Today I want to share with you something I have recently attempted with a good amount of success. I have been smoking pork belly for a few years now and have only really ever made a smoked pork belly “burnt end” (I’ll talk about this one in a future post). I wanted to try something different and thought why not try to make some bacon. After all it is one of my favorite breakfast treats! Read on and I’ll tell you how I did it.
Pork Belly (I usually try for one around 3 lbs or so)
3/4 cup water
6 tsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp kosher salt
3 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp Prague Powder #1
Choosing Your Pork Belly
Getting a good pork belly is key here. You can head to your local butcher shop, hit up Costco or try one of these online options that provide great quality pork bellies.
Once you have procured your pork belly, you may need to remove the skin. This is located on the bottom of the pork belly and needs to be removed. Failing to do so will prevent the pork belly from absorbing the cure and the smoke once it is in the smoker. If you are unsure whether your pork belly still has the skin on, ask. Personally, I have always had it removed so I don’t have to do it myself.
Side note – If your pork belly does have the skin and you want to remove it yourself, I understand it is great on the grill so don’t throw it away. Grill it and mix it with vegetables to give them so added flavor.
Once the pork belly is ready, rinse it well and pat dry with a paper towel. Let it sit while you prepare the cure.
Curing the Pork Belly
The next step is to prepare the cure. The ingredients are listed above and I would recommend you use those measurements as they have worked well for me. Try it once and then adjust for future recipes to taste.
I use a large brining bag when I am curing my pork belly. Some options are here
Put the pork belly in the bag and ensure it is submerged in the liquid. Place in the refrigerator for 7 days. While the pork belly is curing, ensure that you flip the bag over every day to ensure that the mixture and spices are absorbed on all sides of the meat.
After 7 days, remove from the refrigerator, take the pork belly out of the bag and rinse well. Rinsing this under cold water will halt the curing process which is what we want here. I usually let it sit for an hour or so before starting the smoker.
Smoking the Pork Belly
Heat your smoker to 225 deg F. I use hickory pellets with my Traeger. You can use hickory wood or apple is another option.
When preheated, place your pork belly directly on the grate.
Smoke until the internal temperature reaches 150 deg F. This should take 2-3 hours or so.
When smoking is complete, wrap the meat in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This part of the process will aid with the slicing of the bacon.
The next day, slice the bacon. I usually use a carving knife like this one but an electric knife will do the trick as well.
Cook what you are going to eat and I usually freeze the rest. I try to use it all within two months of freezing.
Now You Have BACON!
Now you will have a good amount of tasty bacon. I’ll tell you since I started making my own bacon, my family does not want any other kind. I slice it somewhat thick and they really enjoy it that way. Once you do this once, I am convinced you will continue to make you own bacon.
Please comment and let me know if you try this and how it works out.
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