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How To Dry Cure Pork

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cured pork bellyLearning how to dry cure a piece of pork is an adventure in itself. You pick up the meat on your own, then you decide on what cure you are going to use, and finally, you get down and dirty with the whole curing process. This is how it works. If you are keen to learn the ropes, just read on:-



A. How to Dry Cure Pork Belly


For the sake of discerning readers, the process has been divided into two separate branches, one of which is the dry curing of pork belly.


1) Things Required

Apart from the meat, of course, you will need for your cure the following – salt, pink curing salt, brown sugar, black pepper, containers, etc. In order to have a more spicy curing mixture, you can use crushed juniper berries, nutmeg, bay leaves, brown sugar, and thyme.


2) Step 1

Obtain pork belly from your local butcher. Make sure that the meat is fresh and kept chilled. Wash the meat and trim it if you need smaller cuts.


3) Step 2

Prepare the rub by mixing the curing mixture together. At this stage, you can mix everything including salt, sugar, curing salt, pepper, and other spices too.


4) Step 3

Place the pork belly in a container and pour the dry curing mixture over it. Ensure that the cure is rubbed deep into every crevice of the meat surface. Turn the pork belly over and over till you are sure that the cure has covered the meat completely.


5) Step 4

Put the meat into an airtight bag, or you can cover it completely in cling film, and place it in the refrigerator for at least 3 days. After 3 days, remove the package and rub the pork belly again. Drain out the juices that will have leaked out of the meat into the bag. Replace the meat into refrigerator for another 4 days.


6) Step 5

Meanwhile, decide the part of the house where you want to keep the meat for natural air-drying. The area should be well-ventilated and the temperature there should not be below 60 degrees F. It goes without saying that the room or area should be clean and dry so that there is no risk of contamination of the meat.


7) Step 6

Wrap the butcher’s twine around the meat and hang it from the ceiling. Make sure that you wrap the butcher’s twine 2 to 3 times around the meat.


8) Step 7

The meat has to be kept hung like this for about 3-4 weeks after which you can remove the pork belly, rinse it with cold water to take off all the seasonings, then pat dry it and store it in the freezer for future use.


B. How to Dry Cure Pork Shoulder pork shoulder


With the changing times, the practice of dry curing meat is becoming obsolete. But there are still enthusiasts who prefer to work hard and preserve their own meat with the help of the curing process. This is how you can preserve a pork shoulder:


1) Things Required

Besides a pork shoulder, you should have salt, sugar, saltpeter, minced garlic, towels, plastic wrap, and a container that can be sealed. If you want a more spicy meat, then feel free to use juniper berries, and other such spices or dried herbs.


2) Step 1

Combine the salt, sugar, saltpeter, garlic, and any other spice or herbs and crush them together into a smooth paste.


3) Step 2

Take the pork shoulder, which should be trimmed to perfection, and rub the cure mixture into the meat surface. Ensure that all the meat is covered properly in the cure. Now place the pork shoulder in a sealable container and put it into the fridge for 3 days. During these 3 days, you need to turn the pork shoulder over twice every day before sealing it back again. Keep basting the liquid, which leaks out of the meat, back onto the pork shoulder.


4) Step 3

With 3 days over, take the pork should out of the refrigerator and rinse it under running cold water to remove all the seasonings. Pat it dry and wrap it in cling film tightly. Put it back into the refrigerator for about a fortnight more.


5) Step 4

Remove the pork shoulder or a portion of it three days before you plan to eat it. Keep it soaked in cold water for all the 3 days, while changing the water every 24 hours.


There is a lot you can do with a cured pork belly or shoulder. You can smoke it or you can make starters out of it for your upcoming Sunday brunch. Knowing how to dry cure pork has its advantages. In case you have something to add to this blog, do let us know via your comments.


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How To Dry Cure Pork