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Seasoning uncured bacon (pork side)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone!

Today I bought some pastured pork from a local farm. I wanted nitrate free bacon so they offered me the uncured pork side (cut and looks just like bacon). She said it tastes similar to pork chops. Now that I'm thinking about it, I don't want it to taste like pork chops...I want bacon! eat.gif

Any suggestions on how to season/flavor the uncured pork?

Thank you!!!

post #2 of 8

If you want bacon, you are going to have to cure it.   If you want bacon flavor, you are going to have to cure it (the bacony cured taste come from the nitrites).  Even the "nitrate/nitrite free" stuff at the store is not really nitrate free.  They use ingredient with naturally occurring nitrates and nitrites.  (celery salt)

 

by the way, spinach also has nitrates.  the idea that it is bad for you is way over-blown.  

 

So, if you want bacon, get the book "Charcuterie" by Michael Ruhlman.  If you still want no nitrates or nitrites, pork belly (i assume that's what you have) makes an excellent roast.  and don't eat any salad, or sea salt.  

post #3 of 8

 

Here is a summary of how we cure and smoke our pastured pork bellies.  The detailed information is found in Basic Butchering Butchering of Livestock and Game by John J. Mettler.

 

Create a wet brine solution by mixing 8 pounds salt, 2 pounds sugar and a teaspoon of Cure #1 (yes, we use a tiny bit of sodium nitrite, but it prevents us from worrying about botulism).  Use 5 gallons of hot water to dissolve the above ingredients and let cool.  Cut pork belly into smaller chunks and cure in solution for about 21 days, turning every few days.  We use food grade buckets with tight sealing lids and store them in our basement where it is cool.  Make sure bellies are submerged by weighing down with a heavy plate. 

 

After curing, hang the bellies to allow to dry, usually 3-5 days.  After drying, we cold smoke them in an old barbecue using a hot plate set on low, a cast iron pan with moist, maple shavings covered with heavy duty aluminum foil.  We smoke during the day for about 3 days.

 

For storage, we vacuum seal the smoked bellies and put them in the deep freezer.  When ready to use, we thaw the bacon and soak in water for a couple of days, changing the water twice.  We just find that they are a bit salty otherwise.  We should play with the curing solution and diluting it more, but we don’t want to risk our meat spoiling.

 

Slice, fry and enjoy!

post #4 of 8

Mamakah - I just PM'd you two recipes - Chinese Twice-cooked Pork Belly, and the maple bacon from Charcuterie. 

post #5 of 8

Side pork is not quite the same as bacon but my family loves it.  We just fry it up the same as bacon, I'm drooling just typing this.  Just try it the way it is you might like it.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Herent-I tried just frying it up today and WOW!! it was delicious! DS ate 3 pieces!!! I'm still going to try curing my own, but this uncured version will definitely be a staple in my house from now on!!!  Mmmm. What a wonderful flavor.

Thanks for the replies everyone!

post #7 of 8

Glad you liked it :)

post #8 of 8

olaz-b, you are making something more like salt pork than bacon (or as my DH called it, "prairie bacon").  I am wondering why you are freezing it in the end since you just went to all that trouble to make a shelf stable product.  It's redundant. If you like your product, then that is great.  If you want to branch out a little get the book "Charcuterie" and make some different bacon.  The cookbook "Fat" has a few curing recipes too.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by olaz-b View Post

 

Here is a summary of how we cure and smoke our pastured pork bellies.  The detailed information is found in Basic Butchering Butchering of Livestock and Game by John J. Mettler.

 

Create a wet brine solution by mixing 8 pounds salt, 2 pounds sugar and a teaspoon of Cure #1 (yes, we use a tiny bit of sodium nitrite, but it prevents us from worrying about botulism).  Use 5 gallons of hot water to dissolve the above ingredients and let cool.  Cut pork belly into smaller chunks and cure in solution for about 21 days, turning every few days.  We use food grade buckets with tight sealing lids and store them in our basement where it is cool.  Make sure bellies are submerged by weighing down with a heavy plate. 

 

After curing, hang the bellies to allow to dry, usually 3-5 days.  After drying, we cold smoke them in an old barbecue using a hot plate set on low, a cast iron pan with moist, maple shavings covered with heavy duty aluminum foil.  We smoke during the day for about 3 days.

 

For storage, we vacuum seal the smoked bellies and put them in the deep freezer.  When ready to use, we thaw the bacon and soak in water for a couple of days, changing the water twice.  We just find that they are a bit salty otherwise.  We should play with the curing solution and diluting it more, but we don’t want to risk our meat spoiling.

 

Slice, fry and enjoy!



 

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