BarBacon Wet Cure (Brined) 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

My wet cure is basically my dry cure, but with water added. Wet brines are good for when you have a less fatty piece of meat that needs some moisture, or when you need to evenly disperse flavor when cooking with ingredients like chipotles in adobo or fruit juice.

Ingredients

  • 12 cups (2.8 l) cold water
  • ½ cup (90 g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pink curing salt (aka Instacure #1)
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1 (5-pound/2.3-kg) pork belly, skin removed and saved for another use (see, step 2)
  • Soaked and drained apple, hickory, or cherry wood chips

Method

In a large food-safe container with a tight-fitting lid, whisk together the water, kosher salt, pink salt, and sugar until it dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add the pork belly and make sure it stays submerged. I use a plastic container filled with cans to weigh it down.

Cure the belly in the refrigerator for 8 days.

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.