Posted on August 23 2021


Cook and food writer, Ed Smith gives his fail-safe recipe for homemade bacon.


To get started making your own bacon you will need to buy specialist cure #1 from Weschenfelder (this is a mix of salt and sodium-nitrite, made for bacon). They also sell various pre-mixed bacon cures; however this method gives you the bones of the traditional “4%” bacon cure.


- 1kg pork belly (buy the best quality you can afford, deboned, skin trimmed with plenty of fat remaining)

- 50g curing mix (comprised of 35g flaky sea salt, 5g Cure #1; 10g soft, dark brown sugar)

- Aromatics - 1 tbsp coarse ground pepper corns, 1 tbsp dried chilli flakes (or thyme / rosemary / fennel seeds / coriander seeds / lime orange zest; treacle, maple syrup)


    Combine all the curing mix ingredients and aromatics in a flat dish with a rim that will fit the piece of pork – a roasting tray or similar. Drop the pork in and roll it around the cure, sprinkling and rubbing that in until covered. 

    Transfer the pork and cure to a ziplock bag, push the air out and seal. Put that in a container (in case of leakage) and refrigerate.

    Turn and massage the bag of pork every day for 4 days, ensuring the cure and then brine (lots of moisture will come out) is evenly distributed.

    After 4 days, remove the pork, rinse under a cold running tap and pat dry. If you have the luxury of a spacious fridge, tie with string and hang with a drip tray underneath; or leave on a trivet sat on a plate, turning 2-3 a day. Either way, do that for 4-5 days, uncovered.

    Keep wrapped in muslin when not using it. Slice as much as you can for bacon, as and when you want it. When that gets tricky, cube and use as lardons. 


    Ed Smith is a cook and food writer based in London. His latest cookbook is Crave; recipes arranged by flavour to suit your mood and appetite. Find him on Instagram @rocketandsquash.

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