How to Cure Bacon at Home Using the Dry Cure Method

Curing your own bacon at home is incredibly easy and rewarding. With just a few simple ingredients and some patience, you can make bacon far superior to anything you can buy at the store. This article will walk you through everything you need to know to cure bacon at home using the dry cure method.

Why Make Your Own Bacon?

There are several great reasons to cure your own bacon rather than buying it pre-made:

  • Customize the flavor – When you cure the bacon yourself, you control the ingredients and can customize it to your taste preferences. Want it spicier? Add more pepper or red pepper flakes Sweeter? Use more brown sugar or maple syrup. The possibilities are endless

  • No added chemicals – Store-bought bacon often contains preservatives, artificial colors and flavors. By curing bacon yourself, you avoid all these added chemicals.

  • Better quality – Commercial bacon is made for mass production. They use lower quality pork bellies pumped with water and chemicals When you cure bacon at home, you can source higher quality pork for better texture and flavor

  • Cost savings – Buying pork belly and curing it yourself is cheaper per pound than buying packaged bacon. The initial investment pays off after 2-3 batches.

  • Fun DIY project – There’s great satisfaction that comes from curing your own meat at home. Once you nail down the process, it becomes an enjoyable and rewarding hobby.

Dry Cure vs. Wet Cure Bacon

There are two main methods for curing bacon at home:

Dry cure – Involves rubbing a mix of salt, sugar, and spices directly onto the meat. The pork belly then cures in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

Wet cure – The pork is submerged in a brine solution for 1-2 weeks to cure.

The dry cure method has some advantages:

  • Takes less fridge space since you don’t need a large container of brine.

  • You can customize flavors more easily by choosing different rub ingredients.

  • Less messy than a wet brine.

  • Yields excellent results with minimal effort.

For these reasons, the dry cure method will be the focus of this bacon curing tutorial.

Ingredients Needed for Dry Cured Bacon

Curing bacon only requires a few basic ingredients:

  • Pork belly – Try to find high quality, fresh pork belly. Skinless is ideal.

  • Kosher salt – For dry curing, use 2.5% of the pork belly’s weight in salt. Kosher salt sticks best to the meat.

  • Sugar – Helps balance salty flavor. Use 2.5% of pork’s weight in brown sugar or maple syrup.

  • Cure #1 – Contains nitrites for color and preservation. Use 0.25% of pork’s weight.

  • Spices – Customize flavors with black pepper, garlic, red pepper, etc.

That’s it! Now let’s go over the simple process.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Dry Cured Bacon

Follow these steps for incredible homemade dry cured bacon:

1. Prepare the Pork Belly

  • Source fresh, high-quality pork belly, preferably skinless.

  • Cut into manageable sizes if needed, no larger than 8×8 inches.

  • Weigh the pork belly. This determines curing ingredients.

2. Make the Dry Cure Rub

  • For every 1000g of pork belly, use:

    • 25g kosher salt

    • 25g brown sugar or maple syrup

    • 2.5g Cure #1

    • Spices like 10g black pepper

  • Mix ingredients together to form the dry cure rub.

3. Apply the Dry Cure

  • Rub the cure mix evenly all over the pork belly.

  • Make sure to coat every surface.

  • Place belly in a zipper bag or vacuum seal if possible.

4. Refrigerate the Pork Belly

  • Place sealed pork belly in the fridge.

  • Flip bag occasionally to redistribute cure.

  • Cure for at least 7 days, up to 2 weeks for thicker cuts.

5. Rinse and Rest

  • After curing time is done, rinse off excess cure.

  • Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels.

  • Place uncovered on a rack in the fridge overnight to form pellicle.

6. Slice and Cook the Bacon

  • Slice cured pork belly into desired bacon thickness.

  • Fry up test slices to check saltiness before cooking the rest.

  • Cook to 145°F internal temperature.

  • Enjoy your incredible DIY bacon!

And that’s all there is to it. As you can see, dry cured bacon is easy to make at home with minimal time and effort. The hardest part is waiting the week or more for it to cure in the fridge!

Tips for Making Perfect Dry Cured Bacon

Here are some handy tips to ensure bacon curing success:

  • Use an accurate food scale to measure cure ingredients. Don’t eyeball it.

  • Flip the bag of pork daily during curing to distribute ingredients evenly.

  • Cure in the back of the fridge where temperature fluctuates less.

  • Rinse well after curing time to remove excess salt.

  • Let sit overnight unwrapped in the fridge to form tacky pellicle.

  • Fry test slices before cooking a whole batch to check salt level.

  • Heat low and slow when cooking to prevent burning cured sugars.

The Benefits of Home Cured Bacon

Curing bacon yourself provides many rewards:

  • Cost savings – Much cheaper than buying packaged bacon.

  • No additives – You control what does (and doesn’t) go into it.

  • Full customization – Flavor it just how you like it.

  • Quality – Superior texture and taste vs store-bought.

  • Enjoyment – Fun DIY project you’ll be proud of.

  • Sharing – Make an excellent homemade gift.

Once you discover how easy and delicious DIY cured bacon can be, you’ll never go back to the store-bought stuff again!

Frequently Asked Questions About Dry Cured Bacon

How long does it take to cure bacon with a dry rub?

Plan for a minimum of 7 days for a normal 1-2 inch thick slab. For thicker cuts, cure up to 14 days. Thinner bellies may only need 5 days.

Can you eat dry cured bacon without cooking it?

No, it is unsafe to eat raw cured pork. Always cook bacon to an internal temperature of at least 145°F.

What temperature should you cook dry cured bacon to?

Cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 145-165°F. Hotter temperatures result in crisper bacon.

How long does dry cured bacon last in the fridge?

1-2 weeks is common. If you used Cure #1 it can last for several weeks properly stored. Vacuum sealing extends shelf life.

Can you freeze dry cured bacon?

Yes. First slice the bacon, then wrap tightly in freezer bags or vacuum seal. It will keep for 4-6 months frozen.

Curing your own bacon at home has never been easier. Armed with this guide on the dry cure method, you’ll be ready to start churning out incredible homemade bacon that beats anything you can buy.

Easy Homemade Bacon | How to Cure Your Own Bacon at Home

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