“Bacon has always been enjoyed in my household. That is, until I discovered real bacon, and by real bacon I mean good old home-cured. Like most other food that you make at home from scratch, this beautiful porky delight is miles more tasty than the store-bought variety. So what’s the difference? Well, flavour for starters, you can actually taste the ‘porkyness’. I like to dry-cure mine instead of injecting brine, so its texture is meatier. I can cut the bacon as chunky as I like, which is a real boon for my style of cooking. The best part is there’s no need for fancy equipment.” Rohan Anderson, forager, blogger and author of Whole Larder Love.
- 3.5 kg piece boneless pork loin and belly
- 500 g (1⅔ cup) rock salt
- 295 g (1⅓ cup firmly packed) brown sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Curing time 7 days
You will need extra-large plastic sealable bags and a 20 cm x 30 cm dish or plastic container.
Rinse the pork under cold, running water and pat dry with paper towel. If necessary, cut the pork into 2 pieces so it fits into the bags.
Combine salt and sugar in a bowl. Place pork on a clean board and completely coat in curing mixture. Transfer to plastic sealable bags (double bag the pork, if necessary) and place in a dish or container. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, turn pork over to ensure it is completely coated in the mixture. Repeat every day for 7 days.
After 7 days, remove pork from bags. A lot of liquid will have collected in the bags. Discard the curing mixture and liquid.
Rinse pork well under cold running water, then pat dry with paper towel.
Cut off a small slice of bacon and cook in a frying pan over medium heat for 3 minutes. Taste for saltiness. If it is too salty, place remaining bacon in a large saucepan of cold water for 2 hours to dilute salt then remove and pat dry with paper towel. Divide bacon into portions and freeze or refrigerate until needed.
Photography Chris Chen
As seen in Feast magazine, October 2013, Issue 25. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.