you mean. I have tried about 12 different types of breeds before but never this "Berkshire" is it exotic? All I have tried normally tasts the same with different testures, but coil spots have appeared on some of the bacon I made. Maybe you have more luck...
PRC knex_mepalm4 years ago
Hi k_m Me Again. To answer your question: There is a detailed article by Timothy Cebula, The Boston Globe about Berkshires. That might be of interest. I found it when I Googled Birkshire and went to the farms section. Enjoy your evening, PRC
knex_mepalm PRC4 years ago
Thank You, enjoy your...whatever time it is...
I have used Morton's Tenderquick to make summer sausage out of grass fed beef hamburger. Not sure why I waste good grass fed with the unhealthy nitrates but it tastes good.
PRC Grayfox884 years ago
Thanks 88, When it comes to wanting something that explodes our taste buds into the pleasure zone, we do fall off the wagon every now and then. don't we? I understand. I have a passion for smoked pork ribs --soooo good. Thanks for the tip. I'll research Tenderquick. Enjoy your day.
eblisster3 years ago
EVIL!! Get thee behind me BACON!

Cr*p, NOW I'll be craving bacon for days!!

ANYTHING that tastes that good, can't be good for you! Just sayin'
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