Home Cured Bacon Chops

Thursday 15 June 2017

 I had never had a bacon chop until I moved over here to the UK.  They used to carry them at the butchers down at the Parade of Shops on the other side of our community, but that butchers ended up going out of business. Sadly, he could not compete with the multitude of large chain grocery shops in our area.  I think its really sad when that happens.  I really do. My heart longs for the days when you bought everything you ate locally and in season, produced with old fashioned love and integrity and by people you know and love.

I love bacon.  There used to be a Butcher shop back where I lived in Canada that sold his own home smoked bacon. Oh boy but it was some good.  I often think about it and how delicious it was. I found a recipe in River Cottage Every Day, by Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall for home cured bacon chops and I was really keen to try them. He's a great cook and largely unknown in North America.  You North American's are missing out on a real gem!

You begin by creating a rub using fine sea salt, brown sugar, black pepper, shredded bayleaf and crushed juniper berries.  This gets rubbed into four thick boneless pork loin chops and then placed in the refrigerator to cure for 12 hours at the very least, but no longer than 24 (for extra thick chops.) 

My chops were of a medium thickness and this is what they looked like after they had been sitting for about 14 hours.  You can see that quite a lot of liquid has been released.  You need to rinse them really well under cold running water and then dry them off with some kitchen paper towelling.

After that  you can keep them in the refrigerator, covered, for up to five or six days.  They are not the bright pink of store bought bacon because they are no nitrates involved, which I think is a good thing, don't you?

These are completely natural, using only natural ingredients, nothing artificial here.  And they pan grilled for about six minutes per side, they turned out beautiful.  A bit salty, but I think the extra two hours was to blame for that.  I will do this again the next time we want bacon chops because they were truly delicious and I loved that it was something I could do myself.  Who knows if I get more adept at it, I might even experiment with some other flavours!

*Home Cured Bacon Chops*
Makes 4
These are simple to do and delicious.  this is a simple small scale technique that anyone can use with excellent results. You can also use this method to cure pork belly.  Use pork belly with the rind on, cut into 3 inch thick strips.  They take twice as long however to cure. 

50g fine sea salt (3 1/2 TBS)
25g soft brown sugar or golden caster sugar (2 TBS)
3 fresh bayleaves, shredded (Use kitchen scissors)
12 - 16 juniper berries, crushed
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 large boneless pork loin chops 

Combine the salt, sugar, bayleaves, juniper berries and black pepper in a non-reactive dish. (I use a plastic tub with a lid.  Add the meat and rub it all over with the cure. Cover and leave in a cold place (a cold larder or a refrigerator) overnight, or for at least 12 hours, but no longer than 24 (for extra thick pork chops).  Turn the chops once or twice in the mixture. 

At the end of that time, rinse well under cold water and pat dry.  Your chops are now ready to cook.  They will keep in the refrigerator for up to five to six days. 

To cook, heat a bit of oil in a large skillet and add the chops.  Cook for six minutes per side until golden and cooked through.

I really hope that you will give this a go. It was so easy to do and the results are impeccable. In this day when most of the things we eat are so highly processed, it is nice to have something which can take you back to the basic values and integrity of food preparation that our forefathers practiced.  I felt quite mother earth.  Bon Appetit! 

Hmmm . . .  I wonder if I could interest Todd in a smoker . . .


  1. Where do you purchase juniper berries. I am in the states and I have picked them in the mountains of Nevada. Would they need to be dried before using. I would love to try the chops.

    1. Hi Lynne, I bought mine at a grocery store in the spice section. Mine were dried, but my bay leaves were fresh and I can't think of why you couldn't use fresh Juniper berries either. If you wanted to buy dry, you can purchase them on Amazon. I did some research for you and here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=juniper+berries

    2. PS - I really hope that you try them. Make sure your chops are thick and that you don't leave them for more than 12 hours before rinsing the salt off! xo

  2. Jacques enjoys curing his own meats..he has shied away from all meats w/ sodium nitite etc..for yrs now..yrs..so he does his own curing..I neve even knew you could buy bacon chops..I bet the flavor is fantastic.Love the taste.

    1. We love bacon chops every now and again as a treat! I Bet Jacques home cures are fabulous! Xo

  3. Made these up this morning....Forgot to set them up last night. My chops are not a very thick cut so thinking they will do for dinner tonight. Do you think it would work to do a batch of these, cure them, dry them off and then freeze them so they are ready to cook when I want them?

    1. Sorry for the late response Rebecca! I am in Scotland at the moment. I hope these turned out for you. I can't see why you could not freeze them after during! Please do,let me know how you got on!

  4. My husband is English but we live in New York. He HATES American (streaky) bacon, but he loves English bacon and is pining for a bacon butty. I am going to try this recipe with some thin chops and see what happens!


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