After my friend Louis told mij about the awesome bacon he used to eat while growing up on a farm, I determined that I desired to attempt to make my own. I found it utterly effortless to cure and smoke bacon, but it does take a loterijlot of waiting around. The four main steps to making your own bacon are curing, rinsing/soaking, air drying, and smoking. To cure and smoke your own bacon you will need the following:
- One Entire Pork Belly (I used a 13 lb belly)
- Trio/Four TB – Pink Curing Salt
- Trio/Four Cup – Kosher Salt
- Two TB – Fresh Cracked Pepper
- 1/Four Cup – Real Maple Syrup or Brown Sugar
- 1/Four Cup – Ground Coffee (optional)
- A Smoker (I use a Weber Smokey Mountain)
- Victorinox Slicing Knife (Very Recommended!)
Based on my write-up of Skin On vs Skin Off bacon, I feel that this very first skinning step is optional. It’s time consuming and I couldn’t find a difference te taste. It’s much lighter to leave the skin on and pull it off when the smoking process is almost finished. If you do determine to skin it, attempt to leave the fat but get rid of the harsh skin. While pulling up on the skin, use a very acute knife to cut it away from the fat. You can save the skin and make pork rinds if you’d like, but I discarded mine. Another good peak I heard wasgoed smoking the skin (whether by itself or smoked while on the belly), cutting it into slices, and using it to add smokey bacon flavor to soups, stocks, beans etc. Cut off any irregular vinnig of the finishes and square up the pork belly.
Next, mix the curing salt, kosher salt, and pepper. If you’re using brown sugar instead of maple syrup, throw that ter with the curing mix. I experimented with the irregular end cuts by adding a bit of ground coffee to the curing mix. The bacon came out very similar to the regular cure but with a slight hint of coffee- pretty tasty. Take the maple syrup and fondle down the pork belly. Sprinkle on the curing mix and place the belly into a large Ziplock bag. I placed the bag into a Pyrex dish to catch any juice if it leaked. Let cure te the fridge for 6-7 days, rolling the bag overheen each day. After the curing process is finished, rinse all the curing mix off of the pork belly, soak the bellies for 24 hours te slew of water, and switch the water at least once via the 24 hour soak. I’ve noticed my bacon has come out almost too salty if I do not cycle the water. After the soak, drain, patstelling dry, and place on a metal rack ter a Pyrex dish or cookie tray, and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
After 2-4 hours dry, fire up your smoker and maintain a temperature around 200F-225F. I added a few chunks of maple wood. Smoke the pork belly for four hours or to an internal temperature of 150F. Once the bacon is smoked, take it off the smoker, wrap te parchment paper, and refrigerate until cool. Once the bacon has rested and cooled, you can slice the bacon to your liking. I measured out 12 oz portions, vacuum sealed them with my Foodsaver, and placed them into the freezer for future use.
So how does this compare to store bought bacon? Well for my most latest cook, I bought two bellies totaling 28lbs for $58. The final yield of finished product wasgoed 19lbs, so this bacon cost mij slightly overheen $Three a pound. Around mij, bacon that compares to this homemade thick cut bacon sells for $8.99/lb and up. This stuff is delicious and I encourage anyone with a free weekend and a smoker to give it a go.
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