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Friday, December 27, 2013

How to Cure Your Own Delicious Bacon - Finale!!

Ready for the smoker!
See, that didn't take long, nor that much effort, now did it?  A few minutes a day and a little monitoring of temperature on the last day when you smoked or oven roasted the bacon!!

And the results? A-MAZING!  (and a heck of a lot cheaper than the nitrate-laden offerings in the store!)  We enjoyed our Mexican-inspired bacon on Christmas morning and will be eating BLT's with our cracked black pepper version with tomatoes and avocados tomorrow.  We've taste tested all three varieties and are struggling to pick a favorite.  YUM!!

As I mentioned in the how-to for curing bacon ( http://blog.mylittleprairiehome.com/2013/12/how-to-home-cure-your-own-bacon.html ), you can go wild in your choices of seasonings. I'm already itching to try a rosemary and garlic blend on the next go. . .savory cures are starting to really draw me.  But first, I have to rest, chill, slice and freeze this batch.

Oven roasted and re-dusted in spices!
Before now, I have always smoked my bacon rather than oven roasting. . .the black pepper and the brown sugar/maple slabs are in the smoker as we speak, as a matter of fact.  (I'm using Applewood chips this time) But the Mexican flavored option definitely did better in the oven instead, where the smoke couldn't overwhelm the gorgeous complex flavors we had built up in the cure.

All of the options came out beautifully flavorful, unique and well worth the effort.  That it is also much better for you (I sound like a recording on this issue, but nitrates are not good!) and much, much cheaper than store bought.

I think I may head back to the butcher tomorrow!

NOTE:  If this is your first try at curing bacon, be careful of salt overload.  The first day, you need to work a decent amount in all over your slab, but after that, you really are just sprinkling more on.  Each day, your bacon will get saltier and firmer, so keep that in mind as you decide how many days to 'cure' your bacon.  If you find you have over salted your bacon (you can cut off a small piece after thoroughly rinsing and air drying and fry it up), you can soak in water for an hour or two, then re-test.  Do this BEFORE smoking, as the soaking will remove some of the flavor you have built up as well as the salt, and you don't want to lose the smoke flavor too.

Brown sugar/maple, just smoked
Just out of the smoker

Sliced and ready to go!

Ready for the freezer
Slicing the black pepper version
Getting wrapped

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