Making Bacon from Pork Belly
Scott & I welcomed a pellet smoker to the family a couple of weeks ago. It was a long time coming ... we have talked and drooled and talked and saved and drooled some more about adding a smoker to our cooking arsenal. It's been a few years in the making. I have a long list of meat cuts I want to cook on the smoker ... there's certain cuts that customers and friends have been raving about and I couldn't wait to jump in and make them!
First on the list ... homemade bacon.
Our butcher cures, smokes, and slices the Lazuli Farms bacon for us that we offer in our meat shop. It's by far, the best bacon we've ever had and there's a number of you that come back just for the bacon! But, many people have told us about their adventures into homemade bacon and we just couldn't resist trying this out.
Starting with a slab of pork belly (uncured, unsliced), we added a curing marinade for 3 or 4 days prior to smoking. The brine adds moisture & flavour to the belly. Some experts recommend curing for up to 7 days for bacon!
Once brining is complete, the brine should be drained and the belly should be left to "dry" for 12 to 24 hours in the fridge. This will allow the seasoning to stick to the belly while smoking.
Then it's into the smoker on low heat for a number of hours. The belly will come out of the smoker with great color and will be ready for slicing and frying up in your cast iron pan.
The result: "to die for" delicious!
Homemade Bacon Recipe
- approximately 2 lb slab Lazuli Farms pork belly
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp red chili flakes, optional
- 1 tsp pink curing salt
Mix brown sugar, black pepper, salt, paprika, and pink salt in a bowl. Pat your pork belly to ensure that it is dry. Sprinkle both sides of the pork belly with the rub mixture. Place into a ziploc bag, squeeze air out, and seal bag.
Place in the fridge. Liquid will come out of the pork belly and there will be a marinade in the bag. Every day, squeeze the juice around the pork belly to distribute it over the whole belly.
Leave in the fridge for 3 days. Remove the meat from the fridge and pat dry with a paper towel. Return the pork belly to the fridge, uncovered and on a wire rack to allow air to circulate around the whole belly for 12 to 24 hours.
Set smoker to 165 to 175F and smoke the belly for approximately 6 hours. Check the internal temperature and aim for 150 to 155F.
Remove from the smoker. Your bacon is now smoked & cured and ready for slicing & frying!
Slice into thick bacon slices and fry in a cast iron pan. Enjoy the lip-smacking goodness!