Making bacon is easier than you may think, all it takes is a few ingredients and a little curing time. The best thing about making your own bacon is you can choose quality of cuts of meat, spice and smoke it as you wish, and make it in big batches that can be frozen for several months. If you've only got a week, follow the directions for the dry cure recipe. If you've got two weeks, try the wet cure. Always allow an extra day for drying prior to smoking and an extra day to "set" the smoke flavor after smoking. If you find the bacon too salty after curing, it may need a an extra day in the cold water soak as well.
1 slab pork belly (4-5 pounds)
1/3 cup kosher salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Smokehouse Curing Salt (pink salt)
DRY CURE DIRECTIONS:
In a medium bowl, mix dry cure ingredients until thoroughly combined. If the skin is still on the pork belly, remove it and discard or use for another recipe. Cover all sides of the pork belly with a generous amount of the dry cure and place in a sealable plastic bag. All of the cure should be used. Seal and refrigerate for 6-7 days. Turn the pork belly over every few days for even curing.
WET CURE INGREDIENTS:
2 cups boiling water
14 cups ice cold water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Smokehouse Curing Salt (pink salt)
WET CURE DIRECTIONS:
In a large bowl or brine vessel, combine kosher salt, sugar, pepper, and curing salt with 2 cups of boiling water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining 14 cups of ice cold water and stir well. Place pork belly slab in cure liquid and weigh it down with something so as it is completely submerged. No part of the pork belly should be exposed to air. Cover and refrigerate 12 - 14 days.
AFTER CURING DIRECTIONS:
Remove pork belly from wet or dry cure. Rinse well under cold water.
If desired, this is when you can test your bacon for saltiness. Pat pork belly dry and cut a few slices of bacon off. The outer edge will be a bit saltier so be sure to test at least two strips.
In a small skillet, fry pork belly until done and taste. If your bacon is too salty for your liking, place the pork belly in a bowl of fresh water and refrigerate 8 - 12 hours to remove excess salt. If you are happy with the saltiness, proceed with drying.
Pat pork belly dry and place on a drying rack. Refrigerate, uncovered 12 - 24 hours.
Place pork belly on smoker rack.
Add additional no-salt seasonings and/or more black pepper at this time if desired. Fill Little Chief or Big Chief pan with Smokehouse Products Wood Chips. Plug in smoker. Smoke pork belly 3 - 4 hours using at least 2 pans of chips. Try to keep temperature under 150 degrees by opening the smoker occasionally if necessary. On a hot day, you may need to prop doors slightly ajar. Bacon can also be smoked using the Smoke Chief Cold Smoke Generator, there is no concern for pork belly getting too hot as no heat is generated with the Smoke Chief. After smoking, cover bacon slab with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 - 24 hours before slicing/dicing and cooking.
Refrigerate until ready to serve or vacuum seal for longer refrigeration storage or before freezing. Bacon can be sliced or cubed or diced prior to vacuum sealing for easier kitchen prep. Bacon can also be precooked and frozen for quick, convenient meal additions.
Serving suggestions include the classic BLT.
Recipe by: Tiffany Haugen