Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The cure for bacon

Of course there is no cure for love of bacon... so you just gotta give into the bacon obsession and make your own. Make your own bacon? Sure, yes you can!

First, did you run right out and get Ruhlman's book, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing? His instructions are easy peasy and even if you don't have a great smoking set up like my pal, The Gastronomic Gardener, you can still make bacon. And even if you don't raise your own hogs you can get fresh pork bellies online or from a local butcher. Then all you need is a few simple ingredients. One of the things you need is "pink salt." I found some from The Sausage Maker here as Instacure #2 for Drying Meats 1 Pound.  Everything else you can find at the grocery store.

The first step is to cure the fresh meat.  You'll need a salt and sugar "cure" to cure the meat. Got it?  Just make up a batch of Ruhlman's basic cure, rub it all over the meat, then seal it up in a bag or a non-reactive container, and refrigerate.

I used big gallon bags for the plain bacon, the black pepper bacon, and also my small experiment of rosemary and black pepper. The big piece of maple bacon is curing in a smallish dish tub I found at the Dollar Store (yes, it was one dollar). Every other day I'll turn the pieces of pork over so it cures evenly. After seven days I'll check and see if its ready to smoke. How fun is that?

I also started two pieces of pancetta and also two small jars of salt pork. The pancetta has different ratios of salt, sugar, and spices. The salt pork is just the basic cure and has slightly different instructions.

As Meat Week winds down I also started two more batches of lard. I tried cutting theses pieces instead of grinding them - we'll see how it goes. We had a shorter day on Thursday because we took the pup, Zander, to the vet for his rabies shot. We were wow'd to find out that our little baby is 44 pounds! The vet had to check the records twice to make sure that he really is just about 14 weeks old. The vet was a little gaga that Zander is on track to be pretty darn big. Of course we were very proud of Zander and he was very good during his appointment.

While the pup did just fine, the nervous mommy came directly home and calmed her nerves by  making a big plate of porkchops. Then I felt much better. Zander slept for most of the afternoon then was just fine.

Happy end of Meat Week everyone! There's still a little more work to do... but more on that and what I'm gonna do with all this lard later.


Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

The only thing I have is that box of salt, and that white pan from the dollar store :o) the rest is a dream :o(

Jody said...

Now you've done it all!

Ruth Trowbridge said...

I am really enjoying your tutorials - smoking is so rewarding, can't wait to see how you make pork rinds, haven't mastered this yet - peace

Ohiofarmgirl said...

You're halfway there, Ginny. I know some folks who have a beef tongue and dont know what to do with it. I thought of you and giggled a little.

Thanks Jody! Its fun to see all this actually working. yay!

Ruth, thanks so much!

David said...

You're absolutely right about it being an accessable activity. - The belly from the butcher. "Pink salt" - you can order it on line as you said, other sources I've found is the butcher gshop (you'd be surprised how excited and supportive they can be when you tell them you're doing your own curing!), or the hunting stores that sell cooking supplies for venison. I don't know what is in everyone's neck of the woods but big box hunting stores such as Gander Mountain or Cabela's will have it as well. Bacon you make at home is so far superior to store bought you may never go back.

Veggie PAK said...

You're probably too busy to think about it now, but you guys should really be proud of yourselves for how you get this all done. Great job and a great post!

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