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Bill Riley’s old style bacon

I am a third generation butcher and never have I heard my family speak of how easy it is to make your own bacon. The beauty of bacon is not only that it cures a hangover, but because it is a simple, relatively cheap cut of meat which can be used in so many ways to cure hunger.

I work for my family butchery and weekly make this recipe for the people who come into our shop. Like any new recipe you attempt, the first time will be the hardest, and in this case, it isn’t very.

Obviously you will need to go to your local butcher, have a look around where you live or work, butcheries have become scarce in the modern day, either they have slowly been beaten out of business by the bigger boys, or they have become the bigger boys, either way there are still a few butchers who do it for the simple satisfaction of offering people a good quality meat product.

So you will need 1 boneless skinless pork loin. (This is the part of pork your chops come from and is known in bacon terms as, back bacon.)

500g of coarse salt.

A couple bay leaves, between 5 and 10 leaves.

About 10 juniper berries.

A 100g of brown sugar.

And finally 25g of ground black pepper.

Once you have all the correct amounts of ingredients, mix them all together creating a batch. Now get a container which can fit your pork loin, remember its not going to be covered, so it doesn’t need a lid. Now that you have this, place the pork loin in the plastic container and take your batch of ingredients. Now you are going to be using your batch of ingredients every day during the curing process, so do not use your whole batch at once, rather rub enough into the whole pork loin as to give it a light covering. Now put your pork loin back in the container and store it in your fridge or a dry cool place. The next day you will recognize that pork loin has given off a liquid, this is part of the curing process, and the salt is pulling out the moisture. Drain that liquid out and repeat the process of coating your pork loin with the left over of the original batch of ingredients.

Now what you need to do is repeat the process each day for about 3-5 days all in all. Remember the longer you leave it, the saltier it becomes.

To finish the process, go back to your butcher, preferably billrileymeat.co.za, and kindly ask him or her if he can smoke the pork loin for you, it shouldn’t take them longer than 30 minutes to an hour to do, and its pretty hassle free, so if your butcher gives you nonsense, its probably because you’ve never bought something there before. Once He or She has smoked it for you, then ask them to slice it for you, Canadian style (this is a thicker slice than usual and completes the old style of bacon). Now if you’re lucky, like you will be at Bill Riley Meat, they’ll vacuum pack it free of charge. Congratulations, you just paid half the price for your bacon (compared to that supermarket you go to), and if you store it properly, you’ll have enough to get through a good couple more hangovers.