From fairly humble beginnings, when pigs were kept by almost every household, the bacon has developed to become a must have, versatile, comfort food that is also a profound treat for the senses.
I hope you enjoyed the first part of our Quick Guide to Bacon, here is part two!
Wet Cure dates back to the 1840s, when a traditional bacon producing family in the UK developed what, at the time, was considered to be a revolutionary cure in an age without electric refrigeration.
Now, in the 21st century, the process still involves the side of pork with its bone-in and rind-on being immersed into a special recipe brine for up to two days… but the cold storages are little more high tech nowadays!
With the traditional wet cured method, the bacon is given a fortnight to mature, and time – after salt – is the most important ingredient. Wet cured bacon usually have a subtle, slightly salty flavour, a characteristic meaty texture and work really well in recipes as its gentle saltiness helps to highlight the flavours of the other ingredients without dominating them.
As the name suggests, Maple Curing involves the addition of maple syrup to the curing mixture – as part of the external rub of a dry cure or as an added ingredient to the brine in the wet cured version.
The syrup is then absorbed by the meat during the curing process, of usually five to seven days, giving the bacon its distinguishing sweet caramelised flavour. The maple cured bacon is then often smoked for an increased depth of flavour.
Its unique, smokey, woody and sweet flavour makes Maple cured bacon more suitable as the centrepiece of the meal, rather than as an ingredient, where it could swamp other flavours. Perfect for an indulgent brunch or a five star bacon sandwich.
Different sugars such as Muscovado, Demerara or Molasses are the most well known of Sweet Cures for bacon but spices such as bay, juniper, peppercorn are becoming very popular additions for extra flavour and as signatures for different brands.
The curing process is much the same as for the basic dry or wet cure, but the addition of sugar as the predominant ingredient results in a finger licking bacon with a distinctive aroma and smoky, sweet notes.
Sweet Cured bacons will elevate any meal, from roasts to pastas and salads to pizzas.
Smokin’ is not a curing process, it is the step that occurs after the bacon has been cured, to give an added depth of flavour.
Even though nowadays smoking can mean coating the bacon in a ‘smoke flavour’ liquid to gain the authentic flavour, quality smoked bacon – such as ours – is still produced in the traditional way, by smoking the meat over wood chippings.
Oak is still one of the most popular types of wood as it gives the bacon a rich aroma yet mellow flavour, with a predominantly smoky, slightly salty aftertaste. Cherry, Applewood, Hickory and our favourite Beechwood are also very well known wood variations, each with its own characteristic flavours.
Succulent and flavoursome, Smoked Bacons have an earthy notes that complements a mix of ingredients in a variety of recipes without overpowering them. Great for sandwiches and dinners, Smoked Bacons are a real family favourite.
In the next blog, we’ll be exploring the different cuts of bacon and best uses for each but if you can’t wait, call in the shop, take one of our different types of bacon home and let us know what you think!
And don’t forget to share your photos and tag us!