The Big Gay Al's Food Adventures
Another week and another pork loin to continue the bacon making experiments!
Starting with a small 800g pork loin joint. I prefer a lean bacon for eating generally so I use a loin more often than a pork belly. The belly is great if you want a fattier bacon well suited for cooking as part of a recipe.
This time I am trying something a little different. I am using a new cure mix with the curing salts and a little extra salt, but I am also adding Muscavado sugar and maple syrup to get a nice sweet cure bacon. The difference is that I am adding coffee to give a different flavour profile.
Bacon, maple syrup and coffee. The only thing missing is the pancake. This could be the perfect breakfast bacon!
Bacon and coffee together doesn’t spring to mind as being a particularly great flavour combination. Certainly we all know how great bacon and maple syrup are together, and likewise maple syrup and coffee work well together, but bacon, coffee and maple syrup? I’d be a little weary of how well the flavours would go if it wasn’t for the fact that it is already a great flavour combo in Southern USA cooking already. The Red-Eye Gravy famed in the South is simply the fat from the bacon or sausages in the pan deglazed with some brewed coffee. I’m hopeful therefore that this is going to taste awesome!
Mix all the ingredients to a paste – I needed to add a teaspoon of water just to make the paste a little looser. Smear all over the pork loin, making sure is gets everywhere. I score the surface fat a little to help the flavours soak in. Now place the pork and all the marinade into a ziplock bag, seal and massage thoroughly.
Now it’s just a waiting game for a while! Place the pork in the fridge in the sealed bag. Turn the bag and massage it thoroughly twice a day before returning it too the fridge.
I will let a piece this size cure for at least 5 days – probably a week as I want the flavours to be really intense. A general rule of thumb is 2 days plus 1 day per inch thickness of the joint as this allows the cure to really penetrate the meat. Try not to exceed this by two long as it can then make the bacon too salty – a mistake I have made previously.
After the total curing time I will wash the pork thoroughly, Pat it dry and then let is air-dry uncovered in the fridge for 2-3 days. At this point it should be ready to slice and eat!
I will update here with the results once the bacon is ready – watch this space!
Updated 21st March 2015 :
Updated 24th March 2015
Having had a couple of days air-drying in the fridge uncovered, the Red Eye Bacon is complete. The taste is superb and definitely a recipe I will repeat. It looks and smells amazing. The only drawback is the length of time is takes to prepare! Give it a go and let me know how you get on!
In the meantime, I just started another 3 bacon batches. Watch this space!