Theres something irresistible about bacon.
Crispy, salty yumminess…
It sings Sunday mornings. School holidays. Summer. Family. Happiness. Freedom.
Yet the story behind bacon is not a good one. Sad, forelorn pigs locked in cages far from the open paddocks they long for. Unable to turn around. Unable to walk; let alone run. Never having felt the sun on their skins. Our world is seriously f&@# up!!
The heart of my 40 year old self skips a beat every time I walk down the smallgoods aisle of a supermarket. Past the meat section with its open fridges containing long lines of cheap factory farmed meat. The image in my mind of tortured pigs in cages in dark, cold, sterile piggeries to me are not unlike the pictures from genocide camps in WW2. I cannot, and WILL NOT ever buy this meat!!! I would rather go hungry.
Lucky for me there are choices. If you look hard enough there are options. I firmly believe that by the choices we make everyday within our food stores and our farmers markets we can change the way our food is raised. Grown. Produced. And the way the human race treats it’s animals.
This is why I choose to buy only free range, organic where possible, ethically raised and slaughtered, grass fed and finished meat. The way meat should naturally be. I don’t believe this is a financial choice only some can make. We all have options. Reduce your portion size if you need to. Buy direct from farmers at your local market and cut out the middle man. You have a choice. We all have a choice. And if you care strongly enough, like me, have the guts to stand firm on it.
My nitrate free, smoke free, ethically raised bacon
- A square piece of ethically raised, grass fed and finished pork loin or belly roughly 16cm squared; trimmed and rind scored thinly through to the fat
- 1/2 cup Himalayan or sea salt
- 1/2 cup Panela, Rapudura or coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tspn turmeric
- 1 dash of apple cider vinegar
- 1 dash of bourbon
Mix together the apple cider vinegar and bourbon I a bowl. Pour mix over the meat and rub in well, making sure it gets into the score marks in the rind. Then mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Cover the entire cut of pork with the dry mix, pushing it into every nook and cranny including the score marks. When you’re happy, place meat into a sealed container or glad bag. Place into the fridge for 3 days (longer for a bigger cut of meat). Toss and turn it everyday until it feels firmer to touch.
When cured, rinse the meat well under the cold tap and pat dry with absorbent paper. Place back into the fridge, uncovered and on a rack, for 24 hrs.
Roast slowly in the centre of your oven at 100 degrees Celsius for around 90 minutes. This is the time where you could also choose to smoke your bacon. (I choose not to due to the carcinogens found in wood smoke). Once cooked, chill again in fridge.
Slice and keep in fridge for a few days or freezer for a few months. We have bought a meat slicer from eBay as it is a much easier way to slice your bacon. We have found the best results and taste with bacon sliced in 2-3mm slices. Thick slices seem to be quite firm.