Category: Dry Cure

Dry Cure Bacon

Loin Bacon or Belly Pork Bacon is the easiest of all to make. Simply take a piece of free range pork like Gloucester Old Spot. You want a thick slab from an older animal which has been allowed to gain a medium to thick layer of fat on it.

Method is easy…

1)      Prepare correct size of vacuum pack with double sealed end, roll over the top to stop it getting wet

2)      Add pork and cure mixture then shake to distribute.

3)      Seal end with vacuum seal and double seal end.

4)      Leave in cold fridge and turn daily.

5)      You need to leave it for (at least) 24 hours per ½ inch or 13mm then add on 2 days. This means belly at least a week and loin more.

6)      When ready sometimes you can tell when it is really firm, wash off in cold water, pat dry with kitchen towel. Put on metal drying rack in fridge for a few hours.

7)      Can be cold smoked as well at this point or packed and frozen. Can eat right away or leave for a day to get more flavour.

I would say that these figures are conservative and you could add a little more normal salt and cure longer and it will taste fine. Also this bacon will not last like commercial bacon so best to freeze in vacuum packs and eat on defrost. Also if freezing leave in large pieces for belly then cut to lardons later.


  • Bacon Loin or Belly 2825g
  • Old English Bacon Cure Ready mixed (30g per 1000g) 84.75g
  • Brown Sugar 16g (balances salt adds flavour and helps preserve)
  • Spices – mix what you want. Why not try out…Juniper berries, bay leaf, black pepper, mace, oregano, sage for a range of flavours. You cannot do any harm as long as they are not indian spice mixes which are too harsh.

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Brisket – Cured Corned Beef

I had an idea the other day to try my hand at a rolled brisket or corned beef. In the end it turned out very much like pastrami but without the very strong flavour as there was no coating stuck on.

I got a standard peice of Scottish Beef from Tesco for my test. I would advise you can buy better than this but £14 for 2.35kg was ok for start off with.

The method is very simple….

1)         Make up cure

2)        Create vacuum bag the right size

3)        Rub on cure (turning over a part of the bag to ensure it stays dry.

4)        Shake

5)        Seal bag

6)        Place in fridge for 10 days per kilogram or 20 days in my case

7)        Turn every day and massage to help flow of salts and flavour.

8)        20th day take off packaging, rinse in cold water thoroughly. Then place in large pot with more picking spice to taste, some dark rum (optional), chopped veg such as carrot, onion, celery,salt water slightly as if for potatoes to keep salt from leeching out and bring to boil. You can salt water as this recipe is really very delicate and is not over salted. In fact I would add a little more maybe 75g of normal s alt and it would be fine on my next effort.

9)        Cut in thin slices and leave rest to cool.

10)      Optional idea to make it cure more evenly and quicker, unroll and cure, then re-roll before you cook it. Or don’t roll at all like pastrami.


  • 2350g Brisket
  • 67.5g Normal Fine Good Quality Rock Salt (for grinding in mill)
  • 33.75g Sugar
  • 5.733  – Cure 1 – Prague Powder 1
  • Spice mix of your choice, I tried pickle spice but I think actually black pepper, paprika, tom puree, garlic etc.. might be better. Note you must partly crush the spices to help yield flavour.


I used a cure called Prague Powder 1 which in fact is Prague powder #1 or pink salt contains 93.75% table salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite. The particular brand I use states clearly that you use at a rate of 2.5g per 1000g of meat.

To enable you do this I bought a set of very cheap but highly accurate scales to 1/100th of a gram. I measured the Prague Powder very carefully in a muffin paper case three times to be sure. If you make a mistake you will kill anyone who eats the food.  I have done a lot of this and never had an issue but I am very very careful. If you are not sure don’t risk it.

If you cannot mange to mix to this level of accuracy I suggest you buy the cure ready mixed. This is often labelled at Bacon Cure and will work the same. If you use the Bacon Cure you can omit the other salt as it is ready mixed. That is normally added at rate of 30g per 1000g so easier to handle.

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This is a pancetta / dry cure bacon which is really very good.

In this version I have split half an Old Spot Belly (skin removed). Each bag has a 630g slice which has two versions of the cure.


1)        Weight pork first 630g for each piece

2)       Ratio for dry cure mix is 30g/kg. So for this we need 18.9g. I round up to 20g.

3)       In this case I use three identical ceramic bowls of same mass and check and recheck my dry cure. You can buy it here

4)       Then I take the following mix and add to my cure bowls, Dried Sage, Pinch salt, Pinch Brown Sugar, Large Pinch Pepper  or Several Crushed Juniper Berries.

5)       Make up a vaccum bag and make sure you do a double seal on one end.

6)       Add the cure to the bag, then add the meat, give a shake to distribute and quickly seal the end. If you are not quick fluids will come out of the meat and make it impossible to seal the bag.

7)       Double heat the seal to ensure it is firm or make a second seal.

8)       Rub all over but not to generously.

9)       Leave in fridge (very cold one) for 1 day for every ½ inch + two days. In this case It was 2.5” so that is 5 days + 2 days is 1 week. I turn every day to get fluids evenly spread.

10)    Gently rise in cold water discarding fluids and washing away thoroughly.

11)     Place bacon on metal rack in tray to dry for a while then cut in to chunks.

12)     Either vacuum pack or simply bag up for freezer or use within a week or so.

You will find that you might want to add extra salt as I do as I have found that the bacon is not salty enough. Also I think if you leave a little longer than a week it is also ok. Don’t worry about going over on cure time.

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