The Place for real traditions.Irish Culture begins in prehistory. First was a paleolithic mindset-based on hunting. The spirits of animals aid in this. Groups had totems- birds, boar,for identity. Next came a Neolithic awareness- crops, agriculture,farm animals. Villages and lineages. Multiple gods became single gods with many powers. Chieftains by birth ruled. Next the Bronze age with rule by heroes. We got cookbooks and recipes left the mind. How do we know what to do? That's our purpose.

Irish Chieftain's feast

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Irish Bacon-Boiling Bacon that is....the Wiltshire Cure

Corned beef found in the USA is not something which has a long tradition
in Ireland- certainly it has made its way there as with everything else
but not a long tradition. If you wish to work with beef then use the
spiced beef recipe- much more flavour but similar to a corned beef. If
you wish to cook something with cabbage you should use boiling bacon
generally available from web based importers of which there are several.
This is not generally pork belly but a joint, boned above the ham or
collar. This is nothing at all like American bacon. It has a sweet
rather than a salty flavour and is in texture slightly like corned beef
but not as rough or fatty as when brisket is used.

The process of making the ham is not all that complex. The process is
known as a "wet cure" or Wiltshire Cure. The steps are laid out below.
You can purchase cure mixes ready made. The essence of it all is being
very clean, measuring out the ingredients properly to create a proper
brine and then watching the time and controlling the storage temps.

Generally sugar is added-treacle-or molasses and at times beer. All must
be thoroughly boiled first. Spices seem to vary. Spices noted are
nutmeg, juniper berries etc...

The meat can be smoked but is generally not smoked. In Wiltshire- a pork
producing region of England they also do a salt dry cure but this is not
what you want for boiling bacon. Recipes are often closely guarded. Farm
workers on holiday would bring their own prized bacon with them.
Although they used a common pot each man would tie his bacon with a
special identifiable string.

Some recipes and sources to get you thinking-
Steps for performing a Wiltshire Cure

1. Start with pork sides

2. Brine injection

2.. NaC3 placed in scapula

3. cover brine 3-5 days 4-5 degrees C.

4. Drain

5. Maturation 5 days 4-5 degrees C

-A Colour Atlas of Food Quality Control
By Jane P. Sutherland, A. H. Varnam
1986 (see Google Books)

A typical cure follows:

250 gms salt

150 gms Molasses or Demerara sugar

10 gms Saltpetre (Potassium Nitrate) – Anti bacterial, provides pink colour.


Use 40 gms of cure mix per ½ Kg of pork hind leg. Add the mix to enough
liquid to totally cover the meat. The liquid typically can consist of 3
parts water and 1 part ale.

Pickle the meat for 4 days. Remove the meat from the pickle and hang for
a further 2 weeks in a cool room.

Traditionally, the Wiltshire cure does not require smoking.

Jane Grigson's English Brine Ingredients:
7 pt Water
1 1/2 lb Sea or coarse salt
1 lb Dark brown sugar
2 oz Saltpeter
1 Bayleaf
1 Sprig thyme
10 Juniper berries; crushed
10 Peppercorns; crushed
Jane Grigson's English Brine Instructions:

Boil hard for 5 minutes.
Leave to cool.
Clean crock or bucket and lid with soda dissolved in boiling water,
rinse well, and leave to DRAIN dry.
Pour in cold brine, though a muslin lined strainer.
Immerse the meat (duck, pork, beef, mutton) and keep it below the
surface by laying a piece of boiled wood, or scrupulously clean plate on
Cover and keep in a dry place at a temperature below 60°F Salting time.

This depends on the thickness of the meat.
Trotters, 24 hrs, a leg of pork can take 10 days.
Joints required for roasting rather than boiling will be improved by a
12 hour soak in brine, without tasting too salty afterwards.
In home conditions, in a cool larder, meat can be kept in brine for up
to a fortnight or three weeks, sometimes longer.
The moments islands of white mould begin to float on the surface, remove
meat and throw away the brine.
The crock will need washing in boiling soda again.
The meat will be OK.
Recipe Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery - Jane Grigson

And another.....

2kg course salt
50g saltpetre (You can get this at the pharmacy)
6 ltr water.

Bring all of above to the boil and then boil for 10 mins.

Allow to cool completely and then place in a container which can be
glass, plastic or earthenware but definately not metal. Put the meat
into the liquid and make sure it is fully submersed in the brine by
placing a board on top of it. Allow to cure for 12 hours per kilo.

When you take them out dry them with a cotton cloth and hang them in a
cool place to dry. ( I hang mine in the fridge) They must be hanging and
not touching anything else. Dry for at least 24 hours and then they can
be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

There are further recipes for Wiltshire cure which involves molasses,
beer and is lovely or a Suffolk cure which involves vinegar, cloves and
brown sugar.

And another....

Wiltshire Ham Cure

Course : Pork
Serves: 1
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 1/2 pounds cooking salt
4 ounces saltpeter
2 ounces prunella
1/2 ounce juniper berries
2 pounds treacle
1/2 pound bay salt
1 ounce black pepper
2 quarts beer
Mix together 1 1/2 lbs cooking salt, 4 oz saltpeter, 2 oz sale prunella,
1/2 oz juniper berries, 2 lbs treacle, 1/2 lb bay salt, 1 oz black
pepper, 2 qts beer. Boil together, cool slightly & pour over ham, which
has been sprinkled with cooking salt, left 12 hours and wiped dry. Turn
& rub pickle in each day for 1 month. Dry well before storing. I said
some time back that I would post these ham & bacon cures. They are all
traditional methods, and assume for the most part that you have a whole
pig to deal with. I have not used all of them, but have based cures on
some. If you need any further info, let me know. Some scaling will be
needed, and some modification. I have not bothered to update units or
nomenclature, but that will add to the fun :-)

Cure sources:

I have found the greatest difficulty with available recipes is that they
tend to assume that you know how to make the cure brine and adjust it
properly for the cut of meat you are using. Perhaps the best way to go
is to select a prepared mix which will have proportions laid out
correctly. Enloy!