Last Update: 4/03/2018

Curin' and Storin' Smoked Pork the Lazy Way

Smoked pig tails in kosher salt

Nothin' Vanholio loves in his beans more than some smoked, cured pork – bacon, ham, hocks, tails, and the rest. Gives it that downhome flavor. Here's how he gets it on the vanlife road.

Why Can't Ya Just Buy Smoked Pork for Vanlife?

But goin' solo and livin' in a van, they's a problem. The smoked meats at Walmart and grocery stores is sold in too bigga packages, about as much as he uses over a month or two.

And most modern smoked meats ain't fully cured ta last without refrigeration. Instead, they got minimum salt so as ya don't have ta soak 'em first, like ya do with traditional cured meat.

So that leaves two choices: Get some kinda freezer set up to hold the extra or buy old-fashioned uncooked, cured pork.

Well, settin' up a freezer that'll be cold 'nough ta keep meat fresh for a couple months without goin' off or gettin' freezer burn, is easier said than done.

Buyin' old-fashioned smoked meats is an option. But it's expensive. And if I buy local, I gotta source the places (ain't many!) and adjust my travel plans to hit 'em. If I buy online, I got the smallish hassle a intersectin' their delivery ta my route.

So why not make it myself, I asked?

Salt Down Store-Bought Smoked Pork for Vanlife – Easy!

The how-to's I found online for curin' meat are all about startin' from scratch (like in the video below). Makes sense for sticks-n-bricks folks. But Vanholio ain't got much room, nor patience either.

Thought ta myself: Why the hell don't I just buy some at Walmart and pack it in salt? That's how it all started way back when!

That's just what I did! Bought a package a smoked pig tails, which are perfect size for one-person batches a beans. Broke 'em up into smaller pieces. Then packed 'em inta a plastic jug with coarse Kosher salt all around.

The salt keeps out bacteria and absorbs more moisture from the meat. It gets saltier and tougher, like the old-fashion kind.

Now, were I wantin' ta season vegetables, I'd need ta soak the tails overnight ta drive out the extra salt. But as I'm cookin' dry beans that take hours anyway, the tails salt my beans as they cook out. By the time the beans is soft and the meats fallin' off the bone, it's just about right.

No, it's better than right. It's damn well Heaven on Earth! Yum, yum!!!

Is Storin' Modern Smoked Pork in Salt Safe?

Well, I ain't makin' no guarantees. What I can tell ya is that I've had that pork salted over a month in the van, sometimes in temps up ta 90 F (32 C). The latest I pulled out smelled fresh, tasted fresh. (I nibbled a bit raw ta check). Cooked up delicious. I never got so much as a rumbly tummy nor the burps, let alone the trots.

It's your own call if ya wanna give it a whirl. Be smart. But it worked out just fine for Vanholio! Kicked up the quality a his vanlife cookin' a bigass notch!

Old-Fashion Cured Pork From Scratch

Interestin' video. Not how Vanholio does it (as you read above). Love the Townsends YouTube channel, BTW.

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  1. Very nice! I'm going to have to set something up to give this a try.