Addendum to Making Bacon – Stage Two: Drying…

Addendum to Making Bacon – Stage Two: Drying…

 

Before curing the pork belly looks like this, as most of you probably know.

Pork belly

Pic courtesy of Wikipedia.

The cure, a mix of sea salt, black pepper, and molasses sugar extracts water from the meat, the process causing the meat to firm up and darken and, inevitably, shrink. In this case, the molasses sugar also contributed to the darkening process.

After 7 days in the cure, it was removed, washed, and soaked in cold water for 15 minutes to remove a little of the salt (removing too much rather defeats the object of curing).

Soaking bacon

After soaking it’s thoroughly dried, and set on a wire rack to be dried in my fridge (ignore the state of the tray the wire rack is sitting on, the meat doesn’t touch it – it’s just to catch any drips). At this stage it should smell of very little, just a faint whiff of raw bacon.

Ready for drying

This is the meat sitting in the fridge after a few hours. As you can see, it’s visibly dryer than it was.

In the fridge

In the background are two jars of rendered lard, the orange one from a batch of very fatty panceta, the other from belly pork.

The drying should take two or three days for small pieces like these, after which it will be ready for slicing and packaging for the freezer, covered in the final post in a few days. Ideally, it should have been in one piece, but for no good  reason there was a deep slash in the meat, right through to the skin, which meant it had to be cut in two. Thanks Waitrose.

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6 thoughts on “Addendum to Making Bacon – Stage Two: Drying…

  1. Hi Ron What quantity of salt and molasses and water 

    >________________________________ > From: Ron’s Rants… >To: >Sent: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 11:52 AM >Subject: [New post] Addendum to Making Bacon – Stage Two: Drying… > > > WordPress.com >Ron posted: “Addendum to Making Bacon – Stage Two: Drying…   Before curing the pork belly looks like this, as most of you probably know. Pic courtesy of Wikipedia. The cure, a mix of sea salt, black pepper, and molasses sugar extracts water fr” >

  2. Well the difference is amazing – and yes, you can see it is visibly dryer. It’s a real shame that you had to cut the piece into two due to Waitrose, as I would have liked to see it on a larger piece as well. I know that pictures don’t show you the right size of the cuts. Can’t wait to see it actually sliced up and packaged.
    BTW – love the glass keeping cold for the JD 🙂

    • The meat was 975g. Cured weight 784g, a loss of nearly 20%, double what I expected (Tesco’s pork, for example. lost around 10%). It should be ready for slicing tomorrow. As long as I am!

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