The Cottage Smallholder

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

Photo: Home cured streaky bacon

Photo: Home cured streaky bacon

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 bacon after three days but when the time came I just didn’t have the energy to build and tend a fire. So I left the bacon in the wet cure for four days. Then we smoked it and it was the best bacon that we’d made to date.

The next week I cured another belly of pork joint for four days and laziness prompted us to skip the smoking stage completely.
“We can always put it up the chimney tonight if it doesn’t taste good.” Soothed Danny.

It was excellent. Not quite as good as the smoked joint but– a hundred times better than even the best supermarket bacon for a fraction of the price. So if you fancy trying your hand at curing your own bacon why not try our low salt recipe?

A loin joint will produce back bacon and a belly of pork joint will produce streaky bacon and pancetta. This bacon is eaten fairly quickly at the cottage. As the salt cure isn’t strong it will not last for weeks in the fridge. If we are not going to eat it within a few days we slice it and freeze it, in long bags with each slice separated. The bacon can be grilled from frozen.

Best wet cure recipe for back and streaky bacon


  1. A joint of either loin or belly of pork
  2. 900ml of cold water
  3. 100g of cooking salt
  4. 4 heaped teaspoonfuls of dark treacle or molasses


  1. Mix the salt and treacle with the water.
  2. Place the joint in the water and submerge it with a small plate. Leave to soak in the fridge for four days.
  3. Remove the joint from the curing mixture and dry with a clean tea towel. Leave the joint to chill in the fridge for an hour or so – this makes slicing easier.
  4. Place the joint skin side down on a chopping board and slice.
  5. Store in greaseproof paper in the fridge or slice and store in the freezer.

  Leave a reply


  1. kate (uk)

    OK, treacle and pork belly purchased, ready to cure.Looking forward to sampling the results.

  2. the lack of a smoker has always put me off trying your bacon but now I have to! Just need to wait for the butcher to get back from holiday and the kitchen to be finished. Thaks for demystifing great bacon – the forum I looked on before made it all sound scary and complicated!

  3. I always thought curing was amazingly complicated! Thanks for proving me wrong. I am definitely trying it as soon as I get more meat from the farmers’ market next week. I’ll update my blog with how I get on with your recipe.

  4. My pork is curing in the fridge as I type! The other half is apprehensive – “treacle?” he exclaimed. Very dubious. Personally I know I will love it, he can please himself!

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kate (uk)

    It is simple and delicious…

    Hi Michelle in NZ

    I think that Zebbycat would enjoy some bacon too.

    Hi Michelle Sheets

    Liquid smoke! I love it. We don’t have liquid smoke in the UK.

    I’d definitely give that a go.

    Hi Bridget

    It’s well worth curing your own bacon as you can control what goes into it. We use far less salt than most cures.

    Hi Cathy

    If the bacon is well chilled it is easy to cut with a super sharp large kitchen knife.

    We do have a slicer but I’ve discovered that the bacon keeps better in a block.

  6. How do you slice it? I mean… what sort of knife do you use, and how do you manage to not mangle it?

  7. Bridget

    Yes indeed, that does sound easy. Thanks for sharing. Like Michelle we also buy Henderson’s bacon here in NZ which is pretty good, but probably not so nice as homemade/cured, as is the case with most things.

  8. michelle sheets

    Wait a minute….this is too easy! All right, no more excuses, i’m going to have to try this. Fiona, what do you think a little liquid smoke in the cure?

  9. Michelle in NZ

    Oh wow – I could do this!

    (I have luckily found a good bacon here that I can get in my supermarket (Henderson’s for anyone here in NZ) which has none of the nasty additives and is smoked over manuka wood smoke. The middle bacon it yummo)

    Now, before I can make my own I’ll have to eat some of the food in the fridge and freezer to make room. My fridge/freezer refuses to behave like The Tardis or to develop elastic sides.

    Glad there has been a happy discovery from your being not so well. Sending wellness thoughts, and much care and love,

    Michelle and Zebbycat, xxx and much purrrrumbling

  10. kate (uk)

    Gosh! This sounds so simple. We were on holiday in Norfolk recently and had some proper bacon. It was fantastic and just made me realise more than ever how disgusting even supposedly good bacon from supermarkets is.I think I need to give this a try!

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