Green Cured Bacon

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I’m not a fan of most manufactured chemical cured bacon, most of the supermarket we can get here is tasteless and pumped with that much water it sticks to the pan when you cook it!

Bacon isn’t hard to make yourself and it gives you a real sense of achievement to make your own.

Before the widespread commercial use of nitrate cures, bacon was simply cured with salt, or salt and sugar, the result was grey when cooked, more like cooked pork, I don’t mind that at all. It also won’t last as long in the fridge as nitrate cured.

A number of vegetables contain nitrate, one of the richest is celery. So lately I’ve been adding celery juice to my bacon salt/sugar cure to increase shelf life a little and bring some of that characteristic pink colour into the game, why not!

Supplies:

Pork Belly

2 cups salt

1 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon of Juniper Berries

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Lemon rind

1 teaspoon mustard seed

Handful of fresh parsley

1 cup celery Juice

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Step 1: Curing the Belly

2 cups salt

1 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon of Juniper Berries

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Lemon rind

1 teaspoon mustard seed

Handful of fresh parsley

1 cup celery Juice

Blend all the ingredients in a blender to form a wet textured cure

Cover the pork belly in the cure mix and refrigerate for5-7 days, turn the pork once a day.

Quite a bit of liquid is extracted from the pork during the curing, this is exactly what you want to happen, this makes the bacon firm and it fries better, too much moisture steams the bacon as it fries, anything that helps make bacon crisp is a good thing!

Step 2: Purge

Rinse the pork belly thoroughly to remove the cure.

Cut and fry a small piece, this is to test for saltiness, if it is too salty, soak in clean water for a few hours to leech some of the salt out. Test it again!

If need be you can soak the cured belly in clean water for a day or two.

After this I will run a little Gin or Scotch onto the surface to dry off the water, use whatever alcohol you prefer.

Step 3: Smoke

Allow the pork to air dry in the fridge overnight, this forms a pellicle which helps the smoke stick.

Smoke and cook the pork belly gently till the bacon is 60°C, I’m using my Gas smoker box, but a small pile of charcoal in a kettle with a couple of chunks of hickory or some other flavour wood would do the job as well.

Step 4: Rest

Once the bacon has cooked, let it rest in the fridge for a day before enjoying

Step 5: Slice

Slice the bacon into strips however thick you like

Step 6: Breakfast

Now it's the taste test!

Look at how lovely and crispy that bacon fries up!

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    18 Discussions

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    ronanry

    Tip 23 days ago

    a way to keep it in thje fridge longer : use a vacuum sealer

    15 replies
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    InstructableSDronanry

    Reply 21 days ago

    I'd be very wary about using a vacuum sealer, as that could create the conditions for botulism.

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    myk3ythInstructableSD

    Reply 21 days ago

    I’ve been using a vacuum sealer on home-cure for more than a decade. Never had a problem. But I do use a nitrite cure.

    As with any curing, cleanliness is paramount.

    For ham, I vac-pack it straight out of the smoker and sous-vide it, then leave it a minimum of a week for the smoke to ‘normalise’ and not leave it tasting like an ashtray.

    “To prevent botulism (a relatively rare foodborne illness most often caused by improper home canning), sodium nitrite in the form of curing salt is often also used in cured and processed meats. But because bacon is fried before eating, botulism isn't an issue, so the use of curing salt is considered optional.”

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    UrbanGrillermyk3yth

    Reply 20 days ago

    Clostridium botulinum needs to be heated to over 120C before it dies, the issue is not the Clostridium botulinum but rather the nerve toxin it produces which is heat stable, killing the bacteria is not enough. Good technique for ham, do you slice it before Sous Vide? or cook it whole?

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    dug1000UrbanGriller

    Reply 17 days ago

    Recently I read of the risk of Clostridium botulinum in vacuum packed meats not cured with nitrates. The author noted that cooking to an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit would take care of the risk and improve shelf life.

    However, I'm thought that fat could begin to render at that point and you would loose some awesomeness. That's when I considered sous vide! Fat is less likely to render in a sous vide at that temperature and the result would safely last months in the freezer. I'm currently working on a molasses and black pepper bacon and will try it out.

    I will probably try celery juice or celery salt next time to see if I can keep some of the pink color, like you mentioned

    0
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    UrbanGrillerInstructableSD

    Reply 16 days ago

    Dead right, I would only Vac Seal if I was wanting to freeze some.

    My advice is to only make small batches and use it, don't store it

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    InstructableSDdug1000

    Reply 17 days ago

    Unfortunately, using celery to produce the pink colour, also produces the same nitrates :-/

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    UrbanGrillerInstructableSD

    Reply 16 days ago

    The nitrates in a cure are chemically produced, this method uses the nitrate naturally available in the celery, they use celery seed in BBQ Rub for the same reason

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    InstructableSDmyk3yth

    Reply 21 days ago

    I raised the issue of botulism particularly because this recipe doesn't use sodium nitrite and the vacuum sealing would create similar conditions to "improper home canning". The other ingredients may stop botulism developing but it's a hell of a risk to take.
    While cleanliness is important in food production, botulism spores are in the air around us and can come in contact with food, no matter how clean you keep things.

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    HenmarshInstructableSD

    Reply 20 days ago

    I've been making dry-cured smoked bacon from my own pigs for over thirty years. I don't use nitrates and have *never* had a problem with spoilage and have *never* heard of a case of botulism among my fellow curlers here in the UK. The risk from stomach cancer from over-consumption of nitrates is far greater than the chance of botulism - if the pork is properly refrigerated and thoroughly cured.

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    UrbanGrillerHenmarsh

    Reply 20 days ago

    I've never heard of an issue here either. I hate to say "Common Sense" because there doesn't seem to be a lot of it around these days but proper curing and proper handling and there is never a problem. The biggest problem I have is making sure there is enough left for my breakfast on the weekend!

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    UrbanGrillerInstructableSD

    Reply 20 days ago

    Correct. Clostridium botulinum is a concern with any food production. I only do batches that can be consumed in a week, at Christmas when I know I need more, I pre slice extra batches and freeze in vac sealed packets

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    UrbanGrillerInstructableSD

    Reply 20 days ago

    Correct Clostridium botulinum needs a low oxygen environment to multiply, I only ever Vac seal slices to freeze them. The product survives freezing well as it has not been pumped with water

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    UrbanGrillerronanry

    Reply 20 days ago

    I would only Vac Seal if I was going to freeze it in slices. Storage beyond a week should be in a frozen state

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    billbillt

    20 days ago

    Great Idea!... Thanks for sharing...

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    yrralguthrie

    20 days ago

    Aren't green and cured antonyms?

    Bacon here is pretty good and never sticks to the skillet.