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. Just put some in the fridge now! I used replaced 20 g of the salt with smoked sea salt, so we’ll hope it turns out.

    Thank you!

  2. I’ve made bacon for a few years now, using a dry cure but fancied a change this time.

    This bacon is so delicious! I may never go back to dry cured. I’m supposed to be making a birthday present of home cured bacon, duck eggs and home made marmalade but I’m not sure how much is going to make it into the box…

    Thanks Fiona!

  3. We are preparing to slaughter our first 2 pigs so I was delighted to see this recipe.

    Can you tell be if the bacon should be soaked in water before cooking to counteract the saltiness?

    Also what weight approximately should the joint be?

    Looking forward to trying this.

  4. Hi there

    I have a joint of belly which has been submerged for 4 days ,I made a double sized batch of cure as it was a big piece of meat . Is it meant to take on the treacle colour its almost black(i haven’t cut into it yet its still chilling)


  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Talley

    Sorry I missed your comment.

    We are now just solely making this bacon – and not smoking it. Each joint turns out different every time – it must be the amount of fat and lean that affects it. But it is always delicious.
    BTW our Christmas ham was a big disappointment – not salty enough and not good enough to give away 🙁

    Hello Robin

    The Swedish outdoor smoker sounds like a great piece of kit! Is it a hot smoker or a cold smoker. We cold smoke ham over a wet smoky log for about 24 hours. In the past we smoked bacon for 12 hours in the same way.

    If you have a hot smoker it will cook as well as cure the meat. Cold smoking just cures the meat.

    Need more information to give advice.

    Maple syrup sounds a good alternative.

    Great that you are enjoying the blog!

  6. My wife bought a Swedish outdoor smoker for me for Christmas with which we smoked a side of salmon using the wood chips they supplied. Delicious more by luck than judgement. I have now bought some pancetta fresca in thick slices and it is now curing as per your updated recipe. The salmon was smoked in about 25 minutes but I have no idea how long it will take to smoke the bacon….does anybody have any ideas.

    I have discovered that you can buy on the internet a variety of different wood chips from Apple to Maple etc etc so I will get some and go on trying. You could I guess scatter these on a slow burning fire in your chimney place for a different flavour. I did not have any black treacle as it is not possible to buy it here in Tuscany so I used some canadaian Maple syrup instead.
    Only just found your site and it is a real joy.

  7. We have a half pig in the freezer and tried a dry cure on the first half of our belly joint. It was definitely salty. I can’t wait to try this version. I think I’ll try one with liquid smoke in the brine (and not smoke it), and one without the liquid smoke in the brine (but smoked afterwards).

  8. jollygreengiant

    Can I adjust the ingredients up or down depending on the amount of belly pork used?

    Have you tried this with pigs cheeks? They are currently my favourite cut of pork.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Jollygreengiant

      Yes you can. All you need to do is make sure that the belly of pork is covered with the liquid.

      Haven’t tried pig cheeks yet. I’ve heard that they’re very good.

  9. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Cabbagepatchdoll

    If you can smaoke it after curing it’s even better. I just cured some and left out thye salt aaargh 🙁

    Hello Suky

    I do hope that you like it.

    Hi Laurel

    That is great news. Thank you so much for taking the trouble to give us an update.

  10. I’m reporting back on how this worked on already sliced meat. I’m happy to say that it worked just fine. I used about 3 pounds of sliced un-bacon and brined it as if it wasn’t sliced. Came out beautifully.

    Note- I did not separate the slices. Just plopped it into the brine as a whole.


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