CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Love bacon? Then make your own, says Devon chef Tim Maddams

PUBLISHED: 09:37 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 09:37 21 June 2016

Tim is a big fan of the bacon from Pipers Farm butchers in Exeter (pictured)

Tim is a big fan of the bacon from Pipers Farm butchers in Exeter (pictured)

all rights reserved 2012

It’s time for the county to reclaim the brilliance of bacon by making its own, says chef Tim Maddams

Tim is a big fan of the bacon from Pipers Farm butchers in Exeter (pictured)Tim is a big fan of the bacon from Pipers Farm butchers in Exeter (pictured)

Who doesn’t like a bacon sandwich? Well, except for those who choose not to eat meat and those restricted by religious dogma, not many. According to the lovepork.co.uk website: “Bacon is a £1.3billion industry, with consumers currently purchasing 221.6k tonnes per year.”

Blimey, that’s a fair few rashers isn’t it? Sadly most of our bacon is imported and of that which isn’t, most of it is of a very poor quality. Is this really where we want to be with the nation’s favourite snack food? Limp, lean and watery apology for rashers encased in some blister pack of doom? Our home-reared pork industry struggling on the brink of collapse? But of all the reasons to think about the way we consume bacon, the most powerful one is the taste.

For the last two years I have been including a little chat about bacon in most of my cooking lessons and upon tasting the homemade alternative to the common or garden slivers of demoralising pink shame the large majority of people are astounded at the difference. It’s not pink, it changes colour like pork when you cook it. It’s not watery, because no water is added to it. It has more fat, because that’s the whole point of bacon. It tastes…well, authentic and amazing. Oh, and it’s cheaper, and it will make people love you.

Let’s not make this too complicated, yes there are some very good butchers out there making great dry cured bacon. Although sadly most of it is not from free range animals and yes there is a world of difference between supermarket and butcher’s bacon and I implore you to support your local butcher and indirectly your local farms. But, let’s face it, even the butcher’s bacon is not quite what I am talking about except a few excellent exceptions like the Rusty Pig in Ottery St Mary or Pipers Farm butchers in Exeter.

Proper bacon is dry cured, fatty pork that has had a chance to dry a little in the fridge. And, be warned, it will also ruin your taste for ‘the other stuff’, but hey, that’s a good thing right? So, this month I am suggesting a countywide experiment. I want you all to make your own bacon and it won’t take you a whole afternoon of valuable free time and it won’t kill you all slowly by various poisonous means, but it will make the world a tiny bit of a better place.

This is all you will need: 100g table salt, 100g golden caster sugar, 20 peppercorns, 10 fresh bay leaves, 1kg pork belly on the bone, a large plastic tub, a bamboo mat and a little patience.

Go and see your butcher, go on. Now, explain that you are going to try making your own bacon and you would like a nice, 1kg size piece of thick end of belly pork, with the bone and skin still on…and, no thanks, don’t score the skin. Why not take the opportunity to buy a few rashers of theirs to tide you over until your own bacon is ready in a week or two?

Now, that’s cost you let’s say a maximum of £10. The same as the equivalent weight of supermarket “finest” or “superior” streaky. But don’t worry, it’s going to pay you back.

Wash and thoroughly dry your plastic tub, you can use a chine dish if you prefer, or glass but don’t use metal as it may taint the meat. Bash the peppercorns until broken up well and then finely chop the fresh bay. Mix these with the sugar and salt and pop them all into a bowl or jar. Apply half a handful of the cure mix to the bottom of the pork belly and then pop it in the tub, flip it over and apply another half a handful to the top. Put the lid on the tub and place it in the fridge. The next day, drain off any liquid and repeat the curing process. Do the same on the third day. Don’t worry if you still have cure left over. That’s fine.

On day four wash the pork off and place it on a plate lined with a sushi rolling mat or criss cross a few wooden skewers on the plate and place your newly cured bacon on top of that. Place it back in the fridge. The idea is that air can circulate around the whole piece of bacon. You want it to dry a little. You can hang it up in the fridge if you prefer.

After three more days, if you are of the impatient type you can skin and bone the belly out – quite easy really, but you will need a sharp knife. Slice a few thin rashers off the bacon piece and cook them in a frying pan, on a moderate heat and enjoy. You will find it’s a bit salty and fatty compared to what you are used to. You will also, I hope, find it to be utterly delicious.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

11:47

Now is the perfect time to head for the bright lights of Exeter, where you can hunker down in one of the city’s many pubs, cafés and indoor attractions. Here’s our pick of the best places to keep warm, dry and entertained | Words: Chrissy Harris

Read more
08:15

From cosy pubs galore to winter beach walks, there’s plenty to enjoy in Devon at Christmas. We list 19 reasons you should come visit us this December.

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Devon is particularly stunning at this time of year and so we’ve picked out 18 stunning pictures that encapsulate the county during the festive period

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Devon is a joy to explore with its beautiful beaches, pretty woodland and charming towns and villages. Made even more magical under a blanket of glistening frost, we pick 12 walks to blow away the cobwebs in the county this winter

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A South Devon walk along a wreck-rich coastline with SIMONE STANBROOK-BYRNE

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

In the latest of our 24-hour tours of Devon’s best locations, we head to Britain’s Ocean City

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

With breathtaking beaches, rolling countryside, stately homes and unique villages, it’s no wonder high-profile film productions flock to Devon - how well do you know the movies that have set up camp here however?

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Whether it’s on our beautiful beaches, in our magnificent moors or within our stunning stately homes, film productions are constantly setting up in Devon. Here are 16 that you might not know used the county as a filming location

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

From angry spirits to headless horses and ghoulish monks, Devon has more than a few supernatural stories to get your skin crawling. We have picked 11 haunted places in the county

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

October is the perfect time to discover the joys of Exmoor. Jennette Baxter of Visit Exmoor suggests five great ways to enjoy autumn on the moor

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wild camping can be one of the best ways to escape the crowds for a night or two and lose yourself in the landscape - SOPHIE PAVELLE chooses her five favourite places to ‘wild-life’ camp in Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From sandy beaches and lighthouse-topped cliffs to views of the Jurassic Coast, the Devon coastline offers many perfect locations for a seaside walk. We pick 10 of the prettiest routes to take

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Take our quiz to find out how well you really know Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As the weather starts to warm up and the Devon countryside beckons, LIZZIE JANE of the National Trust in the South West offers plenty of walk ideas for you to try. Whether you want a relaxed Sunday stroll or a more strenuous hike, here are 10 walks across Devon (and beyond) to help you escape the crowds and head off the beaten track

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search