But now we have cracked it. I have taken advice from the articles and forums from downsizer.net.
In both cases we used a simple cure of half soft brown sugar to salt. With the ham we used a ratio of 150g of cure per kilo of pork – rubbed it in, placed in a food bag and into the fridge, allowing 3 days per kilo. We did not pour any liquid off, just turned it over each day. The liquid coming off will have been a brine cure.. so it all works…
Then rinsed it off, brought to the boil, threw away the water, then boiled again, then shoved in the oven, and tada! – ham! – so easy – so tasty, and the only thing against it was it was not pink. For pink we needed to add saltpetre. The downsizer article advises the use of 1 teaspoon of saltpetre to each kilo of salt, and we were only making a small amount of cure at that time, so we left it out. Next we shall try out a much bigger bone in cut for thingymas.
Next we moved on to bacon and I boned out a bit of loin, and went with the same cure recipe, only this time we cut back on the amount of cure we were using. We are not aiming to cure it enough so it will keep.. I personally think traditionally bacon would have been very salty etc., and our previous efforts were far too salty. But we wanted the flavour. So we used 375g of the cure (ie 250g salt, 125g of soft dark brown sugar) to 2.4 kilos of pork. Same idea.. in a bag. Each morning when I reached into the fridge for milk, I would find myself face to face with the bacon – give it a turn over and settle it back down. Three days later, rinse off the salt, and back into the fridge.
The chances are it wont keep much longer than uncured pork, certainly only the outside was stained from the brown sugar cure, but we are keeping it in the fridge and/or freezing it. And yes, our back bacon is fatty. We are fortunate to have inherited an old slicer – and despite its tired yellowing plastic cover, works well, and we can slice proper rashers.
Verdict? delicious! We shall be doing this again.