People food for thought Part XVII; DIY Bacon

 In the previous entry titled “People food for thought Part VII;Cold cut meat“, I wrote that some
of the cold cut meats such as bacon, salami, bologna, hot dogs, sausage and processed deli or luncheon meat contains chemicals and preservatives to keep the
appearance of the products attractive to customers or to have longer
shelf life.

 I also wrote that Sandwiches
with cold cut/deli meat are tasty but, eating such sandwich frequently would not be good for your health.

 The reason why is that cold
cut meats are cured with salt, and it contains high amount of sodium;the processed cold cut meats contains 4 times more sodium and 50% more nitrate preservatives, which is known to cause health risk such as cancer, than unprocessed red meat.

 High amount of sodium increase the blood pressure and it can causes 
heart problem,too.

 Preservatives
such as Sodium nitrite,sodium nitrate,BHT/BHA are used widely in
processed food from canned soup to frozen pizza,not just processed deli
meat/cold cut meat, and it is best if you could make your own bacon, soup,pizza with fresh ingredients at home.

 That way,you can eliminate all those preservatives,additives etc.. that you consume via processed food plus you will have tastier food on the table.

Make your own Bacon at home..

 Recently, I came across very interesting DIY Bacon article written by Alison Ladman. You would be surprised to read “DIY Bacon” because myself included, I did not think about making own Bacon at home.

 Bacon is king of the processed food,and many people loves Bacon. Our stumpy little Corgi does this cute little ballet dancing for pinky nail sized bacon bits by twirling,twirling standing up with stumpy paws.

 However, when you flip the Bacon package over, you will read the ingredient list; Cured with water,salt,sugar,sodium phosphate, sodium ascorbate, and sodium nitrite.

 You will see 3 kinds of preservatives/additives there. From sound of it, you could guess all are related to salt, but what are they really? What for they are there in the processed food products like Bacon?

 According to southern Indiana butcher shop website, and live strong website, total health breakthrough website,preservatives/additives in the processed meat products has its own purpose.

** Sodium phosphate; this is preservatives, and it is there to retain moisture,preserve the color, and to give the products tenderness. Also, it helps prevent the fat from becoming rancid.

** Sodium nitrite; this is preservative and its purpose is to fixate the color,and to prevent rancidity,and to prevent the growth of microorganism in the processed meat products.

** Sodium ascorbate; this is food additive, and if you are into canning, or preserving food such as dehydrating sliced apples,you maybe able to guess what it is for. This is vitamin C combined with sodium, and keep the color from changing.

 By adding sodium ascorbate, it keep the red color of the meat from turning greyish color.

 As you know, apple turns brown if you cut into half and let it sit on the counter a while. Vitamin C prevents the color change caused by oxidation.

 You can read more on food preservatives used in processed meat products at southern Indiana butcher shop website here.

 You can read more on sodium ascorbate in the processed food at livestrong website here.

 You can read more on nitrite in the processed food at total health breakthrough website here.

 Now you know why processed food like Bacon is high in sodium. Salt is used to cure the meat, and then, products are preserved with preservatives/food additives that was combined with sodium..

 If you make your own Bacon, it will be less salt,without harmful preservatives/food additives, and I thought it would taste better.

 According to Alison Ladman, Bacon is made from Pork belly, and purchasing the fresh,uncured pork belly might be the hardest part of “DIY Bacon”.

 She suggests to ask the meat guy at grocery stores,or try butcher shops. Then, she suggests to ask the butchers to trim the skin from pork belly if the pork belly comes with skin.

 After getting the pork belly, it will take one week with 30 minutes active time. It looks so easy to make,and if you could get the fresh uncured pork belly,I think you would give it a try and see if you like homemade Bacon.

 Since it was so interesting subject, I decided to try out on my own and show you step by step pictures so you can visualize what you would expect it to happen.

 Now, pork belly. If you live in VA, one place you can get is butcher shop called “Olde Towne butcher” ,located in down town Fredericksburg,VA. That is where I have got the pork belly to make bacon.

Pork belly..

 It was quite interesting shop. They have got nicely trimmed,beautiful Angus beef steaks, interesting sausage, yogurt made from grass-fed beef,very plump and huge black berries,fresh eggs,blue berry sodas… They even got a sign that said they will take an order for a whole pig. They also offer sea food and a while back, they were offering wild caught shrimp and Tuna from NC,too.

 The shop is located along side the street,and they do not have their own parking lot. Therefore, you would need to find the place to park the car on the street.

 Below is the recipe from the article written by Alison Ladman. Alison’s method is dry cure method,and I used pyrux 9″x13″ casserole dish.

** I wanted to try out dry cure method and wet cure method so, I have bought 2 lb pork belly, and used half for dry cure method,half for wet cure method.

DIY Bacon.. (Dry cure version)

1. Mix 2C Kosher salt,2C brown sugar, 1 tbs ground black pepper, and additional seasoning if you prefer.

Dry cure mixture..

** With pyrux 13″x9″ casserole dish,even if I used half the amount of pork belly called for in the recipe,cure amount did NOT need to scale down.

2. Find the container that pork belly can fit in with 1″-2″ spaces all sides

3. Pour half the seasoning mixture onto container where you will  put the pork belly in,and level it out

4. Set the pork belly on

5. Pour rest of the seasoning mix over and press firmly

DIY Bacon dry cure method before going in to fridge..

6. Refrigerate,uncovered for 6-7 days

After 7 days later,before being washed under cold water..

7. Remove from seasoning mixture, discard the seasoning mixture,and rinse it under cold water,and pat it dry with paper towel

After being washed under the cold water..

** After 7 days later, dry cure mixture gets harden up,and bottom of the cure gets wet look..

** Before slicing and bagging Bacon up, cut the edge off (edge is the saltiest part,so do not use the edge for taste testing for saltiness),and slice thin, and cook up the Bacon on the skillet to test the saltiness.

To cook the Homemade Bacon on the skillet,start with skillet not heated up.Just place a tiny piece and set the heat to medium heat and cook Bacon up and see if it is too salty.

8. Pour water into a bowl or casserole enough to cover bacon (pork belly) and put saran on,and soak in the water for 1 hour in the fridge.

** Mine with dry cure method,wet cure method,both tasted quite salty with just rinsed under the cold water,so, both needed to be soaked in the water in the fridge.

9. Slice bacon and freeze them up to 3 months.

DIY Dry cured Bacon..

 To read the full article by Alison Ladman,please click here.

** Dry cured Bacon cooked up quite crispy,and we loved them. It tasted like generic Bacon. I am happy with the result!
 
 Technically, by definition, if we did not smoke the cured pork belly,it is Italian Bacon “Pancetta”. To make a real American bacon,we must smoke the cured pork belly in smoker,but I did not notice much difference between store bought American bacon and DIY dry cured Bacon.
 
 I looked around and read other recipes as well to make homemade Bacon after reading about the homemade bacon in the article. Then,I noticed there are two ways to make it.

 One way is to make with rubs (dry cure method like above), and the other way is to submerge the meat into brine just like you do with Turkey (wet method).

 Also, I have noticed that some recipes instruct you to rub the seasoning mixture onto pork belly and bag them up in the zip bag and flip it over once a day for 7 days.

 That being said, I came across youtube video on how to make your own Bacon at home. The recipe used in the video use zip bag to keep the pork belly with rubs,and it instruct you to flip it over once a day.

 This method is the wet cure method I have tried, but cure mixture measurement is not exactly the same with the youtube video you find below.

 Before showing you the youtube video I came across, here is a recipe for DIY Bacon wet method version I have adapted from youtube video below.

DIY Bacon.. (Wet cure version)

1. Mix 1/2C Kosher salt,3/8C brown sugar, 3 tbs pure maple syrup.

** My favorite brand of maple syrup is Maple grove farms pure maple syrup. It got no preservatives and, no artificial flavors or corn syrup in it.It just tastes great.

Wet method cure mixture..

** This cure mixture will turn to liquid later..

2. To 1 lb of fresh uncured pork belly, rub the wet mixture in,making sure all sides are covered with cure.

DIY Bacon wet cure method before being put in the freezer bag..

3. Put the wet cure covered pork belly into a freezer bag,and set it on the sheet pan that fit the belly in,and put the bag in the fridge.



DIY Bacon wet cure method before going in to fridge..

** Make sure to put the date on the bag so you know when to pull out from the cure mixture

4. Every day, when you wake up in the morning, flip the bag over for 7 days

5. After 7 days later, pull it out from the fridge

The wet cure will be looking like brine..

6.Remove from wet cure mixture, discard the cure mixture,and rinse it under cold water,and pat it dry with paper towel

After being washed under the cold water..

** After 7 days later, wet cure mixture turns to all liquid

** Before slicing and bagging Bacon up, cut the edge off (edge is the
saltiest part,so do not use the edge for taste testing for
saltiness),and make another slice, and cook up the Bacon on the skillet to test
the saltiness.

To cook the Homemade Bacon on the skillet,start with skillet not heated
up.Just place a tiny piece and set the heat to medium heat and cook
Bacon up gently and see if it is too salty.

7. Pour water into a bowl or casserole enough to cover bacon (pork
belly) and put saran on,and soak in the water for 1 hour in the fridge.

** Mine with dry cure method,wet cure
method,both tasted quite salty with just rinsed under the cold water,so,
both needed to be soaked in the water in the fridge.

8. Slice bacon and freeze them up to 3 months.

DIY Wet cured Bacon..

** DIY Wet cured Bacon came out quite flavorful although it did not get as crispy as dry cured bacon. With flavor in mind, we like wet method bacon,but texture in mind,we like dry cured Bacon.

How to make Bacon at home Part I


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How to make Bacon at home Part II


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How to make Bacon at home Part III


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 With the freezer bag wet cure method, I noticed that some recipes call for pink salt,which is dyed salt so people would not make mistake with regular salt.

 This pink salt contains sodium nitrate (preservative I have talked about above), and it keeps meat color fixed and inhibit the growth of microorganism.

 I have to say “What is the point of making Bacon on your own at home if you use the pink salt and bring nitrite back into the cure mixture?”

 At home, Bacon will be disappeared with quite fast pace, and it gets kept in freezer as soon as it was made and,it really do not need something like preservatives that gives us long shelf life.

 For long shelf life purpose, many bacon manufacturers use nitrite as one of preservatives, but I recently found one company that use no preservatives in their Bacon.

 If you were looking for more natural Bacon without preservatives, you may like Benton’s Bacon made in TN,USA. Their picture package shows ingredients brown sugar,salt,and black pepper. Drawback is price. It is quite pricy..

 To visit Benton’s,please click here
 
 You will find that when you cook DIY Bacon, it does not emit as much liquid as it would with store bought Bacon.

 After a little bit of taste test, we made burger using the DIY Bacon that day.We enjoyed the dinner very much.Everything on the plate was made from scratch including onion rolls..

Onion roll bun with beef burger Pattie,caramelized onion,with crispy bacon.

Side is crispy oven baked rosemary red potatoes..
 

I want one too! – Palette

Palette and DIY Bacon

 
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 As you can see,DIY Bacon was approved by Palette the Corgi with 5 paws up!!

 Palette got so excited with endless drool,and bubbles around her mouth and it was funny watching her reaction. I have given tiny tiny morsel of store bought Bacon to her in the past,but I am thinking that she was more excited for the DIY Bacon.

Enjoy!

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Aug 04, 2011 | 0 | Uncategorized

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