BarBacon Homemade Dry Cure Bacon

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes about

    3½ pounds

Appears in

The Bacon Bible

The Bacon Bible

By Peter Sherman and Stephanie Banyas

Published 2019

  • About

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.

Ingredients

  • 1 (5-pound/2.3-kg) pork belly, skin removed and saved for another use (see, step 2)
  • ½ cup (90 g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar 2 teaspoons pink curing salt (aka Instacure #1)
  • Soaked and drained apple, hickory, or cherry wood chips

Method

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 preheat it to between 200 and 225°F (93 and 107°C). Add the wood chips to the coals. Lay the pork belly directly on the grill grate opposite the coals (indirect heat). Smoke the pork belly until bronzed with wood smoke and firm, 2 to 3 hours. The internal temperature should reach 155°F (68°C). (Insert an instant-read thermometer probe through the side of the bacon at one end.)

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.