Free range pork belly 2kg, in one piece, skin on, flat rib bones intact
For the cure:
- Pure dried vacuum salt 500g
- Demerara sugar 500g
- Bay leaves a few, shredded
- Juniper berries about 20, lightly bruised
- Black peppercorns 25g, freshly ground
- If the pork has an uneven covering of flare fat, remove it, as if it’s uneven it could affect curing time.
- Place all cure ingredients in a sealable container.
- Place one handful of cure in the base of a tray that’s big enough to hold the pork, and place it skin-side down. Scatter another handful of cure over the surface, and lightly rub it in, making sure the sides are also coated.
- Cover with a clean tea towel and put in the fridge or a cool place for 24 hours.
- The next day, lift the meat and pour off the liquid. Put a fresh handful of cure into the container and place the meat back on top. Rub with another handful as before.
- Repeat the process for five days, using about a fifth of the cure each day. As the meat cures and dries it will get darker in colour and there’ll be less liquid.
- After 5 days, run the meat under cold water and clean the surface with a cloth soaked in malt vinegar. Pat it dry and put it back in the cleaned container in the fridge.
- After five days it will be ready to slice with a sharp knife. It will store in the fridge for up to 3 months, intensifying in flavour. Sliced rashers can also be kept in the freezer.
Find more recipes from Steven in his book, Curing and Smoking.