DIy bacon

The bacon is finally finished curing and air-drying.  It turned out quite good this time, and we got almost 20lbs of bacon from one pig, after curing.  This means it was probably originally 25 or so pounds fresh.

When bacon is cured traditionally, salt and a small amount of sugar, spices and seasonings are rubbed on the outside of the meat.  The salt pulls moisture out of the meat, and preserves it to an extent.  The bacon can then be smoked (someday we will have a cold-smoker!).

This is exactly opposite of store bacon, which is injected with a preserving solution and actually gains weight from the extra water and chemicals.  The extra moisture also helps out the very lean nature of modern bacon when it is cooked, and keeps it from being dry and tough, as lean meat tends to be.

Our piggies, so fond as they are of skimmed milk, do not have any problem with lean bacon.  We have taken Jane Grigson’s advice in Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery:  “…try to get meat from what is called ‘overweight pig’, most pork on sale nowadays is from very young pigs bred for tender, lean, and rather tasteless meat…”

Good bacon doesn’t need injections of flavor chemicals!  I think that can be said of good food in general.

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