The smell and sizzle of frying bacon is up there with the best of life’s pleasures. But you’ll have noticed that not all bacons are created equal. At Coombe Farm Organic, we take pride in the way we make our bacon, from the organic rearing of our pigs to the natural curing and smoking processes to bring out the best flavours and texture.
Our pigs grow slowly in a high welfare, free-range organic system that gives them the freedom to roam, run and rootle in sociable family groups. A Saddleback-Gloucester Old Spot crossbreed, they thrive in the climate of the West Country. Being able to follow their natural instincts is vital for these intelligent animals and they live outdoors as much as the weather allows, with access to pig arks so they can shelter from the rain and sun.
Living outdoors is obviously vital for the wellbeing of these intelligent creatures, but it’s also vital for the production of top-quality pork. Muscles that have had plenty of active exercise produce flavoursome meat with great texture. In industrial systems, pigs are routinely given antibiotics to fend off diseases that are spread due to the high density of the population. This never happens with our organic, outdoor pigs – their lifestyle gives them effective natural immune systems, and their diet of grass, hay and concentrated food helps them grow at the rate nature intended.
Bacon comes from two cuts on the pork carcass: the loin becomes back bacon and the belly makes streaky bacon. We dry cure our bacon by hand to produce a salty-sweet flavour and crispy texture using just sea salt and organic demerara sugar in the traditional way. Nitrate-free has become a buzz word in recent years but what does it really mean? Well, nitrates are nasty chemicals typically used to speed up the curing process and produce the bright pink colour we are familiar with. Our natural curing ingredients mean our bacon is a darker, traditional colour; packed with flavour and most importantly free of added chemicals and artificial preservatives. All our organic bacon is dry cured for up to 2 weeks, then we send our products to the Wiltshire Smokehouse where it is naturally smoked over oak for 16 hours. Our smoked streaky bacon is award-winning too, it scooped a Great Taste Award in 2019.
Curing bacon is super simple and can be easily done at home. All you need is our 1kg Organic Pork Loin, sea salt and demerara sugar. If you are feeling adventurous with flavour, you could try adding juniper berries, allspice berries, black peppercorns and bay leaves to experiment with different tastes.
- Per kilo of meat, mix together 50g sea salt with 100g of demerara sugar.
- Carefully snip the string holding the loin together and unroll to reveal the shape of a back bacon rasher
- Rub the cure mix all over the meat, massaging it in well and ensuring it gets into all the nooks and crannies.
- Pop the loin into a plastic tub with a lid and put it in the fridge for 14 days. Every 2/3 days, turn the loin and baste it with the liquid that gathers in the tub.
- When the time’s up, take the meat out of the box, wash off any remaining cure mix and pat it dry with a tea towel.
- Put it back into the fridge, sitting uncovered on a rack, and leave it to dry overnight.
- When your bacon has dried out, it’s ready to slice, cook and enjoy!