October bacon

It's bacon-making time again. I've been curing and smoking my own bacon for about two years now, but hadn't kept too close track of the cures and procedures I've used. This month I'll keep better notes here. This round is all from one 11 lb. 3 oz. belly, cut into three pieces, each with its own cure.

Batch 1 — pancetta flavors

  • 1.6kg pork belly
  • 40g cure
  • 20g fresh ground black pepper
  • 15g brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 juniper berries, minced
  • 3 bay leaves, chopped up
  • 3g nutmeg, chopped or grated
  • 2g fresh thyme, chopped

About the cure: I use Ruhlman's basic cure at a ratio of 25g cure to 1kg belly. His book gives wider ranges of meat weight for a given amount of cure, and I like a rule, so I picked a nice round ratio. The meat goes into a ziplock bag, cure onto the meat as evenly as possible, then the other stuff over the meat and cure. Seal the bag, then double-bag, and into the refrigerator.

Batch 2 — fresh herbs

So the first batch gets everything all at once — cure on meat, then the other favoring bits on top. The other batches get two rubs — the first with just the flavoring bits for a few days, then that gets washed off, and the second rub is first the cure, and then a second mix of the flavoring. I'd tried that last time, and it seemed to be a better job of getting the flavor into the bacon.

  • 1.83kg pork belly
  • 1 tablespoon mollasses
  • 8g fresh sage
  • 2g fresh rosemary
  • 18 or so chives
  • 4g thyme
  • 8 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • (For later) 46g cure

On day 1, bag the pork, rub the mollasses over it. Mince all the herbs and grind the spices, and spread over the pork. Seal, and into the fridge. I did double-bag this one because without the cure, it won't extract too much moisture, so I'm not worried about leaks.

Batch 3 — tingly hot

Same technique here as for Batch 2 — a few days with just the flavoring additions before curing, to better infuse them into the meat.

  • 1.65kg pork belly
  • 17g sichuan peppercorns
  • 10g black pappercorns
  • 5g red papper flakes
  • 1g cayenne
  • 1g star anise (2 stars)
  • 4g cinnamon (1 stick)
  • 10g brown sugar
  • 41g cure (for later)

Grind all the spices together, and mix in the sugar. Bag the belly, distribute the rub over the meat, seak the bag, and into the fridge.

I'll post again in a few days when I check in with the bacon-to-be.

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