|bacon cut and packaged, image, ©|
Bacon is made from certain cuts of meat taken from the belly or back. Pigs with a high fat content are generally used instead of lean skinny boars, typically they will weigh 35kgs and above and have an obvious layer fat beneath the skin.
Bacon curing is slightly different from ham by the differences in brine (or dry packing). Sodium ascorbate is also added to accelerate curing and help stabilize colour. Flavourings such as brown sugar or maple syrup are used for some products. Sometimes sodium polyphosphates are added to improve slice ability and reduce spattering when being fried.
|loins for bacon, image, ©|
It is important to skin your pig well to retain fat. Bone off the loins carefully and cut across rib line for desired length of roll.
A general ratio of total meat weight in kg's divided by 10.5 will give a total cured weight, (1/3 of this weight will be your cure mixture, salt (un-ionised), brown sugar or golden syrup (6.3kg of loins divided by 10.5 = 600g, so 200g of each of the above ingredients is needed).
|larger scale smoker, image, ©|
Mix all ingredients together to make the cure and rub into the meat insuring coverage of the entire surface area. Place meat into a re-sealable bag or container leaving a small amount of air. Refrigerate or chill for 7 days turning once a day without removing the liquid that will subsequently drain from the meat.
|bacon slicer, image, ©|
Remove contents from bag and wash with cold water, dry and store in a cool place like your fridge or rack in your chiller for a day. When the meat is ready to smoke it will have released a clear film or droplets (peticals).
|the finished product, image, ©|
Cold smoke for 6 hours with good heavy smoke flow once this process is complete your bacon is ready to be sliced. It's a good idea to place your bacon in the freezer over night and slice it the following morning; this will help keep it firm.
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