Maple, juniper berry and nutmeg cured bacon

I think I found one of the best mix of flavours for my bacon with this recipe.  In addition to using the standard cure, I added maple syrup, juniper berry and nutmeg (details below).  The bacon below was slow cooked in a pan before resting on some paper towel.

IMG_0565

 

For the pork belly, leave the skin on.  I always get a 1.5-2 kg (3-4 lb) piece.  In addition to the basic cure, which I add 20 g per kg (9-10 g per lb), add 0.5 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup juniper berries crushed slightly, and 1 whole nutmeg ground (about 2 tsp).  Mix all the cure ingredients and mix with the belly in a non-reactive container (I use zip bags), and let sit in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, depending on the size and thickness of the belly (the belly will become firm to the touch when ready).  Wash the belly, dry with a towel, and roast in the oven at 95 C (200 F) for about 1.5 h, until the internal temperature of the belly reaches 68 C (155 F).  The same can be achieved with a smoker (but I don’t have one, yet).  Remove from the oven, let cool, remove the skin, and store the bacon for up to 7-10 days in the fridge.

 

The basic cure

To make a stock of the basic cure, mix the following together:

454 g (1 lb) sea salt

227 g (1/2 lb) sugar

50 g (10 tsp) pink salt

*pink salt can be bought online or from specialty cooking stores (it’s sea salt with approximately 6.5% sodium nitrate)

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