So it turns out making your own bacon is super easy, way cheaper, and way tastier! A while back I attended a butchery course taught by Brandon Sheard of the Farmstead Meatsmith. We were cutting a beef, but one of the things we talked about quite a bit was curing meat.
Brandon has used a super simple cure on all types of meat with great success, and I’m gonna let you in on that secret here….
A basic dry cure of equal parts salt and sugar will preserve most types of meat equally well. That’s right just salt and sugar! No weird chemicals or expensive exotic ingredients here, just two super simple and inexpensive ingredients and you are well on your way to preserving that abundant homestead harvest!
Wanna know the next beauty part? The curring process is just as simple! Pay close attention here (you might want to read this twice)….rinse your slab of meat off, dry it, rub it liberally with your high tech cure, then put it in the fridge in a bowl,tray, or bucket (whatever fits). The next day drain all the liquid off, rub some more cure on it, put it back in the fridge and repeat until no more liquid comes out of the meat (usually about a week or so). Once you’re at that point you can rinse the cure off the meat, pat it dry, and it will be good to go. You can store your dry cured meat at room temerature for about six months just like that.
At this point you can cold smoke your cured meat for added flavor, or put a light coating of cracked black pepper on it to discourage flies. Hang your gourmet delicacy from the cieling for good air flow and you are set. Just pull the meat down and carve off a chunk when you’re ready to cook! If any surface mold developes just wash the mold off with a clean rag and some vinegar, and recoat with pepper.
We’ve been getting hog bellies at Costco recently and are using this exact process (no smoker yet, just the cured belly with blacknpepper on it for us) to make our own bacon. We save quite a bit if money this way, and we have peace of mind knowing exactly what’s going into our meals! So far the bacon’s only lasting about a month before it’s all ate up (about a 10 lb. belly), no mold, no flies, just bacony goodness! We just need to start raising our own hogs and we’ll be set!
There you go…low cost, low labor, low input gourmet food straight from the homestead!