I finally cured my own bacon. I had been watching Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and one one particular episode it seemed that every episode he visited had cured their own bacon! This got me raring to try it myself.
I had found a recipe online, it was by Michael Ruhlman: http://ruhlman.com/2010/10/home-cured-bacon-2/
I found some small pork bellies at the Asian market, thawed one of them out and got out the rest of my ingredients.
The recipe is for 5 lbs of pork belly, but my pieces were 2.5 lbs each, so I had to cut the recipe in 1/2.
The first thing I did was open up my cure quick but to my surprise, it wasn't pink! I looked into it a bit more, and found that I could use the cure quick, but that I had to use a different ratio. I got the cure mixed up, rubbed onto the belly and then vac-packed and into the fridge. The recipe says to cure for seven days. So I left the bacon in the fridge for 7 days. I never opened the vac-pack, but I rubbed through the package every day.
Once I opened the pack up, I rinsed and dried the bacon and then smoked it per the recipe at about 200 degrees until the IT was 150 degrees.
I couldn't wait so I cut a chunk off and cooked it up.
The flavor was amazing, but it was completely overpowered by salt!
I figured one or two things happened, and maybe you guys can shed some light on the subject. First, while i cut the recipe in half and made sure to adjust the cure-quick amount because it wasn't pink curing salt, I didn't adjust the recipe to account for the added salt in the cure quick. Second, since I only had 2.5 lbs of pork belly, perhaps it didn't need seven days to cure, and I over-cured it.
My second pork belly is curing right now. This time I adjusted the salt in the original recipe to account for the added salt in the cure quick.
I just put it in the cure yesterday, but I'm worried that I might over-cure it if I leave it in for too long. I know one of the signs is that the meat firms up, so I'm looking for that. How else can I tell if the cure is complete?
P.S. I am still eating the first batch, I'm just using it to flavor other things rather than eating whole slices of bacon. When people talk of over-cured food being dangerous it is because of too many nitrates right? In this case it should just be too much salt, so there shouldn't be any danger in it right? I've been eating it since Friday, so I would think that any bad effects would have happened by now if they were going to.