Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Bacon is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about pork or specifically pork belly, so it seems like the best place to start. I took a nice meaty piece of belly and some good size trimmings to use for my homemade bacon.

I removed the rind (skin). I know a lot of recipes tell you to leave rind on but I find you get more flavor from the cure by removing it.

Give them a nice rub down with cure and place them in Ziploc bags to cure in the frig.

Be sure to coat all sides of belly pieces before putting in bags - don't be stingy with the cure!

The dry cure mix:

1 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dry maple
1 tsp mace
1/2 tsp juniper
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp clove
1/2 tsp red pepper
pink cure

After 8 days on the cure, turning every day, I removed from bags and rinsed in cold water. Dry them off with a clean dish towel.

At this point you technically have bacon. I had to cut some samples to see how it tastes, but I wasn't done yet - I still want to smoke my bacon for even more flavor!

I wrapped the pieces in paper towels and put back in the frig to dry for 4 days before the smoking process. When dried they hit the smoker for 4hrs at 150deg.F, using hickory and sugar maple wood pellets.

Bacon usually will call for a cold smoking process with temperatures not going over 100deg.F. I did a hot smoke on the bacon. The last hour I set temp to 165deg.F so the bacon was fully cook at end of smoking.

Bacon fried up in a pan, crispy, salty, is always good - but I can't begin to describe how incredible it was right off the smoker. Fatty, smoky and it just melt in your mouth, then all those other subtle favors from the cure kick in! Who needs cold smoke, this was awesome.



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