Usually bacon is just something on the grocery list. It’s breakfast meat in a shrink-wrapped bag. It should be so much more than that, though. It’s something you can (and should) be making from scratch because it’s not only easy, but also delicious. This chapter is going to take you through some of my favorite homemade recipes. The process is surprisingly simple.

First step? Pork belly. Find a good one from a butcher you trust. Bacon is so simple that it’s important you’re getting good meat. You want the flavor to shine through and you want the meat to really be the star. Second step? Cure. Our classic recipe has salt, sugar, and a few spices. If you want to do a dry cure, you’ll take these and rub them all over the meat and then stick it in the fridge for up to ten days. A wet cure is pretty similar with one big difference—water. I switch back and forth with my method, but usually use wet when I’m adding lots of flavors because they’re often easier to combine that way. Third step? Smoking. This one is not optional if you’re looking to make bacon. That classic smoky flavor you’re used to only happens one way. If you want to skip it, you’ll get something closer to Italian pancetta.

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