Whether you consider bacon a breakfast staple or basic food group, I think we would all agree that just about everything goes better with bacon! In all of its salty, smoky, and porky goodness, bacon is something that speaks to our inner hunter-gatherer.
Why make your own? While bacon in its own right is just downright good, your own homemade porky strips of goodness will be even better. You will be surprised that your homemade bacon does not splatter and pop or shrink near as much as your favorite store-bought brand.
Homemade bacon is not at all difficult; so no longer do you need to “bring home the bacon,” you can now make your bacon at home.
You probably already have these outdoor kitchen essentials:
- A grill or smoker that can maintain a steady 200 to 225 degrees of indirect heat
- Wood chips or chunks for smoking, such as apple, mesquite, or hickory
- A foil pan to catch the bacon drippings
- A sheet pan lined with a few paper towels
- A cooling rack that will fit inside that sheet pan
The list of ingredients:
- 2 to 2 1/2 pork belly, with skin removed and patted dry
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon white table sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Note: My local Whole Foods Market carries pork belly with the skin removed. Your local grocer may be able to order it this way or remove the skin for you.
Note: When purchasing, look for a pork belly that is more or less about equal parts meat and fat. Be sure to look at all edges. It should resemble the store-bought bacon. Some of the pork bellies I had purchased in the past were mostly fat and very little meat, –it still made some good bacon!
To prepare the bacon cure, in a bowl, mix to combine the salt, sugar, and pepper. I store my bacon cure in a mason jar with a shaker lid.
Sprinkle the cure over pork belly, getting the top, bottom, and sides well coated.
Place the pork belly on your “cooling rack – sheet pan” and then into the refrigerator.
The cure will begin to pull moisture from the pork belly, the paper towels will get wet. I replace them daily just so I can check out how it is going.
After four days or so, the cured pork belly will be firm and stiff. Wipe off as much of the cure as possible. The give it a good rinse in cold water to remove the remained. Do not worry if there is still salt and pepper stuck to the meat. Just pat everything with paper towels to get it good and dry.
Note: don’t do like I did and just rinse off the cure sending it down the sink. I spent several hours fixing that mess!
Put the pork belly back into the refrigerator overnight so it dries off really good.
Prep your smoker or grill for 200 to 225 degrees of indirect heat and add your smoking wood when ready. You’re the expert here….
Don’t forget to use the foil pan to catch the drippings.
Smoke your soon to be tasty homemade bacon until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. Mine takes about two hours from start to finish.
Let the bacon cool a bit on the counter, 15 to 20 minutes or so.
Pat dry with paper towels, then let the bacon cool overnight in the refrigerator. The cleaned up sheet pan and cooling rack work well for this.
See, I said it was easy!
Okay, cut off a few slices and fry it up in your favorite skillet, -yum!
My favorite parts are the edges.
I have other homemade bacon recipes just as easy that I will share in future posts.
You may never be happy with that store-bought bacon again!