With so many “things” in store bought food, the desire to grow or make more of the food on your own plate is growing for many. While lots of folks plant gardens and even some raise their own meat, not many use the age old arts of curing and smoking to preserve that meat. Which I must say is sad as these processes are not difficult. And while it may take some time to do, it doesn’t take very much attention!
We like to get our pork from local growers, as we are not zoned to have piggies in the backyard and prefer ethically raised meat. Now we could just have their processor turn the belly into bacon for us, but we like to do it ourselves. Why? Control! We know what’s in it, can manage the flavor to our liking and cut it to the thickness that suits us. I love me some butch block bacon, not that thinly sliced, mostly fat, strips of meat in the store they call bacon.
The wonderful thing about this DIY homesteading activity is that even if your like us and can’t raise your own pig, anyone can go get a pig belly to make bacon. You can source from a farmer if you have that option or for the “big city” folks, you can tap your local butcher to help hook you up. No matter where you live, you can make bacon….. Mmmmm bacon… yummy, yummy bacon! So how does one go about makin bacon? Well I am glad you asked!
We started with the belly of the pig that we got back from the butcher and a container of maple ham cure we purchased from The Sausage Maker website. They required no minimum order and have free shipping! We like free. After trimming the fat off the ends of our belly (which we used in making lard), we cut it in half so it would fit into zip lock bags. We then rubbed the soon to be bacon down on both sides with the maple ham cure we had bought. The meat was then put into zip the lock bags and spent the next week in our refrigerator. We flipped the packs over every day. So when you go to get your milk in the morning for your coffee, just flip you meat.
After a week the meat was removed from the bags and “scrubbed” down to remove the cure. Then we leeched the meat over night in water to help remove more of the salt. You do want your bacon to have salt but not too much, trust me on this. Then it was back in the fridge, this time uncovered for another 24 hours. This was to allow the meat to dry so it would be more receptive to being smoked. We then smoked the meat for about 4 hours using indirect heat. We were smoking the meat, not trying to cook it, so the temperature never went over 150 degrees. We used Hickory wood when we smoked our meat but you could use whatever wood you like.
After pulling the meat from the smoker we popped it back in the fridge for a bit. Why? Well to help it firm back up, making it easier to cut. We cut the bacon with a knife so not all the pieces were perfectly the same but I think that is the beauty of doing it yourself. It was nice to have the control over how thick the slices were. Remember, I said I liked butcher block style bacon. We are currently looking at meat cutters because if you do this more then once (and we eat a lot of bacon around here) cutting by hand can get old. I want my bacon cut faster!!!!
We divided up our bacon into family size packages and put them in the freezer. I must admit, every time I open the freezer, I do love looking at our homemade bacon. And since it is all dived into meal size packages, it is convent to grab what we need when we need it. So what are you waiting for? Don’t you want to smile every time you open your freezer?!?!
**Homestead Tips on Tuesday is a weekly series where we help you learn skills, tips, and trick to help you on your journey of homesteading. Many places post list of things you should/could do as far as homesteading skill, but I feel lists are at times overwhelming and can make people give up before they even start. So every Tuesday I share one thing for you to try or consider. I hope you join us every Tuesday and I would love to hear about your adventures with each weeks topic.**
22 thoughts on “Makin Bacon”
My late husband was going to set a up smoker… I need to get that done as I like the idea of my own bacon.
It is fun and the bacon is oh so yummy!
Opening my eyes….didn't know that bacon is from the stomach of the pig. I am so glad you enjoy making your own bacon. I think I will stick to the store bought kind. I'm not ready to deal with its stomach.
Rebecca not the stomach LOL the belly!! The section of meat that is under the pig.
You make me crazy! How do you do all this stuff?! I bet it is delicious!
How? Ummm not sure LOL It really takes very little active time… set it and forget it kind of thing.
What an awesome skill that many of us no longer have. I found you on the Homestead Blog Hop. You should link up to Mostly Homemade Mondays – I think you would fit right in!
Thanks for the invite 🙂
Mmmmmm… baaaacon! I want to do this! Thanks for the know-how!
Do it, do it, do it!!!!!
Hubby is getting a smoker for father's day and I going to have to find a pork belly!!
You go!!!!! Awesome!!!
What a great idea to make your own bacon, especially since you get to control lots more aspects of it. 🙂 Stop on by and share with us on Five Friday Finds if you get a chance!
this is so wonderful. I love bacon. But can't ave the nitrates and I think we will give this a try. Thank you for sharing your sweet blog at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop. Your participation helps to make it extra special ♥
Thanks for popping by!
Thanks for sharing on Mostly Homemade Mondays! Be sure to stop over tomorrow and link up a few more posts 🙂
Kelli @ The Sustainable Couple
I'll be there 🙂
We do love bacon around here. It never occurred to me to make it myself! Thanks so much for sharing this post at my Creative Ways Link Party!
And the funny thing it is not hard to make. Which makes me wonder why people stopped making it and started buying the cruddy store stuff! LOL
Thanks for sharing your post at the HomeAcre hop!
Bacon *drool* LOL
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