You’re probably reading this post because, like me, you’re addicted to bacon. There is just something about the smoky, crispy pork that makes everything in life better.
Unfortunately, the addiction can get a little pricey. Good bacon is going for $10-15 a pound, so when I came across a 10-pound pork belly at Costco for under $3 a pound, I knew the time had come for me to make homemade bacon.
There is one very important ingredient you’ll need in addition to the pork belly. That’s the pink curing salt #1. I thought about driving all over town to find it, and then I realized with Amazon Prime, I could have it in two days. Click, order, done.
The other ingredients in your bacon cure can vary greatly. Some recipes call for brown sugar and a combo of spices like paprika, garlic and black pepper. I prefer using coconut palm sugar as my sweetener. The grains are larger (like kosher salt).
And since I have a cabinet full of barbecue rubs, I just grab a bottle that I know rocks on pork – my own award-winning Pork Rub. It’s got a little heat and a little sweet.
The nine-day wait
The hardest part about this homemade bacon recipe is waiting nine days for it to cure, but trust me, every day is worth it. Once you rub your pork belly, seal it in a zip-top bag and throw it in the fridge for seven days. Once a day, pay it a visit, and flip it over.
After one week. rinse it off, and place it on a baking rack on a rimmed sheet pan. Then, place it back in the fridge uncovered for two more days. This will help with the curing process even more by drying out some additional moisture.
Finally, homemade bacon day is here
Following the two-day wait, you can finally light up the smoker. Play around with different woods. I like using cherry, hickory and oak. Heat your smoker to 200F degrees, and place the pork belly on the grate. Smoke it until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 150F degrees. It will take about 2 hours.
The meat is easier to slice if you chill it, so I let it rest on the counter to cool for about 45 minutes. Then, I pop it in the freezer for another 30 minutes. You can slice it with a knife, but if you have a meat slicer, you’ll get better, even results. I set the meat slicer to “4” for thick-cut bacon.
I guarantee you’ll want to cook up a batch of homemade bacon right away. You can refrigerate the rest for up to a week or pop it in the freezer.
Honey Heat Homemade Bacon
This recipe explains how to cure and smoke your own homemade bacon, to help you save tons of money on your bacon addiction.
Combine the salts, sugar and rub. Spread half on each side of the pork belly. Place in a ziptop bag and refrigerate.
Every day, flip the bag over and rub it a bit. Repeat for 7 days.
Rinse and pat dry. Place a rack over a rimmed sheet pan. Place the pork belly on the rack and refrigerate uncovered for 2 days.
Using cherry, hickory or apple wood or pellets, set up your smoker to 200F degrees. Place the pork belly on the smoker and cook, until it reaches an internal temperature of 150F degrees, about 2 hours.
Slice to your desired thickness.
To cook, heat oven to 400 degrees. Lay the slices of bacon on a rack on a foil-lined rimmed sheet pan. Bake to your preferred crispiness.
If you have any leftovers, wrap uncooked bacon in plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to one week or freeze for up to six months.
Make sure the hard rind is removed from your pork belly. I get mine at Costco, and the rind is already removed.You can also cook the pork belly in the oven at 200 degrees, but it won't have that same smoky flavor bacon is known for.