Saturday, 8 March 2008

Making bacon (again)..part 1

As Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall says, making your own bacon is ridiculously easy and very, very satisfying. He forgot to mention it's addictive!! I haven't bought commercially produced bacon for months now.
Today I made another 2 batches, and have started experimenting with other methods and cures.

First, start with a piece of pork belly - preferably free range, rare breed pork for extra flavour. I get mine from King Valley Free Range . This piece of belly came from the breed known as a Large Black. Imaginatively named because they are large, and (you guessed it) black. I picked mine up from the market this morning, along with a lovely shoulder roast and a piece of gammon, but that's another story!). I cut the belly into 3 pieces. The first piece was going got the maple syrup treatment.

I mixed up a cure of brown sugar, salt and maple syrup, then rubbed it into the piece of the pork belly.

Then, the belly went into a zip-lock bag, it was sealed and I put it skin side down on a tray (just in case of leaks as the brine forms. Then it's into the fridge for 4-7 days, turning every day or so to redistribute the brine.

Yep, it really is THAT QUICK AND EASY!!!!!!

Check back in a week to see how it turns out.

Next on the agenda - a cider (ooooh aaar) brine for the piece of gammon ham. Jerry's mouth is positively watering at the thought of home made gammon, egg and chips. Bless 'im. You can take the boy out of England, but you can't take England out of the boy.

Gammon isn't a typical cut that's readily available in Australia, but this is one of the great benefits of having a relationship with the people who produce your food - you can ask for special or unusual cuts. Not only that, but if you're local you can see where and how they live. In this case I know that before they end up on my fork they have lived as happily, as, well, a pig in mud (which they were for a lot of the time!), with treats, back scratches, TLC, and the ability to run around and be pigs. The fact that they are rare/ heritage breed pigs also means the flavour and texture is a world apart from mass-produced pork from the supermarket.


R and S and Family said...

Ohhh .. I now am inspired most definately to make some Gammon for my Hubby.

Margo.. YOU ROCK!!

xoxo Lintonpair ( aka Sara)

Margo said...

aaw shucks *blushes*

it's really worth it - LOVE gammon steaks with egg and chips :*)

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