Dry Cure Bacon
Thirdeye gave me a Ruhlman inspired recipe for doing a sweeter bacon using a dry cure. The recipe originally called for maple syrup but that is rare and quite expensive in the Philippines. So I substituted honey for maple syrup. At Thirdeye's suggestion, I used some hot water to help liquify the honey which made it into a superb sticky rub.
The cure was salt, brown sugar, honey, and Prague powder. I had a 3 1/2 pound pork belly we coated liberally, wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in a ziplock bag. I let it cure for 6 days, turning once a day.
After the 6 days (and a bit) we pulled it out, rinsed it and dried it off. It went back into the refrigerator for 10 hours (overnight) to form its pellicle. The next morning I used my Weber and Smokenator combo to "warm" smoke it. I had wanted to cold smoke it, but the hickory chips wouldn't smoke without a small but substantial amount of the local lump charcoal which raised the Weber to the 110F to 135F range with occasional trips to the 155F range.
I smoked it for almost 6 hours. I wrapped the chips in foil and after they quit smoking, I'd unwrap them and put them directly on the charcoal. They would smoke again for 15 to 20 minutes, giving their all.
When it was done, we cooled it off, chilled it in the freezer to slice and tried a slice. This was my first dry cure and they reputedly saltier than wet cures, so I thought I would have to soak it in water to remove some salt. But the first slice was just fine. Nice with a pronounced sweet note to it that my wife loves. The dry cure takes a bit more personal time since you need to turn it daily but I loved the finished product.
Slicing it, photo 1:
Slicing it, photo 2:
Nice - impressive that you're slicing by hand too! For every few batches of savory bacon I'll do a sweet one & it's a nice change.
I'm curing a belly today - I've been ruined - I don't think I'll be going back to store bought bacon anytime soon!
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