The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Home cured Christmas ham

Posted in Christmas, Curing and Smoking, Pork Ham Bacon Sausages | 9 comments

Home cured Christmas ham

I love ham, bacon, salami – well most processed meats actually. They get the thumbs down from the nutritionists due to their high salt and fat content. Having found out how easy it is to cure bacon at home using far less salt than traditional cures I decided to have a go at curing a ham last Christmas. We bought some local free range pork and used our wet cure for bacon recipe as the soak. The recipe is here the only difference in curing a loin of bacon and a leg is time. The leg was soaked for three weeks in the fridge submerged with...

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How to make your own tasty home cured bacon without a smoker

Posted in Curing and Smoking, Featured | 36 comments

How to make your own tasty home cured bacon without a smoker

It’s often said that some of the best discoveries are made by mistake. This discovery was made through laziness. We have stuck rigidly to our low salt bacon cure for over a year now. When Tessa of chiminea fame came back from a trip to Cornwall she brought news. “We discovered some home cured molasses bacon in a small family butcher’s shop. The bacon was much darker than ours. It was so delicious that we’re going to add more molasses to our recipe.” So I added two more heaped teaspoons of molasses to our cure. We usually smoke the...

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Dreaming of butchers and home smoked bacon

Posted in Curing and Smoking | 7 comments

Dreaming of butchers and home smoked bacon

Our new organic butcher buys his beef from farmers whose steers graze the fields in the local studs around our village. Something like ox kidney has to be ordered in advance. Last week I invested in organic shin of beef, just £8.00 for 2 kilos. And a large oxtail that was quite a bit more expensive. Some shin and oxtail went into a beef and vegetable soup and the rest was frozen until an organic ox kidney was available to make our favourite Steak and Kidney Pie. So this morning I motored over to Fordham to collect the kidney and buy an...

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The homemade sausage project: the balance of texture and flavour

Posted in Curing and Smoking | 7 comments

The homemade sausage project: the balance of texture and flavour

Danny and I were given a mincer and sausage making attachment for the Kenwood Chef this Christmas. This was the final step in our homemade sausage making dream. I’ve fancied making sausages for months but have held back since Hank tipped that having the right equipment was essential in the long run. Living near Newmarket, the award winning sausage making capital of England, the yen to produce our own must be floating in the air. Since I caught the bug I’ve researched Newmarket sausage making. This involved lots of stops at Sam’s stand...

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Biltong

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal, Curing and Smoking | 11 comments

Biltong

When we visited The Carter Street butchers in Fordham last weekend there were long slim peppered beef sausages hanging in the window. Beyond these was a rack where some dark dried meat was hanging. “There are fifty Southern Africans living in the village. Eventually I had to try my hand at making Biltong,” the butcher confided as he cut us a bit of peppered beef sausage to sample. The beef sausage was very good and we bought one. “Shall we buy some Biltong too?” “Not today.” Danny was firm. By the time I returned to collect a pork...

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How to smoke bacon at home: adapting a chiminea

Posted in Curing and Smoking | 11 comments

How to smoke bacon at home: adapting a chiminea

“Do you think that we could adapt a chiminea to smoke bacon? There are small ones on sale for £20.” It was early summer. Tessa and Colin don’t have a fireplace. Most of the smokers available in the DIY stores are hot smokers. Hot smokers cook and smoke the food. They are also quite expensive. My instant reaction was No. How could a chiminea be adapted for cold smoking? Smoke is hot, a chiminea chimney is short. The idea seemed crazy. But Tessa was stubborn. A few days later she mentioned chimineas again. We reckoned that the metal ones...

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Secret wet cure recipe for smoked bacon

Posted in Curing and Smoking | 11 comments

Secret wet cure recipe for smoked bacon

Having had a baconless weekend, I have been actively seeking a new butcher. I’m told that there’s a great independent butcher in Bury St Edmunds, 14 miles away. When I next have a Saturday off, Jalopy and I will be pointed like an arrow towards that lovely old Cathedral city. In the interim, we’ve tasted some ‘good’ commercially produced bacon and been amazed at the thin and wishy-washy flavour and at the price. Even at special offer prices, bacon is a luxury. Finding a good pork supplier is now a priority. I drifted into Tesco...

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Guest spot: how to build a home cold smoke room and a smoke generator by Smoking Methusala

Posted in Curing and Smoking | 5 comments

Guest spot: how to build a home cold smoke room and a smoke generator by Smoking Methusala

Here is the second part of Smoking Methusala’s post. Here he gets down to the nitty gritty. Smoking Methusala’s cold smoker journey. Part two. Here are the instructions for creating both the home built smoke room and the smoke generator. Making the smoke room: The fridge part is easy. Assuming you have a larder fridge with no freezer box in it and the cooling element is a panel at the back of the fridge. Remove any internal bits like the on off switch, light and leave the gas parts in place as they will cause no problem left in...

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