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El Mimbreno

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Gender: Male
Hometown: New Mexico
Member since: Sun Nov 6, 2016, 09:21 AM
Number of posts: 686

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Irish Bacon - The Recipe

Just about everyone likes bacon, but buying bacon is kind of a crapshoot; will it cook up brown and tasty, or yellow-beige and tasteless? I've found that a package with little or no liquid in it is more likely to cook up nicely. But then I've also gotten blah bacon from the butcher counter. I usually chop, cook, drain and freeze bacon to sprinkle on omelets, pizza, or whatever.

Now for the good stuff:

Irish bacon is completely different from "American" bacon. It's back bacon, made from lean pork loin instead of fatty pork belly.

Irish Bacon

½ heaping tablespoon peppercorns
2 bay Leaves
½ tablespoon honey
½ heaping tablespoon juniper berries
¾ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup kosher salt (or any non-iodized salt)
2-3 whole Cloves
2 quarts cold water
1/2 Tablespoon Pink curing salt #1

In a small saucepan combine:
The rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the pink curing salt
Heat the mixture to a boil and then simmer 5-10 minutes.
While the infusion is simmering, add ½ Tablespoon of pink curing salt to the reserved water.
Remove the tea from the stove and pour into the reserved water.
This will cure 5 to 6 pounds of pork loin. Place 1 lb sections of pork loin in plastic zipper bags. A gallon bag will hold 3 pounds. Pour in the curing liquid and seal the bags, squeezing out the air to make sure the meat is completely covered. Refrigerate for one week.
After 1 week, remove the meat from the brine and place in on a rack over a pan or foil in the refrigerator for about 24 hours.
Smoke the meat to an internal temp of 150-160 F. Use the wood of your choice. If you smoke on a Weber or other grill, do not use briquettes, only hardwood lump charcoal.
If you do not want to smoke, roast at a low temperature to the above temp.
Wrap and refrigerate or freeze.

To serve, slice thin and brown lightly in a pan over medium heat. You might put a bit of butter or “American” bacon fat in the pan (if you've cooked and drained any good bacon).

Here are some links to other recipes; the above recipe is based on the wild boar recipe.




And one for American-style belly bacon:

Irish Bacon

We went to Ireland a couple of years ago, and in addition to the fantastic seafood and delicious lamb, there was the "full Irish" breakfast that included back bacon. It's loin, rather than the American pork belly.

I'm still fine-tuning the recipe - a little more brown sugar and a little less smoke. It's a wet or Wiltshire cure, marinated for a week, dried for a day, then smoked. Slice it up and lightly brown in a pan.

This is also a good way to use the full pork loin that is sometimes on sale at a very reasonable price, but as a roast, tends to come out dry.

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