The Mysteries of Charcuterie Unravelled: Bacon Style

Cured meat is awesome. Just ask Kevin Bacon, international advocate for bacon and other like cured meats. The state of supermarket small goods is an absolute disgrace. They are generally disgusting and awfully expensive. Particularly bad is the shit they call bacon. Grossly pink, floppy and rubbery. It is a disgrace to bacon. A similar problem is to be encountered when purchasing jerky, the stuff in a bag is a waste of time and the product available from good butchers is generally great, but laughably expensive. Try these recipes, they are easy and don’t take much time. They will store for ages and you can make as much or as little as you would like. Get on cured meat like a rash on Steve Coogan.

Beef Jerky

Jerky is ridiculously cheap and easy to make at home, and will be a million times better than that gelatinous shit they sell you in little 50g bags for five dollars. It also lasts forever. It is packed full of protein, low in fat and high in awesome. All flavourings are up to taste so use whatever you want. But keep the salt ratios the same. I’ve been meaning to use maple syrup instead of the sugar… so maybe get on that.

Recipe makes about a kilo of Jerky.

Ingredients

1.5 kg Lean cut of beef (like skirt steak)

Marinade:

1/3 cup of salt, preferably kosher.

1 teaspoon of curing salt

1/3 cup Worcestershire  sauce

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or mexican chilli

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 bay leaves crumbled up

A splash of olive oil

1 cup of water

Method

1. Cut the beef into strips roughly an inch wide

2. Mix up all the marinade ingredients in a bowl.

3. Put the beef and marinade in a sealable plastic bag and squish it all around.

4. Leave this for 24-48 hours.

5. If you have a de-hydrator, use that. Or set your oven to the lowest possible temperature and place the strips of beef on a rack with a tray underneath for drippings.

6. It will take different amounts of time depending on the oven, but between 4-8 hours. Keep checking it. When it’s firm and black but still pliable remove.

It can be stored in at room temperature for around a month, or in the fridge until the next ice age renders the fridge unnecessary.

 

Bacon – Chinese Style!

Every sane person in the world loves bacon. Apart, of course, from Jewish people and those weirdo Vegetarians (I think Vegetarians might be party to an international Scientologist conspiracy to rob the world of everything from the Beatles to cured meats). And, the chinese take on bacon is amazing and not to be missed. Again flavourings are subjective, if I had some star anise I would throw that in too.

Ingredients

1.5 kg pork belly

Cure:

1/3 cup of salt (preferably kosher)

1 1/2 teaspoons of curing salt

2 teaspoons of five spice

1/3 cup of brown sugar

1/3 cup dark soy

2 teaspoons of garlic powder

1 teaspoon Szechwan pepper

Method

1. Remove the bony undercarriage bits by slicing with a knife as close as possible to the bones. Remove the tubey things too.

2. Mix up the cure.

3. Put both in a sealable plastic bag.

4. Let this cure for around 7 days, massaging the meat through the bag every two days.

5. Set oven to warm, and gently cook for around 4 hours or until it looks juicy caramelised and amazing.

 

If your bacon looks like this, then you are doing it wrong: