It makes my blood boil when that saline sludge starts oozing from bacon. Even supposedly good quality bacon! There may be an argument for the bargain basement range on the supermarket shelves, but not for bacon from the overpriced ‘farm shops’ and ‘farmer’s markets’, the traditional butchers and the expensive deli counters. Any retailer selling this style of bacon is simply saying – let them eat sludge!
At first glance it seems unbelievable that in ‘Foodie UK’ that people can be ‘palmed off’ with this sludge bacon! Unfortunately, for the shopper it’s almost impossible to tell from the packet or the butchers slab that the bacon when fried will be sludge free. The below may help a little, but at the moment there are few guarantees in the bacon world.
Lots of white sludge:
Most bargain basement and medium priced bacon on the shelves is cured by injecting a saline solution into the pork loin. The quickest and cheapest curing process, but it oozes lots of white sludge.
Not as much white sludge, but most still ooze some:
Dry cured by tumbling. Salt and pork loin are tumbled together (bit like a tumble drier) until cured – this normally takes a few hours. This process can affect the flavour quality of the cured bacon. My experience is that most still ooze some white sludge.
Wet cured? The pork loin is soaked in salt solution for several days. The length of the time depends on the producer. The very best producers will soak for around two weeks. My experience is that most still ooze some white sludge.
Little or No white sludge:
Dry cured by hand? The salt is rubbed into the pork loin by hand and left to cure naturally for around two weeks. The old fashioned traditional way of curing bacon – this style oozes fat rather than white sludge.
Denhay Smoked West Country Dry Cured Back Bacon
Helen Browning’s Organic Unsmoked Back Bacon
Helen Browning’s Organic is one of the super-premium brands on the fresh meat shelves. A tasty; but it does ooze a tad of white sludge at the beginning of the frying, but it’s hardly there at the finish. Worth a try – if the style and price fits.