Making our own bacon is child's play; anyone can do it, anywhere. This simple process ensures that no nasty chemicals make their way into our daily rashers; nor that any water has been introduced to bump-up the weight.
The above piece of Belly Pork is from the thin end; the end without the bones. It probably weighs about 3 kilos; I'm not sure exactly because I bought a whole 7+ kilo Pork Belly, the rest of which is in the freezer. After processing it will probably end-up weighing less than 2.5 Kilos.
How?.... In a bowl mix 2 parts coarse sea salt to one part brown sugar, maybe with some crushed pepper and a pinch of dried herbs. Place a 1cm sprinkling on the bottom of a plastic container, place the Belly on top, then rub on another layer all over. A kilo of the mix should be more than enough.
Leave overnight, then pour off any liquid that has seeped-out from the meat. Rub on any remaining cure mix, then repeat once more over the following 4 or 5 days. After the 5th day, wash off the salt and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper. When perfectly dry I usually cover the whole thing with crushed peppercorns.
Now pierce a corner of the Belly's skin, thread with string, and hang in a cool airy place; leave suspended for a minimum of 2 weeks, after which you could COLD smoke for 24 hours (unfortunately I don't have a cold smoker).
It's probably best to wrap the meat in loose fitting muslin in case of flies. When checking your bacon, you will also notice that it slowly becomes considerably firmer.
That's all there is to it. Slice thinly, and you have your very own streaky bacon/pancetta for breakfast.
N.B. Here in France fresh Belly Pork costs about €2.50 a kilo; cured Bacon costs about €10.
It should be noted that this dry cure method can produce a particularly hard rind, which is probably best either cut away from the bacon before slicing, or totally removed in one piece; not easy, but worthwhile.
Getting the 'saltiness' correct is a matter of practice.