Bacon Blog Day 8: Beer Cured Bacon Can Change Your Culinary Life

by @WidowPage

When I started writing this series of posts, this was the one I couldn't wait to do.  But in addition to my fabulous and glamorous DBA job, I also coach my daughter's volleyball team and that is about to kill me!  I felt like I couldn't do this post the justice it deserved if I just whipped this post out so I waited until I had the time to do it right.

Of all the cure recipes I've written about, this one is the most fun because the beer really enhances the pork's flavor.  If you were to taste the bacon, you wouldn't be able to say "wow this bacon was cured in beer."  And I'm sure there's some science behind how it works, but for now just believe me when I saw that you should try this.

I got the recipe from here.  The ingredients are:

  • 5 lb of pork belly
  • 750ml beer
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon pink salt (cure #1)

Let's talk about the beer.  In the original recipe, the authors used a tripel.  In case you aren't up on your brewing practices, tripels got their name because the recipe uses triple the normal amount of malt.  Modern brewers also use candy sugar and the resulting alcohol levels can be quite high.

But I've also never felt restricted just to tripels. I've tried stouts, porters, lagers, even a smoked beer.  I can't tell too big a difference in the flavor but the pork will take the color of the beer.  For this round of bacon curing, I went rogue and tried a hard cider.  I picked Angry Orchard's Walden Hollow which comes from Rome, Jonathan, Macintosh, Newton Pippin, Golden Russet, Rhode Island Greening apples.

In the first step of the recipe, you take the sugar and salt, boil them into water.

Once that water/sugar/salt mixture is cool, add the rest of the ingredients.  Mix well and add the pork belly.  Let it sit refridgerated for a week to 10 days.