A friend of mine works at a slaughter house (I guess that’s what it is). Anyway, they buy, raise, and slaughter pigs. She came to me a few weeks back and wanted to know if I wanted to learn how to cure bacon with her. my response: “Heck ya I do!!”. I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out so I only got 1 13lb belly to cure (which still only cost us $12). We spent the morning curing our bellies with a salt, pepper, sugar, honey, and maple syrup mixture. Then we put them in plastic bags and they are now curing on the fridge. After 7 days i will slow cook them in the oven at 200 degrees for 90 minutes. We don’t have a smoker so i wont be smoking them, but one of the things C plans on doing with the new house is building an outdoor smoker. I was so impressed with how easy it was I decided to get a box of bellies and cure them with C next weekend. That should give us enough bacon to last us almost the year. The thing that makes me the happiest is knowing how much we saved by doing it ourselves. Once we get the farm going we only plan on having one pig so i will most likely continue to buy 1-2 boxes of bellies a year to supplement the rest of the bacon we will eat. She is also planning on doing some ham hocks in a few weeks but those take much much longer to cure. That’s about a 1-2 year process, but i figure if i do 1-2 this year then next year we can have some country ham! I am really enjoying learning to do all this on my own, and I really feel like we are on our way to the homesteading lifestyle we want.
One of the things we are missing that we will need to get soon is a meat slicer. right now we only have our somewhat sharp knife i bought about 7 years ago to slice the bacon with. We are looking at getting a somewhat small one that runs about $160-$200. I am so excited about the prospect of spending $60 for a years worth of bacon. that’s insane. and fantastic, and nitrate/ nitrite free. Come Saturday morning we should know how these wonderful pieces of bacon turned out!