Firstly I need to say a big thank you to Katy for asking me to be a guest blogger. It is a great privilege and I hope I can do the blog justice.
I am slightly chicken and animal mad. I have a blog that I update with my chicken and baby chick hatching news, however, I do stray into other areas, such as recipes, four legged animals and vegetables from my allotment. Today I have entered the world of pork and curing.
This latest obsession reared its head when I had the opportunity to buy half a Tamworth pig for my freezer from Liz Shankland, a journalist, smallholder and author of the Haynes Smallholding Manual and the Haynes Pig Manual. It’s the first time I had ever considered buying rare breed pork. I have to say the meat is fantastic. I never want to return to supermarket bought pork again. With so much meat in the freezer (approximately 30kg from half a pig), I decided to try and cure the belly pork to make streaky bacon. Not having done this before I had no idea where to start.
Liz suggested I buy ready to use curing salt. Now to the butchers and curers out there this may be a dirty word. However to a novice and first time curer with little time to prepare the cure, it’s perfect. I bought my cures from www.sausagemaking.org.uk It even has a handy guide on the website showing you how to use their cures.
Now technically pigs for bacon are grown on longer than pigs for pork. Porkers are aged from 4 to 6 months old and a baconer can be reared to 8 to 10 months old. But having gone through the process with this pork which was within the 4-6 months category, it tastes fantastic and produces really nice size streaky bacon. The process is really simple.
First prepare the belly. There will be some bones left in the belly. Having spoken to a few people these can be left in. In fact it was the norm back in the day to buy streaky bacon with small bones in from your local butcher. I decided to cut mine out. I’m no butcher but it was relatively straight forward. Next stage was to measure out the cure and rub 80% into the meat, the other 20% into the skin. For the dry cure I used 30g for 1 kg of meat and for the smoked cure I used 40g for 1 kg of meat. This is quite therapeutic and my eldest son, age 5 had great fun helping. The meat was then wrapped in two layers of cling film, placed in a Tupperware container, put in the fridge and left. It was turned every 2 days. Depending on the thickness, depends on how long you leave it with these particular cures.
It doesn’t take long, mine was ready in just 5 days! You just wash off the salt in water and leave dry in the fridge. You can then cut and cook! I would recommend trying this if you can get some belly pork or loin. It gives you a great sense of achievement and tastes amazing. Especially on a muffin with a home reared egg!!
If you would like to read more about rearing chicks, chickens or check out some cake recipes visit www.backgardenpoultryhatcher.blogspot.co.uk
Hope you enjoyed the entry and thank you for reading!
Andrew (Twitter: Homer_Andrew)