I have cured my own ham/ bacon for a long time now…
Those of you who know me are well aware of my aversion to anything processed and ham/ bacon is no exception to that rule. The ham you purchase from the shops is just slimy, and not nice at all….The bacon of doubtful origins at best especially where I live now…In the Uk you could get some lovely home cured kinds of bacon and hams not so here or if there is I have not found them….I have also been experimenting with various different ways which may be more healthy…
Bacon contains nitrates which some have an aversion to using or it causes headaches and other adverse symptoms.
Today I am using celery juice..just put the celery in the juicer and out the other side and viola this lovely vibrant green juice.
Now celery also contains nitrates but they are naturally occurring although for some may still cause headaches if your aversion is to chemicals then celery may be a better way to cure your bacon.
I used 2 Kilo’s Pork Belly.
For every Kilo of Pork use I used:
- 2 parts rock salt to 1 part sugar.
- 4 cloves garlic.
- 2 bay leaves
- A bunch of Lemon Thyme.
- 20/30 Mustard Seeds,
- 12 Pepper Corns,
- Celery Juice as required to make the mix damp.
Finely slice bay Leaves and lightly crush with other spices in Pestle & Mortar.
Combine with Sugar and Salt and mix with liberal amounts of celery juice until damp.
Rub into Pork.
Place Pork in a sealed container or bag ( I used a brining bag). Turn halfway through the week. That is why I like using brining bags as it is much easier to turn the pork belly over.
Store in the fridge for 5 Days.
After 5 days remove the belly pork and wash thoroughly.
Cook in oven @ 100 C for 2 hours. Cool and slice.
It also looks lovely and pink ( no grey) which means the natural nitrates in the celery juice had worked their magic.
All I need now is a home-made smoker and some lovely flavoured woods. Maybe use some maple syrup, honey, someone suggested coffee..some nice tea springs to my mind so many options…A different blend of herbs or cut of meat…
Have you made your own bacon and if you did what did you use?
Now the tester…How will it taste?
It smells like bacon, looks like bacon and made a lovely sandwich…. Before you say yes I cut it thinly and no not everyone in the household likes it like that but the beauty of making your own is everyone can have their bacon sliced to their own requirements …How cool is that?
If you start experimenting now you can have some lovely home-cured bacon for Christmas or as a lovely present for someone you love …
Christmas Ham Recipe.
A piece of Pork…top of leg……mine was 3 kilo.
Suitable plastic( not metal) container to brine meat in.
Ingredients for Rub:
- 4 tbsp salt (coarse)
- 2 tbsp Sugar.
- 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter(saltpetre)
Ingredients for Brine:
- 5 litres water
- 900 gm salt (coarse)
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter.
- Mix the dry rub, and rub the ham, making sure it’s well covered. If using a 7-8 kilo ham you will need a double batch.
- Place the ham in a large container, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place, like the fridge.
- Now mix the brine in a pot and cook up and cook for 10 min. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the foam when it stops bubbling and leave to cool and save in a cold place.
- Pour the cold brine over the ham so it is covered.
- Store the ham cold.
- Turn the ham from time to time during the curing time. Use clean tongs and plastic gloves.
- Let the ham brine for 14-20 days.
IF the brine goes cloudy, make new brine and replace the old brine with that and keep curing it.
Tip: Wear gloves even when dry rubbing.
When ham cured use your favourite recipe to cook and voila a lovely ham.
I have cooked mine all ways usually I cover with water, bring it to the boil and then drain off all the water. Add fresh water and all my spices…I add a couple of bay leaves, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, about 3/4 cloves, a star anise and maybe a cardamom pod also about 2 tbsp of brown sugar…I cook for 20 mins per 500 gm of meat and then allow to cool overnight in the cooking water it is then ready to eat.
I have also once it has finished cooking scored the fat and studded with cloves, brushed with honey and put in the oven for 20 minutes.
My third way which I did last Christmas was to use loin of pork instead of the leg and scored the fat….when I got to the boiling stage I added water to just below the fat and then when it was cooked covered the meat with foil leaving just the fat exposed then oiled and salted the fat wacked it in a high oven to crisp of the crackling…It went down a storm everyone loved it…A bit more work but crispy crackling with your ham…awesome!
I hope you are enjoying my Christmas recipes please let me know in comments and also what are your favourite maybe you cook something I haven’t tried or heard of…Please let me know…
I made the conscious decision that for the amount used and the dilution per litre of liquid that as the body can cope and disperse with the nitrate I would use that rather than getting botulism which the body generally doesn’t cope with.