A while ago, when ordering lids for some of the recycled glass jars we sourced, I saw a link to a recipe for homemade bacon.
Well, bacon is one of our regular purchases at the Farm Gate Market from Ross O’Meara and Matt Evans (known in our house as the Pork Boys). And their bacon is such a world apart from regular bacon that we don’t buy anything else. Same for sausages really. A week or so later I sat down with the internet and also Matt’s Real Food Companion and did some more serious thinking about bacon – cold vs hot smoking, brine vs dry cure and so on.
But it was a conversation with Mrs Radford from whom we bought over 100 Fowlers Preserving jars that cemented the deal. At over 80, she still made her own bacon. Visiting her was inspirational – a gorgeous garden, plenty of energy and mobility, a sparkle in her eye and well organised under the house where the bottles were stored. When we ran out of boxes for the bottles, she emptied the box of spuds she’d dug from her garden earlier in the day. Hers were also the best cared for preserving bottles we bought too.
The next day we travelled to Margate to collect jars from a freecycler, then over to Nicholls Rivulet to check out an organic beef and pork farm. We bought a range of his meat but sadly no pork belly. We did get some at the local corner store though, a small piece to experiment with this bacon concept.
My Mother-in-Law had heard us talking and also bought a piece which got thrust into our hands – “you do something with this”. So we cured one piece just in a salt cure, the other in a brown sugar and salt mix.
14 days of turning and peering into the ziplock bags, and it was time to smoke it. Well, in hindsight, 7 days would have done but the last week of work had to be dealt with.
We picked up some hickory chips, and made a smoking set-up in our BBQ.
Eating – we forgot to take a photo once cooked, but before eaten. When we rang M-I-L to say we were slicing the bacon and did she want to come for lunch she came around so quickly she didn’t take her apron off
With the benefit of hindsight:
- Cure for the 7 days recommended per inch of thickness.
- Block up more gaps in the BBQ to contain the smoke more.
- Make more!!!!!