Homemade Bacon

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BY TARA SWARTZENDRUBER-LANDIS

PHOTO BY D. LUCAS LANDIS

These days, you can find almost anything bacon flavored—candy, frosting, even toothpaste. Why not take bacon back to its roots and make … actual bacon? Bacon will keep one to two weeks in your fridge and six months in the freezer, but we are betting that most of it will be enjoyed a few hours out of the smoker. We included two options for herbs or spices. Once you’ve made it a couple of times, experiment with your own favorites.

Serves 8–1

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Option 1
Option 2
3 pounds pork belly, skin on
3 pounds pork belly, skin on
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup kosher salt
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground black peppercorns
1 clove minced garlic
1 clove minced garlic
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
½ teaspoon Instacure No. 1
½ teaspoon Instacure No. 1
 

 

1.

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Place the pork belly on a large cookie or baking sheet. In a small bowl, place the other ingredients and mix with a spoon or fork.

2.

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Use your hands to rub the curing mixture all over the pork belly, making sure that all surfaces are covered.

3.

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Place the belly into a large resealable plastic bag or a plastic or glass container just about large enough to contain it. Sprinkle on the remaining cure, seal the container and put it in the refrigerator. Leave the bacon in the refrigerator for 5 days turning it every other day. After 5 days, check to see if the bacon is firm. If it is not firm all over, return to the refrigerator for another 2 days.Take the bacon out, rinse off the cure and pat it dry. Set the bacon out on a rack to dry, and return it uncovered to the refrigerator for 12–24 hours.

4.

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Take the bacon out of the refrigerator 1 hour before smoking it. You can use a grill with a temperature gauge to smoke the meat. Light lump charcoal and get the temperature gauge between 170° and 200°. Place about 1 cup of applewood chips on top of the charcoal and push the coals to one side. Place the bacon on the other side of the grill so that the meat is getting mostly indirect heat and lots of smoke. Allow it to smoke for 3–4 hours at this temperature, until a meat thermometer registers 150°. Remove the bacon from the smoker/grill to a plate and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes.

5.

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While it is still warm, you can remove the skin with a sharp knife.

6.

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Return the bacon to the refrigerator to cool completely. After it is chilled, slice it into ¼-inch slices.

7.

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Fry as you would regular bacon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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