This is the recipe that started it all. Sure, making your own bacon is a labor of love and takes some time, but so do all great things. This is my “basic” recipe, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to variations of flavors. I include a few of my favorite variations below to get your creative juices flowing, but feel free to allow the chef in you to come out. At BarBacon, I cure whole bellies that generally weigh between 10 to 12 pounds (4.5 to 5.4 kg) each. That’s a lot of bacon and a lot of space needed in a refrigerator, so I’ve halved the quantities here, which should be much more manageable for the home cook.
Place the pork belly on a large rimmed sheet pan.
Combine the kosher salt, sugar, and pink salt in a medium bowl. Sprinkle the cure over the entire belly on both sides, rubbing in to make sure that the mixture penetrates the flesh. It will seem like a lot of salt, but that’s okay. You are curing the meat, not seasoning it, and it needs all of that salt.
Seal the belly in a large zip-top bag and place in a pan just big enough to fit it (and store in your refrigerator).
Cure the belly in the refrigerator for 8 days, turning it over daily to redistribute the liquid that will accumulate.
Drain the pork belly in a colander or large basin and rinse well with cold water. Blot it dry with paper towels. Place the belly on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet in the refrigerator or in a cool place in front of a fan (the goal is to create good airflow), and let it dry until the surface feels dry and tacky, at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions and
Transfer the bacon to a clean wire rack over a baking sheet and let it cool to room temperature. Tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.
To serve, thinly slice the bacon against the grain and cook in a skillet over medium-low heat until crisp. Bacon will last up to 1 week in the fridge; simply slice off pieces as needed.
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