Right - Back to the task in hand. Commercial cure firmly pushed to the back of the cupboard. This weekend I an putting the last batch of bacon into the smoker and have bought another 6.5 Kg (14.3 Pounds) of bacon to start the next cure, This batch consists of 3 Kg belly pork (streaky bacon) and 3.5 Kg pork loin (back bacon). I am going to split each batch into 3 and vary the salt content of each cure. Two of each batch will be 2.5% salt and the other will be 2%.
Final update on this thread I think
The 2.5% and 2% salt were finished over the weekend and so the blind tasting began. Chef friends as the guinea pigs again.
From left to right 3%, 4% salt (with 180 Ppm Nitrite) and 5% salt with 220 Ppm Nitrite. The 3% and 4% are my own cures but the 5% is a commercial bought cure used as directed!
From left to right 2.5% and 2% salt - my own cure.
The results of the blind tasting were:
- 5% salt (commercial cure) - far too salty to eat as bacon. The general opinion though was that it would be good as lardons.
- 4% salt - Was favoured by one person although most found it too salty.
- 3% and 2.5% salt - These were the preferred cures with most giving them equal weightings.
- 2% salt - This was liked by all however it was thought to have a less "rounded" bacon flavour.
An interesting exercise that I found very worthwhile, and based upon these tests my future batches will standardise on 2.5% salt. They are not only one of the healthier cures (from a salt perspective), but it was also the one that I personally preferred.
It was also somewhat of a surprise to discover exactly what was in the commercial cure and I have learned from this not to assume that the supplier recommendations should be followed without question.