So while I am moving right along in my DIY lifestyle I found that I was still purchasing bacon. Why am I doing that? I know how to make bacon and I own a large smoker. I could come up with no good excuse so I decided that Whenever it was that I last bought bacon would be the last time. Yup, We are makin’ bacon.

Now, I have no interest in making bacon laden with nitrates and the such. For me the whole point is to make excellent bacon free of chemicals. Now bare with me, this bacon has NO NITRATES. If that is too scary for you please by all means add the pink salt (nitrates). I am not and authority and do not wish to scare the “bacon” out of you so please do what you feel most comfortable with.

Ok, that said….lets make some bacon.

Step one: order a whole pork belly skin ON from your butcher. Mine here is a bit over 8lbs.

Fresh raw pork belly

A closer look…

Now you need to cut the belly into pieces you can work with. I cut mine in half and cleaned up the edges to get them straight more or less…Now, please don’t be upset when you find nipples on your belly. With the skin on the belly where else would the nipples be?

skin side with nipples

Here is the other side…

The meat side

Now with the meat all cleaned up and squared off we will mix the “cure”.
To make the cure you need to mix together 2.5 times the amount of kosher salt to 1 part sugar and a nice heavy grind of black pepper. In my case I used 2.5 cups of kosher salt mixed with 1 cup sugar and about 1.5tbls. fresh ground pepper..

My cure mixture with NO NITRATES

Now we rub the pork belly very very thickly with the cure mixture on both sides and then place it on a rack on a sheet pan. The soon to be bacon will loose liquid for about 2 days after which time you can transfer the soon to be bacon to a zip top bag for easy storage. Flip the bag over every day. The curing bacon must stay below 38 degrees the entire curing time. That is very very very important!!!!!

heavily seasoned pork belly

skin side also heavily seasoned with cure mixture

Now once the belly is covered like crazy in your cure mixture of salt sugar and pepper you will place it on a rack on a sheet pan (to catch the liquid that will come off the belly as it dries). In a couple of days it will stop losing liquid and then you can move it to a zip top bag. cover agin with cure mixture if needed.

Let the soon to be bacon cure on the fridge for about 5-7 days more. Then take the bacon from the fridge and give it a good rinse even soaking to in fresh cool water for a few minutes. I am going to stop here as my bacon in curing in the fridge and I want to give you pictures of all the steps. So this will end part one. See you soon with part two.

Come on, lets make bacon. Its so good!!!! I will give you all the steps to this process. Then you will have be on your way to making bacon too! See you soon.

         

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11 Responses to Homemade Cured Smoked Bacon with NO Nitrates!!! Part 1

  1. Rosalyn says:

    I love the idea of doing this, I worry about the nitrates in bacon but I love bacon and so does the rest of my family. I have a friend who owns a butcher shop so it shouldn’t be too hard to get this cut of meat, either! However, I am somewhat freaked out by the nipples, I’m glad you posted that. I’ll try to get over it. ;o)

    • Tamatha says:

      You just really made me laugh. Yes the nipples are a little disturbing but have no fear, in future steps to this process you will see that the skin is removed after the bacon comes off the smoker leaving no nipples on your bacon. I will post all the steps so you can follow and make your own bacon with no troubles. The more we do for ourselves the less we need the FDA to be involved in our lives. I hate nitrates and try to find ways around ten whenever possible. This bacon works!

  2. [...] been a week since I last posted about making bacon.  If you missed part 1 you can find it here.  I let the bacon cure for 6 days in the salt/sugar cure.  After a couple of days the pork [...]

  3. Teresa says:

    Can I use honey instead of sugar? We are on the GAPS diet and do not use sugar. If yes, how much?

    Thank you!

    Teresa

    • Tamatha says:

      Whoops. I originally answered that question based on the candied citrus peel, please excuse me. Now to your question…honey cannot be used as part of the cure as it will cause the salt to melt instead of pull moisture from the pork belly. The curing process is removal of natural moisture while imparting a flavor. Honey would eliminate the drying process which is key. I believe you would risk getting sick. Working with no nitrates requires strict diligence in handling. The nitrate we are working without here almost eliminates the fear of getting sick but comes with many other problems. Please be safe, don’t try to cure using honey.

  4. john says:

    where do I find part 2

  5. Frank says:

    Tamatha,
    I have been curing/smoking animal protiens for 45 years. The method you have implemented is a very unsafe practice. Nitrates/nitrites ensure the safe handling of protien products when handling/curing/smoking and eliminating them is like playing russian roulette with your and your families’ health and well being. I respect that you have concerns over the use (or overuse) of nitrates/nitrites, but PLEASE take a little time and independently research the falacy that has now become our “nitrate free” mentality before you poison yourself or someone you love.

    • Tamatha says:

      THank you so much for your honest response. I was worried about the same things but I control the risk be keeping the temperatures low. By strictly controlling to temperatures I keep the chances for contamination extremely low. Though I would agree that we may fear nitrates a little more than we need to. Do you have a bacon recipe you like? If so would you be willing to share it here? I would love to see your recipe. :)

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