Not every one likes streaky bacon because it does contain more fat. If you would prefer leaner bacon then you can make bacon using the loin, which is more commonly known as back bacon or Canadian bacon. Because the meat is generally thicker than belly, I use a wet cure or brine to ensure that the salt, through osmosis, gets to the core of the meat. Interestingly enough, because I use a brine, it only takes 2 days, as opposed to 7 days with the dry rub. You can also use this method with belly/ streaky bacon – but “Dry Cured” is more fashionable these days 🙂
Sodium Nitrate (Pink Salt/ Prague Powder)
I am not going to get into the philosophical debate of the use of nitrates/ nitrites. There is a very particular reason for using nitrates, and that is NOT as a preservative. SALT is the preservative. Nitrate is used, particularly of you are going to smoke the bacon, because in smoked meats there is a very (very) slight chance of getting botulism. Nitrates prevent botulism, so I always use them when I am going to smoke meat.
BUT, when it comes to bacon, nitrates are almost a requirement because that tangy flavour, as well as the pinky colour of bacon, is derived from the nitrates.
Many people like the idea of “Green” Bacon, which essentially means bacon made without nitrates.
If you are going to smoke your bacon then USE nitrates. Any con of using nitrate is not outweighed by the chance of getting botulism. If you really want to make green back then follow the recipe below without Pink Salt (sodium nitrate – NaNO3 ), BUT then do not smoke it!
RECIPE TIP: In this recipe I make a big batch of the dry cure, which I then store in a jar in a dark cupboard for future use.
RECIPE TIP 2: Follow my recipe for perfect crispy bacon.