Buttercross Bacon- Curing done properly
We enjoy supplying a full range of meats to chefs across the region here at Buttercross, but we deeply pride ourselves on our further produced products such as sausages, black pudding, bacon and ham. They give us the ability to take our awesome free range pork and give it a true ‘Buttercross’ identity with inventive flavours and a range of traditional techniques. One technique that often doesn’t get the credit it deserves, is dry curing bacon.
What is curing?
Curing is a process that was developed hundreds of years ago to preserve meat and fish. In it’s simplest form, it is the method of adding salt (and other flavours) to meat to draw moisture from the muscle and hinder bacterial growth. Over time there has been a variety techniques to cure meats with a range of wonderful results.
You’ll often hear people refer to poor quality bacon that has been ‘pumped full of water’. This is true to an extent and a is form of curing call ‘pump curing’. While pumping a brine solution into meat can be perfectly valid technique to produce high end products, it can be open to misuse as manufacturers add chemical ingredients to the brine that is pumped to help the meat retain water while raw. Meat that has been pumped in this way then loses all the retained water as soon as it hits the heat and you end up with a lot of shrinkage.
What do we do?
Without giving too much of our process away, we like to keep our bacon curing practices as simple and traditional as possible. We take our dry cure mixture of salt, sugar and spices and hand rub it onto each cut of pork (normally back and belly). We then vacuum pack the meat in individual packs and leave them in a dark, fridge at a constant temperature for 3-4 weeks for the magic to happen as water is drawn from the muscle and flavour is amplified. At the end of the curing process, we’re left with a bold flavoured, firm piece of bacon that tastes as good as it should. When it’s sliced and hit’s the pan, there’ll be no water loss and no shrinkage, just a perfect slice of bacon.
It’s always an interesting experiment to compare the yield between commercial bacon and Buttercross Dry Cured bacon, as the difference in cost of finished, cooked product is not as big as it may appear when buying it raw. Our opinion might be biased, but we think ours tastes an awful lot better too!
The Bacon we stock
As standard, we stock our own dry cured back & streaky bacon, plus oak smoked versions of each. We can also make wonderful pancetta & guanciale when ordered in advance. We always like to keep testing, so if you have any ideas for a dry cured product that you would like us to make for you- just let us know.