First of all no white gunk leaking out the meat into the frying pan and second of all it actually tastes like bacon.
So if my butchers bacon is so good and easy to get a hold of, why on earth am I planning on curing my own bacon, in fact I thought it was such a strange idea that it has took me best part of a year to get round to it, and I am only doing so now out of amused interest.
It could be a complete waste of time, then again it could change my bacon eating life for ever.
This recipe comes from Hugh Fearnley - Whittingstall's 'The River cottage family cookbook'
I halved the quantities in this recipe.
Free range piece of pork such as loin (I used organic), about 1.5kg
for the dry cure mix:
2 juniper berries, 10
Coarse salt, 500g
Soft brown sugar, 100g
Coarsely ground black pepper
First prepare the dry cure.
Finely chop the bay leaves, lightly crush the juniper berries and add both to a non-metallic bowl along with the salt, sugar and pepper. Mix thoroughly together.
Rub a handful of the salt mix into the pork, when all the surfaces are covered put it in a Tupperware box, cover and put in the fridge.
After 24 hours drain any water that the salt has drawn out of the meat and rub another handful or two of the salt cure into the pork. Return to the fridge.
Repeat this process everyday, after 4 days the bacon will be 'lightly' cured (ready to use as bacon sandwiches) although you could cure it for up to a week, this will make it too salty for bacon rashers though so more suited to using in cooking such as soups.
When you've finished curing your bacon, rinse off the excess salt and pat the meat dry with kitchen paper.
Ideally the meat should be hung for 24 hours.
Wrap the finished bacon in greaseproof paper, to let it breathe, and slice as needed.
The 'cure' mix, rubbed into the pork.
So was it worth it, 4 days wait for a bacon sandwich, well, yes it was.I sliced lovely rashers and fried them (a treat in itself) and served them on fluffy homemade white bread with chunky oven chips.
It was the most delicious bacon, I was quite unsure how it would taste actually, especially as I have such a soft spot for smoked bacon, and while I am not yet ready to attempt smoking bacon just yet as I was surprised at how 'bacon-ey' it tasted.
And while it produced no white gunk in the frying bacon it did produce lovely juices perfect for dipping my bread into.
The only down side I can see to this is that the bacon was slightly over salty for my liking, next time I might cure it for a day less, although the salty bacon will be perfect as a flavour base in many meals.
A long wait but well worth it.