Aromatics – experimenting with flavoured bacon cures

I’ve now made a couple of flavoured bacons, which I’ve then smoked in my DIY cold smoker.

Black pepper bacon – 

  • 770g piece of pork belly
  • Dry cure made up from 65g Supracure, 15g dark brown soft sugar (~10% total weight of the bacon in cure)
  • 3g of cracked black pepper added to the salt & sugar cure mix
  • Cured according to the Bringing Home the Bacon general instructions
  • Smoked for 10 hours using oak dust

This is a lovely eating bacon, and is likely to become one of our house staples.  The pepper adds mostly flavour, very little heat.  The sweet flavour from the sugar is subtle, but present, and adds nice balance.  It cooks well, too.  Highly recommended.  I think it would also be very nice unsmoked.

Christmas cure spicesChristmas bacon – first attempt

  • 530g piece of pork belly
  • 10% cure mix made up of 36g of Supracure and 17g of molasses sugar
  • One bay leaf, 10 allspice berries, 4 juniper berries, and the berry of one clove (the small ball bit on top of the stem), ground in a spice grinder and mixed well with the sugar & salt
  • Cured in the usual way and then cold smoked for 10 hours in a mix of oak and apple smoke

While the cure did smell a bit medicinal, with a dominant smell of clove, despite the tiny quantity of clove added, it did at least smell convincingly of Christmas.  The molasses sugar gives the cured bacon a really distinctive dark colour to the flesh and to the rind.  Smoked over apple and oak wood dust, it has a lovely sweet complex slightly spiced flavour, and is almost exactly what I was looking for in a Christmas bacon.  It is probably more suited to a cooking bacon (and would make awesome ‘pigs in blankets’ for Christmas dinner) but does also eat very well, caramelising beautifully, if my lunch today was anything to go by!

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