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!!!!!!!! Dry curing bacon, and preserving pork without electricity

 
pollinator
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I'm having trouble finding information online about making salt-cured and cold smoked bacon from bits other than the belly. I'm specifically interested in making side bacon/long bacon this way.

Our dry-salted and cold smoked belly bacon (speck) lasted all year at room temperature, even through the Australian summer.

A brine cure is usually used here for side bacon, and that's what we did last year for that part, but even after cold smoking, my instinct was to store it in the freezer rather than considering it stable at room temperature.

I'm interested in trying a dry cure on side bacon this year, in order to store it without electricity. This recipe seems to show the typical look of 'long bacon' that includes the side as well as the belly, and uses a dry cure, but doesn't say anything about electricity-free storage. This website uses a dry cure for side bacon, but also doesn't give long-term storage directions.

Last year we used a mix of black pepper, bay leaves, and juniper berries before putting the bellies in tubs full of plain sea salt. If we did this to the sides, which are are a bit thicker than the bellies, would it work just as well? We would probably leave them in the cure for a bit longer than the bellies, depending on how thick they are, and also would over-salt them, in order to make it better for storing.

Has anyone tried making side bacon this way? Any experience dry-salting bits of pork that are not the belly? Any information to share about traditional pork preserving? If you can share it here I would greatly appreciate it!
 
pollinator
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I have done gammon and hams, I used recipes from The river cottage cook book (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall) He has recipes for dry cured pork and wet cures. and he does give times for a "Light" fridge cure and a strong room temp cure.


 
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The copy of "Putting Food By" (free on the internet at www.librum.us) had an extensive section on dry curing and also cold smoking, for longer storage than brine cures and hot smoking.  You still had to keep it cool, but not as cold as the hot smoked meats.
 
pollinator
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I do not like electric use, but I do not like the loss of quality with salt drying... Any information about nutrient loss? Salt make a lot of juices come out, thus precious minerals, at least.

Another question:
What is the max air humidity that can be tolerated to dry cure? Here we often have 70 to 90 %, and thus drying was not done (ot is often a mountain zone activity!), but keeping in salt was. As most wet areas are near the sea, all this seem to follow a nice logic!
 
Kate Downham
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Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. I have reserved the river cottage book at the library, and will read that other book as well.

Bacon curing was often traditionally done late in autumn, once the weather has cooled down - we try to make sure it all stays below 10c (50f). At that time of year here it's quite humid, but we had no trouble dry curing speck and prosciutto. We started with a layer of salt in a tub, then meat, then salt to cover, more meat, more salt, and adding salt to the top, making sure no bits if meat are touching. Then we put the lids on the tubs and angled them up slightly so the moisture could drain to one side.

Once they'd been cold smoked, we stored them in an unheated room that doesn't get much sun. In dryish, cold weather I open the window to get airflow in, but this was done mainly to help the sausages dry. The speck just hung there for 10 months, getting smaller all the time from us eating it, showing no signs of spoiling, even though some late summer days in that room it was hot enough to melt butter.

Many people relied on salted pork stored like this as a staple food in the past, I wonder if there's any historical sources that go into detail about how each part of the pig was treated?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I have read once that it was the best way to prepare pig meat anyway, because the meat is actually fermented. They had found out that fresh pork meat was likely in the majority of humans, to aggregate platelets. It was interesting to read an explanation of both the traditional way of preparing pig before eating, and the ban on pork eating in several cultures. For fresh meat, it is still possible to treat it before hand, by letting them in vinegar before cooking.
 
Kate Downham
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Interesting thoughts!

If we think back to before freezers were invented, fresh pork would have been a rarer part of the diet - only eaten quite soon after the slaughter, because pork starts to deteriorate pretty quickly, where as red meat can be hung for longer.

Fresh pork might have been more of a seasonal thing too - pigs for meat are best raised when there’s a lot of excess stuff to feed them, especially windfall apples, acorns, whey, skim milk and so on, and these things are most abundant in autumn.

I think there is a lot of anti-pig bias out there, and it’s also hard to do accurate studies as I think ancestry would influence how someone’s body processes different meats - If their ancestors were from cultures that ate a lot of pork, I think they would do better on it than people who don’t have a history of eating it. It would be interesting to see tests done on this, but I also wonder if there are other things that affect it, such as whether the person has a more active lifestyle, or is sedentary.

I used to treat fresh pork with vinegar when I first read the stuff on the WAPF website, but these days I don’t bother, as it browns better and tastes better without the vinegar, and also because I don’t really like to put the effort into raising and butchering an animal and then have a feeling that the meat is not good to eat!
 
pollinator
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Browse through this English forum. You will find some recipes
http://wedlinydomowe.pl/en/

Also this book
51j-2SGiM9L._SX331_BO1-204-203-200_.jpg
[Thumbnail for 51j-2SGiM9L._SX331_BO1-204-203-200_.jpg]
Marianski book
 
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How do you preserve bacon without salt? Love bacon but can't have the salt, heart problem and all.
 
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Can definitely recommend River Cottage Handbook No:13 Curing & Smoking. The author is a gentleman called Steve Lamb, who is a master of the 'dark arts' of charcuterie. Entertaining writer and speaker/demonstrator who definitely knows a good piece of bacon. Hugh FW has performed a great service to the bacon eaters world by encouraging Mr. Lamb in his endeavours. Going to have a bacon sandwich now!
 
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Nice tips.
 
Kate Downham
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Nick Mason wrote:Can definitely recommend River Cottage Handbook No:13 Curing & Smoking. The author is a gentleman called Steve Lamb, who is a master of the 'dark arts' of charcuterie. Entertaining writer and speaker/demonstrator who definitely knows a good piece of bacon. Hugh FW has performed a great service to the bacon eaters world by encouraging Mr. Lamb in his endeavours. Going to have a bacon sandwich now!



Thank you. I will have to check that one out. I have their pigs and pork handbook which has been very useful.
 
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