Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Home Curing Bacon

Pork...lots is said about it and many people choose not to eat it because it is kinda..well...um...piggy!

But we have always been pork eaters, and I think we will continue to be. Our pork eating has gone from just buying out of fridges at Woolies about 5 years go, moving onto Happy Hog about 3 years ago and now we have a new farmer that we buy from.

We stopped eating pork for a while as I needed to be 100% sure of what the piggies were eating and when we found our new supplier last month we were very happy to give the pigs a try.

The reason that most people steer away from pork is because of the atrocious conditions they are kept in. Pigs will also eat carrion along with their everyday slops and within 4 hours they will have made that yucky "food" into meat or fat. Kept in styes, they wallow in their own filth, which is a breeding ground for pathogens and because pigs are designed to dig with their noses they will shovel around in their own poop too. Eewwww...yeah...gross right!?! Right.

 My son has had a free range chicken supply business for the last 18 months and over the last while he has added new products to his range. We got onto our new pork farmer because of her chickens. I was smitten with her story and decided to try her pork for our personal use, not his business, yet.

Ros is a free range farmer in the truest sense of the word. Her lambs, beef and pigs are never housed. They spend their days and nights in the open foraging for food. The only feed they get is either grown for them on the farm or mixed up from other local farmers.

For instance, her chickens get a grain and legume mix with a little added locally grown heirloom corn which is untainted by the Monsanto modifications. Her pigs are happy to eat from their own home grown snack bar as she plants up the river banks with vegetables for them to root. They also spend time foraging in the woods and around the farm. Her cows, likewise. And all this for her passion - to finance horse rehabilitation which she has been doing from her teen years - 500 horses so far in her lifetime. Truly inspirational.

So we are eating pork again, raised with the highest standards we can find and we are happy. But she doesn't do bacon. Bacon is too expensive to do as a small time farmer and we do so love our bacon, so she gave me a home curing recipe to try on her thick sliced belly "bacon" cuts. She has given me permission to share it here.

1/4 cup natural sea salt
1/4 cup moist brown sugar.
Mix well
Add a dash of balsamic vinegar
20ml melted maple syrup.

4 - 6 slices

Rub into bacon and place into covered dish to sweat in the fridge for 7 days. Dry out in the fridge for 2 days by removing the cover, cook and eat.

The outcome -  a salty sweat smoky flavour that 3 of us loved and 3 of us were a bit on the fence about. I was one who liked it!

I am going to try it again for definite thumbs up or next time I think I will order the full belly and try to cure it according to the new book my dear Sis just sent me - sugar salt smoke.

Half went into a chicken caesar salad

The others were fried...
For a good old traditional breakfast

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