PROCESS OF ELABORATION
In order to obtain a good quality product, the pork bellies must be carefully selected so that they have a good consistency, with as much meat as possible.
METHOD A: DRY CURED BACON
Bellies or bacon should be rubbed at 4% of their weight with the following mixture.
- Salt: 8Kg
- Prosciutto Additive Mixture: 1Kg
After rubbing the bellies, they should be placed in plastic or stainless steel containers, in a very compact form and taking care that they do not touch each other.
Normally, a natural brine is formed in the first few days, which is enough to cover the bacon. In case the brine does not completely cover the bacon, add the following blend: Formula for 10 liters
- Water: 10Lt.
- Curing Salt: 0,2Kg
- Salt: 1Kg
CURING TIME The curing time is of two and a half days for each kilo of bacon; the curing time is calculated individually for each piece using this base.
METHOD B: IMMERSION CURING
Immerse the bacon in curing brine, it must be completely covered. To ensure that it is covered, put an element of weight on it so it does not float, and take to the cold storage 1 day per kilo of piece. For example, if the pieces weigh an average of 3 kilos they will be 3 days immersed in brine, that is why it is very important to select pieces of similar weight to obtain an optimal cure.
After the previous step, submerge all the pieces again but this time in fresh running water for 2 two hours. They are dried and hanged in the smokehouse on bacon hangers.
The brine is prepared as follows:
- Water: 100Lt
- Salt : 5Kg
- Curing Salt: 2Kg
Bellies should be cured in a cold storage at a temperature of +3 to 4°C.
Leave the bellies during 4 hours at 60ºC without smoke and with the chimney open.
Then raise the temperature slowly until it reaches a temperature of 71°C adding smoke and gradually closing the chimney.
When the internal temperature of the bacon reaches 57ºC, the product is removed from the smokehouse and left to cool at room temperature for at least 10 hours until its sale.
Another method is to baste the bellies with a dilution of liquid smoke and some spices (e.g. pepper, chili, coriander) then wrap them in cellophane giving the desired shape and then put them in polythene bags (they can be placed in square molds). They are cooked in water until they reach an internal temperature of 57ºC. The water temperature should be 75ºC so they do not deform. It is vacuum-packed and commercialized.