Learn how to save money on your family’s delicious bacon supply. Unlike home cured bacon, commercial meat uses unsavory and unhealthy processes, involving chemicals and nitrate variants.
Curing bacon is a process of taking raw pork belly and converting it into ready-to-cook meat. It involves reducing moisture, and adding a desirable, sweet flavor. Honey is also a natural preservative that works amazingly well for pork.
Bacon is often cured before sitting on a butcher’s counter for sale. Options labelled ‘natural alternative’ may also use similar, conventional processing methods to sodium nitrate additives.
A reliable ingredient guide to honey cured bacon
Make bacon from scratch by starting with a large supply of pork belly. You can save money on your grocery budget by purchasing meat in bulk. Curing meat at home will in one batch will also save you time.
Set standards for your food. You can procure healthy meats at certain butcher shops, and farms that use authentic, organic growing processes. This requires a keen eye and a lot of discernment, as it’s best to use ingredients that are as close to as nature intended, as possible.
Many commercial cured meat products often feature ‘alternative nitrate’ ingredients. Sodium nitrate, in it’s most dangerous and chemically altered forms, can be replaced with nitrate sources that are grown at home, or purchased from an organic garden.
For a more natural, organic approach, you can opt for higher quality meats, that are grown without the use of antibiotics and genetically modified feed. Organic blossom honey and royal jelly are excellent choices, as well.
The bacon cure recipe and how to make it
This bacon cure recipe, as an example, requires the following ingredients:
- 5 pounds of pork belly
- 1/4 cup of coarse kosher, pink Himalayan or sea salt
- a form of nitrate for 30-day storage in a refrigerator
- 1 cup of raw honey
- coarse black pepper
Cut the pork belly into portions small enough to fit into your largest seal-able containers, or zip-lock bags. Gallon or 2-gallon zip-lock bags can be ideal, because they’ll generally take up less space in your refrigerator.
Mix your salts, pepper and honey together, and cover your pork belly thoroughly. Place the pork belly into your seal-able container and rub the mixture thoroughly into the meat.
Refrigerate your home cured bacon for up to one week. For balanced results, consider rubbing your mixture in daily, during the bacon curing process.
Take your honey cured bacon out, and rinse it off completely with clean, cold water. Afterward, pat it dry with a towel.
It’s not yet ready to cook, as the meat curing process requires drying. We’ll discuss simple yet powerful methods for safe consumption, long-term preservation and better flavor in the next section.
Making this bacon Recipe Your Own
You can also create your own variants, including smoked bacon recipes. Other common ingredients include garlic, local berries or apples, bay leaves and onion.
You can make salt cured bacon without black pepper. You can also replace ingredients, such as brown sugar or grade b maple syrup instead of honey, or add your own herbs and spices.
How to make your honey cured bacon safe to eat, and last longer
A less-desirable drying method for cured bacon, is to hang it in your refrigerator to drip out excess moisture. You can also leave it in your oven for about an hour and a half at 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
A superior method in many ways, is using a dehydrator for jerky. This can prevent flavor from searing out, and produces a balanced result with the same amount of effort. For ultimate shelf life, you can also cut out all of the fat, as it goes rancid much more quickly than the actual meat.
Once your home cured bacon is dried, you can hot or dry smoke it, as well, but we don’t all have smokers in our home kitchen or garage. You can use a dehydrator machine for this process as well, by adding your own smoke flavors, spices, herbs and other ingredients while drying.
Using a meat dehydrator to prepare your honey cured bacon for cooking, is very easy and allows for greater options.