I’ve always been fascinated by the subject and read in various places that it was actually really easy to do at home. Reading Tim Hayward’s book Food DIY was the last kick up the backside I needed to try it myself.
Remember the crackling I made from pork belly skin last week? Part of the belly meat I cooked on the day and the other half I turned into bacon using the “easy dry cure” from the book which involves packing the meat in three parts sugar and five parts salt (plus any extra flavouring, I used smoked paprika and thyme), tightly sealed in two freezer bags and left in the fridge for a week, flipping it over once a day.
Today it was time to see if it had worked. I opened the bag and it smelled good so hadn’t gone off. That was the first hurdle taken. After rinsing off all the cure and padding it dry, it looked like this.
It had lost about a third of its volume and was nice and firm. It smelled really good, too. As a test, I took off two slices, chopped them into lardons and fried them in a dry pan over medium heat. They turned really crispy and the fat had rendered beautifully in which I fried an egg. Look at those crispy little bits!
This experiment gave me confidence to try some more home curing. I think I’m going to try some gravadlax and duck ham next.