Curing your own pork is a great way to control preservation and give it a personalized taste. Choose a cut to cure and then choose to season it dry or in a brine. In the first method, you will need salt and seasoning. In the second, the meat must be soaked in a seasoned brine. Allow the pork to cure for several days before cooking the meat.
Dry cured pork belly
- 2, 5 kg of pork belly.
- 1/4 cup (75 g) of coarse salt.
- 2 teaspoons (10 g) of pink healing salt (also called Insta-Cure).
- 4 tablespoons (30 g) of coarsely ground black pepper.
- 4 crushed bay leaves.
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) of grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup (50 g) brown sugar, honey or maple syrup.
- 5 crushed garlic cloves.
- 2 tablespoons (9 g) of lightly crushed juniper berries.
- 10 sprigs of fresh thyme.
Serves 2.5 kg of pork belly.
Pork loin or shoulder cured in brine
- 9, 5 l of water.
- 1 cup (275 g) of non-iodized salt.
- 3/4 cup (150 g) of sugar.
- 2 bay leaves.
- 2 to 3 whole peppercorns.
- 1 clove.
- 6 allspice grains.
- 2 small dehydrated chili peppers.
- 3 cloves of peeled garlic.
- 1 tablespoon (4 g) of dehydrated thyme.
- 1.5 kg of boneless pork loin or shoulder.
Serves 1.5 kg of meat.
Method 1 of 2: Dry Curing a Pork Belly
Step 1. Mix the salts, pepper, bay leaves, nutmeg, sugar, garlic and juniper
In a bowl, turn ¼ cup (75 g) rock salt, two teaspoons (10 g) pink healing salt, four tablespoons (30 g) coarsely ground black pepper, four leaves of crushed bay leaf, one teaspoon (2 g) of grated nutmeg, ¼ cup (50 g) of brown sugar, five crushed garlic cloves, two tablespoons (9 g) of lightly crushed juniper berries and ten fresh thyme sprigs and mix.
Brown sugar can be substituted for honey or maple syrup if you prefer
Step 2. Place a ramekin into a larger container
Set aside a non-reactive container large enough for the pork belly and place a small ramekin upside down inside it.
- You can use a plastic, glass or lacquer container. However, avoid metallic containers, which can affect the flavor of the meat.
- When you put the meat in the ramekin, it will start to leak. The ramekin will prevent the pig from curing in its own juice.
Step 3. Cover the 2.5 kg belly well with the mixed spices
Place the pork belly on a plate or cutting board and spread the dry mixture over it. With your hands, rub the seasonings well on all sides of the meat.
Step 4. Place the pork belly into the container and cover
Place it in the container so that it rests on the ramekin upside down. Then cap the container.
Step 5. Refrigerate the meat for a week and turn it every other day
Place the container in the refrigerator and allow the meat to cure inside. Every other day, take it out of the fridge and turn it over. Then put it back. Do this for a week.
Step 6. Take the meat out of the fridge and wash it to get rid of the cure
After a week, take the pork belly out of the fridge. Wash it in cold water to remove the cure and dry it well with a paper towel.
Step 7. Wrap the meat in muslin and let it hang for at least a week
Place the dried pork belly into a muslin bag closed with a knot. Thread a hook through the knot and hang the meat in a dry, airy place. Leave it there for a week.
Skip this step if you're in a hurry, but remember that the longer the meat is cured, the more intense the flavor will be
Step 8. Slice and heat the meat
Cut the pork belly into slices as thick as you like and fry it, bake it, cook it or broil it until it's just right. For example, you can cut the meat into 0.5 cm thick slices and fry them for seven to eight minutes to make crispy bacon.
Store raw cured meat in the refrigerator, in a covered container, for a maximum of one week
Method 2 of 2: Curing Pork Loin or Shoulder in Brine
Step 1. In a large pot, place the water, sugar and salt
Place a non-reactive pot on the fire and fill it with 9,5 l of water. Add a cup (275 g) of non-iodized salt and ¾ cup (150 g) of sugar and stir until dissolved.
Step 2. Add bay leaves, peppers, cloves, garlic and thyme
Gently crush two bay leaves and place them in the pan along with two or three peppercorns, one clove, six allspice grains, two small dehydrated chili peppers, three peeled garlic cloves and one tablespoon (4 g) of dehydrated thyme.
Step 3. Place the meat in the pan and weight it with a plate
Put 1.5 kg of boneless pork loin or shoulder in the brine. Then place a plate over the meat to push it to the bottom of the pan.
To cure, the meat must be completely submerged
Step 4. Cover and refrigerate the meat for five days
Cover the pan or cover it with a tight layer of plastic-film and refrigerate it to cure the meat.
To cure pork ribs and other smaller cuts of pork, leave the meat in brine for only two or three days
Step 5. Take the meat out of the fridge and dry it well
Remove the pan from the refrigerator and take the loin or shoulder out of the brine. Put the meat on a plate and dry it with a paper towel.
Step 6. Cook the meat any way you like
To bake it, place it on a baking sheet and bake it at 190 °C for an hour or so. You can also grill the meat over medium heat for two and a half to three hours.
To cook the meat faster, cut it into 1 cm pieces and fry it for a few minutes on each side
- Wash your hands before and after handling raw meat.
- Cure the meat while it is still cold. Hot meat spoils faster and is more prone to bacterial growth.