Making bacon at home is surprisingly easy but a bit time consuming. If you have some salt, a refrigerator, a smoker, and a week to kill you can have the ultimate food at home! The nicest thing about home curing bacon is you can control the flavor profile. For this round of making bacon we went with a honey cure and hickory smoke.
Making bacon at home, starts with two things, pork belly and a salt cure. Since bacon has caught on like wildfire in the media, pork belly has become easier to find. It once was the province of Asian and Hispanic markets, but it can now be found at the local butcher or supermarket.
The Dry Cure
- 16 oz Kosher Salt
- 8 oz Sugar
- 8 tsp Pink Salt (Insta Cure #1)
A dry cure is one of the few things we weigh out around here. We are big fans of standard measurements, but when it comes to beating back the botulism fairy we don’t fool around. The Pink Salt has nitrates in it, which inhibits the growth of botulism spores. There is a bit of controversy when it comes to using nitrates, but we are big proponents of it. Botulism isn’t something to fool around with.
- Spread some cure out on a baking sheet.
- Firmly press the Pork Belly into the cure on all sides. You are shooting for a nice uniform coating.
- Place the coated belly into a large Zip-Loc bag and place it flat in the refrigerator.
- Turn the soon-to-be bacon every other day. This redistributes the liquid which aids in the curing process.
- On the 7th day feel the bacon, it should have a new found firmness to it.
- Soak the bacon in cold water for 10 minutes, then change out the water and soak for 10 more minutes.
- Pat the bacon dry.
- Pre-heat your smoker to 200 degrees and smoke the bacon to 150 degrees internal
- While it is still hot use a large knife to remove the skin.
- Wait for it to cool, wrap, and place it in the refrigerator.
This round of bacon we added 1/4 cup of honey to the Zip-Loc while the bacon cured. We also threw a handful of hickory chips into the smoker. The bacon came out with a nice sweetness to it and just enough smokey flavor. Making bacon is a fun and rewarding exercise. We generally make a pound and a half a week around here. It is awesome in all sorts of recipes, we especially like it in a big Dutch Oven full of beans.
For further reading on bacon check out Amazing Ribs. . .
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