Dry Curing Bacon

To make your own bacon see my Dry Cured Bacon - Tutorial.

There are many ways to preserve bacon but for good British Bacon you can't beat dry curing.

No white sludge in the pan – fried not poached – crispy if you like it – juicy if you don't – what could be finer?

There are two ways of dry curing. The first, where you make a cure and put the meat in it for a given length of time for the correct saltiness, and the way which I use, where you calculate the amount of salt and curing agent to use so that, within reason, it doesn't matter if you cure it for too long as there are only sufficient ingredients to give an correctly cured bacon.

A word of warning: curing salts whether they are saltpetre or modern sodium nitrite cures are dangerous things so follow any curing instructions carefully. It is also best to avoid cures in older books as the acceptable chemical levels for safe curing have reduced over the years. An accurate set of scales is required. If your cure 1 / Prague Powder is not from Sausagemaking.org, please read this first.

You may wish to read this post about equipment and ingredients before you start.

I am making streaky bacon using belly pork from Heath Farm.

The Cure
For each kilogram of belly pork with the skin on you need:
15g Salt
10g Sugar
2.5g Sausagemaking.org's Cure 1 ( Prague Powder 1)
0.55g Sodium ascorbate or sodium erythorbate (isoascorbate) – Vitamin C salts.

For other meat amounts this cure must be used on a strictly pro-rata basis. One piece of my meat weighed 1273g so I used 19.1g salt, 12.73 sugar, 3.18g cure and 0.7g Sodium ascorbate

I rubbed 90% of this mix into the meat side of the pork and the other 10% into the skin. Rub it well in and get into all the cracks and crevises. I used demerara sugar this time and put a sprinkle of black pepper and dried thyme onto the meat before putting it in a plastic food bag in the fridge. I will turn it over every day for 5-7 days. Then wash it in cold water, and put it in the fridge to dry out for a couple of days. I generally then slice it, vac pack and freeze it. If making small quantities, it's likely to be eaten before you can do this.

This cure will give bacon with 1.74% salt and 1% sugar. The ingoing amounts of Nitrites are 147 parts per million (PPM) and 550 PPM Vit C salts. This meets both British (EU) and US standards.

Before using this cure, if you have any doubts about what to do, use the contact form and ask. I would rather answer, what may seem trivial, questions about it, than anyone get it wrong.

Dry Cured Bacon - Part 2 - 7 Days On

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There are thirteen comments


Hi i think i will have a go this weekend but what are Vitamin C salts.

hotgoblin, - 22-04-’10 18:05
Philip Hardy

Just wondered if you have a nitrite free method I could use for a dry cured bacon?

Philip Hardy, (Email ) - 05-10-’10 21:18

hey Phil, I just got done sampling your basic cure on a pork belly and it was superb. I cut a 4.5 Kg belly in thirds and did your basic cure on one, a course ground black pepper rub on the second, and the last one I’m going to try Brican’s maple sugar rub and let it set for another week. The first two I smoked with hickory, Roberts I’ll be doing this friday with maple smoke.
Thanks again for the great site you have here.

DanMcG, (Email ) - 12-10-’10 23:07

I’m glad you like it Dan

Phil, (Email ) (URL) - 14-10-’10 14:50
Gordon Wells

Most informative site but may I ask if sausagemakers.org
all purpose curing powder should be used without the addition of extra salt. I propose to add sugar and sodium
ascorbate in the proportions recommended but I’m unsure
if I need to add additional salt. Advice would be most
gratefully received.
Regards, Gordon

Gordon Wells, (Email ) - 08-12-’10 15:40

I believe that the all purpose curing powder is a direct replacement for salt. However, I do not know it’s make up so you may like to check with sausagemaking.org.

Phil, (Email ) (URL) - 08-12-’10 16:01

just sampled first batch at one week and was great but only half cured. Washed, re-salted and put back in bag. Any way of speeding up curing? No rush but most people seem to manage with seven days. Jon.
ps. curing some Chinese (bacon and sausage) at same time.

jon, (Email ) - 05-01-’11 15:01


I cannot understand why the meat is only half cured after 7 days.

Can you be more specific about the weight and cut of meat and exactly what amounts of the cure ingredients that you put on it. Most meat done in this cure will be fully cured in far less than 7 days.

It has been used by hundreds of people as it is the basic cure in the tutorial on a major forum. I’m just wondering what can have gone wrong with yours.

If you’d rather, please email me full details of what you did to info@localfoodheroes.co.uk

Phil, (Email ) (URL) - 05-01-’11 19:22
Johnny C

Hi Phil
How do you make black bacon? I know it’s by adding black treacle, but how do you do it? Coat with the cure, then smear in black treacle and leave for a week, or do you let it cure for a week, then coat in black treacle and let it cure in that for another week?

Interesting about the nitrites; I don’t supposen you know how they make the Fermanagh black bacon? It’s cured for 3 months and ‘nitrite free’ that’s all I know – but they may use celery juice or similar.

Johnny C, (Email ) - 16-03-’11 12:55

You can use treacle or molasses instead of sugar in this cure. Use more though as it has a lesser sugar content.

Most black bacon though would use a brine cure at some stage. It may be a dry cure followed by a brine or just a brine cure as in my version of black ham.

I’ve read about the Fermanagh bacon and got the impression that it didn’t just omit the cure as some (mainly home- curers) do, rather it replaced it with something else. Regrettably, I don’t know more about it.

Phil, (Email ) (URL) - 16-03-’11 20:29

hi i.m in the process of curing some bacon, but i have 2 nice legs of pig i want to cure for xmas, would you recommend dry or wet curing and what would be your favorite cure recipe, thanks in advance..

jon, - 13-11-’14 13:51

Hi Jon
For full legs, on the bone, I’d use the recipe for Pauline’s Ham:

For smaller pieces (such as Individual muscles) I’ve been using an immersion cure similar to the Cider and Black Ham cures, but with a more ‘basic’ flavour. I’ve yet to put it online as I’ve only used it 5 or 6 times, all on similar sized pieces of meat. I like to test things more thoroughly before posting them.

If I didn’t use the Pauline’s Ham recipe, I’d go for the combination cure (injection & dry-cure) on the sausagemaking forum. Either the 6% injection here: http://forum.sausagemaking.org/viewtopic.. or the one in the tutorial here: http://forum.sausagemaking.org/viewtopic..

Please note that the one in the tutorial can also be made without saltpetre – use the calculator that includes Cure#1 and just omit the saltpetre.

I hope this helps

Phil, - 14-11-’14 16:55

thanks will have a go now, cheers

jon, - 15-11-’14 13:47

I'm somewhat incapacitated at present so replies may take some time. Please post urgent enquiries at the www.sausagemaking.org forum.

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