I love making bacon. It’s not hard, but it takes time, and probably costs way more than buying the best bacon, but I love it all the same. After getting a chunk of belly pork in my meatbox I was browsing through Curing & Smoking: River Cottage Handbook No.13 looking at bacon recipes and found the basic one looked great except I had no juniper berries. The temptation to replace it with gin was too great.
It ends up being a wet cure, and might have benefitted from a few days air drying, but the results were excellent, the sweetnes of the gin really coming through nicely. Also, I had the wrong smoking chips, so I ended up with only a very light smoking, but it might have been all the better for it.
You will need
- A slab of belly pork, mine was about a kilo
- 4 teaspons of salt
- 6 teaspoons of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt peter
- A bay leave
- 50ml of gin (I used Portobello Road)
- Wash and dry the meat
- Mix all the brining ingrediants except the gin
- Rub the belly down with about half the curing mixture
- Pop it in a tight sealabe plastic bag, wrapped tightly and place skin side down in the fridge for a day
- (wait 24 hours)
- Pour off any liquid which has leached out
- Mix the gin and the remaining rub, then rub into the meat
- (wait a week)
- Rince off under the tap and pat dry.
- Smoke for a couple of hours
I should have cured for longer, the ends were excellent but the middle part probably needed a little longer.