You’ve made your bacon, and now it’s time to sample it!
You can do anything with your home-cured bacon you can do with shop-bought bacon, and more. Of course you can slice it and fry or grill it as part of a full english breakfast (or in a floury bap with ketchup, or in a sandwich with lettuce tomato and mayo). You can dice it and enjoy it in stews and pasta sauces (think lardons or pancetta). Really the only limit is your imagination.
I recommend you sample your bacon for the first time cooked very plainly – sliced and fried or grilled – since you’ll get the best sense of what the flavour and texture is like this way. Get a nice sharp long-bladed knife – it’s worth taking the extra couple of minutes to sharpen this if the blade isn’t quite up to scratch – and slice the bacon as thinly as you can.
You’re not going to get it as thin as commercial bacon, but that’s fine – aim for about 2mm thickness, this should be very achievable with some practice. It’s worth cutting a thicker piece off first to get a nice flat edge – this won’t go to waste as you can dice it for a stew or a sauce later. Leave the rind on – you don’t have to eat it, you can always trim it off later.
Put your sliced rashers into your frying pan on the hob, and wait for the sizzle. This really will be the first sign you get that things are cooking. What you won’t get is the pan full of white liquid we’re all so familiar with from commercial bacon, in fact it will stay completely dry until later in the cooking process when the fat starts to render.
Cook your bacon, turning occasionally, until the fat is rendering and you have some lovely golden caramelised areas. This bacon will take longer to cook than stuff from a packet – it’s sliced thicker, and it’s a lot denser, so be patient and take the time.
If there’s any bacon left over, wrap it up in the paper again and put it back in the fridge. It will keep at least a week and usually two. Don’t be tempted to seal it in a plastic bag, cling film or in a tupperware box, it’s a natural product and needs to breathe!
When you taste your bacon, please let me know what you think of it! In the last post of the bacon challenge series, I’ll suggest some ideas of places your new skill might take you next!
All the Big Bacon Challenge posts will be collected under the ‘BigBaconChallenge’ category heading – so go there to read them all!
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