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.

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  1. My small ‘lion’ joint is in the fridge as I type and due to come out of the brine this evening. So bacon for brekkie tomorrow!

  2. cabbagepatchdoll

    Didn’t realise you can do this cure your own bacon i jotted the recipe down and now that’s the next thing on the agenda .Can’t wait to try it.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Fiano60

    Yes I think that sea salt would be fine. If you follow the link in the article – Tessa of chiminea fame there are instructions for adapting a chiminea (now on sale at Homebase).

  4. fiano60

    sounds great will be giving it a go .would it be alright to use sea salt,can anyone give me a way to make my own smoker? unfortunatly no chimney

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sue

    Delighted that you gave this a go and that it worked for you! Our next batch will be ready on Wednesday!

    Hi Jo

    If you wasn’t to make bacon that stores for weeks, it is more complicated. But we find that this is so good and freezes well.

    It makes a great present to give people too.

    Hello Rachel

    We’ve been playing with the recipe for just over a year now. Gradually reducing the amount of salt (so that it still tastes like bacon).

    Hello Kate (uk)

    I do hope that you like the results ?

    Hi Tamar

    I’m hot wired for indolence too. Always looking for an easier, lazy way.

    Hi Michelle

    Oh thanks for the link.

    Hi Sue

    The electric carving knife is a good idea. I knew that he’d like the bacon 😉

    Hi Laurel

    A joint is a slab of meat – anything from half a pound to several pounds. Sometimes we cure a whole belly of pork and more often than not pick up a smaller joint on offer from the supermarket – particularly pork loin which makes good bacon (called Back bacon in the UK).

    Hi KarenO

    That’s great! Lucky you having a half pig in your freezer.

  6. Wonderful – I have half a pig in the freezer from my sister’s farm and asked for the belly to be left whole so I could try Danny’s famous roast belly of pork but needed to wait till I’m feeding the whole family before defrosting it. I can now take it out of freezer and use some for each. I don’t like eating shop bacon cos of all the chemicals (even organic has chemicals to preserve it), also I’m not keen on smoked food and haven’t got anything to smoke it in anyway so all in all this is perfect for me.

  7. How big is a joint?

  8. I’ve just had a couple of rashers for breakfast & the bacon was perfect! Much nicer than supermarket stuff! Even the DH tried it & had to admit it was good! Pork loin next for the treatment I think. I found using an electric knife worked better to slice but I haven’t mastered the art of thin slices yet!

  9. michelle sheets

    What? No liquid smoke? How do you make Barbeque sauce?
    I found a site that ships liquid smoke, has 4 different flavors too. They are here in the U.S. but if you want some and need help on the U.S. end let me know-

  10. I’m delighted to hear that it is not necessity but indolence — for which I am hard-wired — that is the mother of invention!

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