Dry curing bacon at home

A step by step guide

This guide will give you all the details you need to know about dry curing your own bacon at home. A few things should be taken into account before we begin. When curing meat at home, we are working with a raw food product to start, and a cured and cooked food product to finish. To avoid any contaminations or spoiling of your finished product, make sure to always be working with clean hands, and in a hygienic and food safe work area.


Ingredients and essential items:

  • Pork belly or loin, preferably with skin removed. Belly will make streaky/American style bacon, whereas loin will make short cut style bacon

  • ‘Bulletproof’ Bacon Dry Cure Mix

  • Snap lock bag, or vacuum seal bag

  • Smoker (any sort) or oven

  • Meat thermometer



Step 1:

Trim the pork of any small thing pieces, or excess skin or fat. Once you have trimmed to your satisfaction, weigh the pork belly.
Hint: at this point, you may want to consider the size plastic bag you are using, and if your piece of pork is too large for your bag, you can just divide it in to multiple pieces and cure in separate bags.


Step 2:

Weigh out your Bulletproof bacon dry cure mix. You will need 75g of the mix for every 1kg of pork.

E.g: a 1.6kg piece of pork belly will need 120g of mix (1.6 x 75 = 120). Now apply the mix to your pork. Sprinkle it on and then pat it down and try to get an even coverage over every surface of the meat. The mix should stick to the surface of the pork fairly well, but if some does fall off make sure to keep it to add to the bag.


Step 3:

Place your pork that is covered in the mix into a plastic sealable bag or vacuum seal bag. Any of the mix that has fallen off or not stayed on the meat should be retained and then added to the bag after putting in the pork. If using a plastic sealable bag, squeeze as much air out as possible and then seal. If using a vacuum seal bag just seal as usual with a vacuum sealer.

Hint: after only a short time in the bag the ‘dry’ cure will form a solution around the pork as the salt in the cure draws out moisture from the meat.


Step 4:

Once your pork is in its sealed bag place it in the refrigerator. You need to let the pork cure for at least 5 days or at least a day per 500g of meat, whichever is longer.

E.g: a 2kg piece of pork needs 5 days to cure (2kg/500g = 4 days, so default to 5), or, a 3kg piece of pork needs 6 days to cure (3kg/500g = 6, so it will need 6 days).

Once every day, turn your pork over to make sure the cure mixture in the bag is covering the meat evenly.


Step 5:

After your curing time in the refrigerator has concluded, remove the pork from the plastic bag. You need to now rinse the outside of the pork thoroughly. Once rinsed, dry it with paper towel and put it back in to the refrigerator, uncovered, for at least 2 to 24hrs.

Hint: this step allows a ‘pellicle’ to develop over the outside of the pork as it dries out. This will result in a better flavour during the smoking process as smoke particles will adhere to the pork better with good pellicle development. Sitting the pork on a cake cooling rack in the fridge is ideal for drying and air flow.


Step 6:

To finish the curing process, the pork must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 63c/145f. This is ideally done in a smoker; you can use any type. You can also finish the process in the oven, but this will not impart any smoke flavour. Set the temperature of your smoker to around 110c/230f and let the pork come up to internal temperature slowly; this allows for a good amount of time to get a nice smoked finish.

Hint: once the pork reaches internal temperature, immediately relocate it to the refrigerator. This will stop the cooking process quicker and make sure you don’t overcook your pork bacon.


Step 7:

Let the pork cool, ideally overnight, and then slice your bacon. You can slice as thin or thick as you like. A meat slicer is a fantastic piece of equipment to have, but you can also slice with a nice sharp knife carefully by hand. Cook your bacon and enjoy!


Keeping your bacon:

Your smoked bacon will last in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks if kept in a sealed container. If you want to do large lots of bacon to keep for a long time, the best option is to slice the bacon first, sealed it into bags, and then keep it in the freezer if you don’t plan to eat it within 2 weeks. Thin packs of bacon take next to no time to thaw out, so freezing is the perfect option and is still convenient.


Different bacon options:
You can use ‘Bulletproof’ as a base cure mix to make all sorts of different bacon variations.
Maple Bacon: simply add 15ml per 1kg of pork to the bag after you add the ‘Bulletproof’ dry cure mix. Or, you can simply glaze your bacon during the smoking process for the last 10-15 minutes of the cook, brushing with maple syrup.

Coffee Bacon: you can impart a coffee flavour to your bacon by either adding 15ml cold espresso coffee, or 5g of ground coffee beans to the bag after you add the ‘Bulletproof’ dry cure mix.

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