The Gascon salted pork called Ventrèche is bacon that at its most traditional seems to be cured with just salt as a curing agent. However, commercially produced varieties seem to contain nitrite curing salts. This Cookery School article infers that it’s a fresh product used after a day’s salting – however, this by an attendee at the same school explains:
“After salting the belly and adding pepper to taste, we tie it up… …then suspend the roll to smoke it in the giant kitchen hearth overnight before hanging it in Camont’s ancient pantry for use throughout the season”.
That goes some way to show that it is a cured product (albeit that this one’s without nitrite). Of course, it introduces smoking into the equation just to confuse the issue. Other sources refer to it as an unsmoked product and use nitrite or nitrated curing salts; what all varieties have in common is a noticeable swirl of black pepper between the rolled layers of meat, although it can also be sold ‘flat’. It would appear that it can also contain garlic.
Whilst there are already quite a few cure calculators for bacon on this site, none allow you to choose your own levels of salt, sugar etc. This one enables you to do just that whilst still curing to either EU or US commercial standards.
It has not been possible to present this calculator in the style of the rest of the site but it is fully functioning and accurate. It can be used for any type of dry curing project, not just for bacon.
Links at both the top and bottom of the page will return you to the main site when finished.
I recently posted a bacon tutorial that I wrote originally for a sausage making forum. The recipe used was an amalgamation of a few already posted by myself and others and as such, was a compromise. Whilst it makes very nice bacon, it is a little sweet for me. The recipe I use most regularly differs in that it’s saltier and has less sugar. The method and other instructions are exactly the same as in the bacon and dry curing tutorial.