What to do with fresh pork sides?

What to do with fresh pork sides?

by Sonja

I ordered 1/2 a hog and while answering questions from the butcher I ordered a fresh side of ham (bacon) instead of smoked. Not realizing the difference I cooked the fresh side which was absolutely horrible!

So now I've got 8 packages of about 6 pounds each of fresh sides (looks like bacon) that I need to do a wet cure for or alternately cook up somehow w/ spices prior to eating it.

I have a severe allergy to nitrates/nitrites/sulfates and sulfites so I cannot use the Insta-cure nor other containing those ingredients.

I am definitely open to suggestions. The saltpetre contains nitrates.

Next year definitely ordering the nitrate free smoked sides!! But I need help w/ what I have now. :)


A fresh side of pork won't keep long so you will need to do something with it fairly quickly. Because you have allergies I suggest instead of curing the pork, if you can, smoke it. After smoking your pork sides you will end up with bacon.

We have some simple plans on how to go about making a number of different smokehouses on the website.

You could also grind the meat to make sausages, or if you don't want to do either, then you could just pan fry the meat with a little oil and seasoning, serve with mash and gravy.

Perhaps our readers have some more ideas?


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Nov 27, 2015
We Cure all our own Bacon
by: The Haphazard Prepper

Will never buy store bacon again after tasting our own! You'll need to do a cure on the pork belly first. Most will tell you 7 + 1 days, for 7 days in the cure, then 1 day on a drying rack in the fridge, but we've found it actually smokes better if you skip the drying rack day.


Your basic cure is .75 Tablespoon salt and sugar, and either 1 teaspoon of pink salt (Prague powder) or 7.5 teaspoons of Morton's TenderQuick per 5 pounds of meat.

After that, get creative! Our absolute favorite that makes everyone beg for more is a mix of maple syrup, jalapenos, habaneros, garlic, red onion, and cilantro.

You want to rub your belly with the cure itself first, then add on your herbs and seasonings.

If you're using a wet ingredient like molasses or maple syrup, put that on last. I do all this with the slab in a 2 gallon ziplock, so less mess in my kitchen. Then into the fridge for 7 days.

You need to turn it over every single day. On the 8th day, take it out, rinse it WELL (if you don't it will be too salty to eat), and either put on a drying rack in the fridge for 24 hours, or else straight to the smoker (which is what I do).

I cold smoke for a few hours at around 115, then the temp tends to rise on its own. Take the internal temperature to 150F, then pull it. Let it cool, then slice.

We toss in the freezer long enough to firm it up for easier slicing.

Nov 26, 2013
Making Bacon from Pork Sides
by: car 54

I do not know how old this question is but I'll chime in anyway.

Smoking fresh pork side does not make bacon. It makes smoked fresh pork side. Bacon is made after the curing process. You can do this safely without using pink salt (instacure, etc.).

In a non-reactive baking dish with a rack, I use glass, rub kosher salt on ALL the exposed sides. Obviously, the more salt the saltier it will be. My family likes maple bacon so I rub real maple syrup on all sides of the slab (yummy).

Cover and refrigerate for three or four days or until no more liquid drains from the slab, turning over each day and draining the liquid. Again the longer the cure the saltier your bacon will be. At the end of the process it is now bacon.

Rinse your bacon under cold water and let it rest in the fridge for a spell (30 min or so), slice and cook. If too salty soak in cold water - 30 minutes at a time until you reach the saltiness you desire.

That's it! You will never buy store bought bacon again. Enjoy !!

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