The Paris issue

Our October issue is on sale - the Paris special. Grab your copy for all-things Parisian, plus ultimate French baking recipes and more.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before October 24, 2016 and receive 3 BONUS ISSUES - save 46%.

Gourmet on your iPad

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad.

Meet the producers: Voodoo Bacon

Voodoo Bacon

Voodoo Bacon

It's bacon, but not as we normally know it: nitrate-free and dry-cured.

WHO Mississippi-born chef George Francisco has been busy finessing his bacon recipe since migrating to Australia in 2001. His aim? To recreate the intensely flavoured, southern-style, dry-cured smoked bacon he remembers from childhood. Last year, the expat left his executive chef role at Tower Estate in the Hunter Valley and relocated to sunny Noosa to set up Voodoo Bacon.

WHAT Each slab of bacon is handmade. Francisco sources bellies from free-range pigs from Ipswich in Queensland and applies a dry-cure of rock salt, brown sugar, juniper, thyme, garlic and assorted spices. The applewood used for smoking is from the Sunshine Coast. "As you cure, it gets salty, so you need smoke to get the balance right," says Francisco. "The applewood gives an equal amount of smoke, salt and sugar." Most commercial bacon is wet-cured to add bulk. Dry-curing takes longer and intensifies the flavour, but sheds around 40 per cent of the original piece of pork's weight. Francisco currently produces around 300 kilos per week, and his goal is to up it to 1,000 kilos. "I want to keep it artisanal." He cures his pork bellies skin-on for 10 to 15 days. "I've tried to reduce the salt level and change the recipe, but you just lose flavour."

WHY Voodoo bacon is nitrate-free. "There's nothing in there no one's not heard of," says Francisco. "Lots of bacon contains preservatives or they've used liquid smoke - you can smell that as soon as you open the packaging." He argues that with sell-by dates and refrigeration, there's no need for preservatives and we should get used to the natural colour of bacon, which turns brown when it's exposed to air. While Francisco sells it in super-thin slices for convenience, his preference is to sell it by the handbranded slab. "Nobody buys pre-sliced onions because they oxidise and taste bad, so why buy pre-sliced bacon?"

WHERE Voodoo Bacon is available wholesale at Vic's Premium Quality Meat Sydney and Melbourne. For retail, see Edgecliff's Gourmet Life, Victor Churchill and Vic's Meat Market at Sydney Fish Market. In Queensland, see Forest Glen's Kunara or Noosaville's Eumundi Meats. Customers can also order online from


Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
How to barbecue like Heston Blumenthal
Four ways with olives
GT's first hardcover cookbook is coming soon
Sweet Stone brigadeiros
The second Gourmet Traveller Chinese-language edition is here
Recipes by Stanbuli
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
things to do this autumn

Whether it's foraging for wild mushrooms in a picturesque Victorian forest or watching a film by moonlight in Darwin, we've got you covered with 20 exciting autumn experiences from around Australia.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

You might also like...

Hot 100 2015 - Food

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

The producers: Two Rivers Green Tea

A leading local tea exporter now offers his leaves to the do...

The producers: Colony honey

A selection of regional monofloral honeys sourced direct fro...

Liquid gold

We find ourselves inexorably drawn to salt caramel in a jar....

The producers: Atssu Divers

Hand-dived abalone, turban shell and sea urchin.

Making a scene

Entertainer Julia Zemiro notes there’s little difference bet...

Game of Thrones food

Pat Nourse caught up with George RR Martin to talk about one...

Deutscher’s Turkey Farm

When it comes to talking turkey, the best birds have lived t...

Sandor Ellix Katz Q&A

Food fermentation 'revivalist' and guru Sandor Ellix Katz di...

The producers: Alexandrina Jersey milk

Meet the producers of the creme de la creme of Australian fu...

On the pass

Looking back over the 20 years she's been in business, Phill...

Gamze smokehouse

Bringing local flavour to artisan-made bacon.

Gourmet Traveller Gourmet Fast app

Now, here's a mighty handful: GT's Gourmet Fast recipes are ...

Food emoji we wish existed

What? More than 200 new pictograms in the latest Emoji set, ...

What is jumbuck?

The jumbuck has leapt straight from the pages of Banjo Pater...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.