Curing Bacon

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Curing Bacon

When curing bacon, weigh the sides, hams and cheeks, and to every 14 lbs of meat allow 1 lb of salt, and 2 ounces of salt petre. Rub this into the meat thoroughly for two days, and turn the meat. At the end of the second day pour on it a pickle made as follows:

curing baconTo every 3 gallons of water add 5 pounds of common salt, 7 pounds of coarse sugar or treacle, 3 pounds of bay salt. Boil for one quarter of an hour, stirring constantly, and remove all scum as it comes to the top.

Pour the brine while it is hot over the meat. Turn the meat daily, and rub. If the meat is small, a fortnight will be long enough for it to remain in the pickle, bar the hams which should remain a little longer. Hams, sides etc., weighing 30lb a piece would require three weeks for sides and four for the hams, at least.

On taking meat out of the brine, let it drain for a couple of hours, then cover with clean dry sawdust, and smoke for a fortnight or three weeks.

Boil and skim the pickle, add 2 pounds more salt, and the same for sugar or treacle, and it will keep for months if kept airtight.

The above is a pretty simplified process. You can download for free here some great old books on slaughtering, curing, preserving and storing pork products, from scalding vat to kitchen table and dining room!

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