Homemade Bacon. Not bacon you cook at home, but Bacon made from Scratch!
What even is that? Just think sirloin vs filet. Yes, really!
I remember when I met Homemade Bacon for the first time. Bacon with a capital ‘B’. Bacon smoked with REAL hickory chips. Bacon made with Pure Maple Sugar, as in sugar straight from a maple tree. Until you have had Homemade Hickory Smoked Bacon, your life is not complete. Is it kind of sad that I actually believe that?
My family and I had this awesome experience about a year or so ago at my favorite uncle’s house over the Thanksgiving holiday. Every morning for breakfast, he would slice it off of this large, center cut slab and fry up a couple dozen slices to be served with the egg dish of the day. The slices were always twice as thick as store bought bacon and the way the marbling would render in the fry pan and turn golden and bubbly and caramelize, oh my gosh, my mouth is watering just writing about it. Lets just say, there was never a slice left over.
When it was time to drive back home to Missouri, I had a cooler with a Ziploc of pork belly, which is the cut of meat used to make bacon, and a homemade bacon recipe that I am completely in love with.
Now, you may be wondering, yes, it sounds scrumptious, but how much effort are we talking here? Let me reassure you that this is such a simple process, you will wonder why everyone isn’t making their own homemade bacon. That’s an excellent question. I wonder that frequently. Four ingredients. That’s IT! Kosher salt, course ground pepper, Prague powder (pink curing salt), and pure maple sugar.
Depending on where you live, the first two ingredients are in every grocery store, the second two I purchase from Amazon, see affiliate links here [amazon_link asins=’B008X6KE0E’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’savorwithjenn-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’db7d4159-d2b2-11e7-ad8e-a3fafaec1c55′] and [amazon_textlink asin=’B00TD0N6EU’ text=’pure maple sugar’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’savorwithjenn-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’fece27e3-d2b0-11e7-aea4-415f3a3046ff’].
Maple sugar is really amazing to have in your pantry. I use it fairly frequently in recipes where I feel the essence of maple will really shine through. As far as the pepper is concerned, I like fresh ground, but that’s just a personal preference.
The recipe that I follow is for approximately 5 pounds of pork belly. The finished bacon that will not be used in the next two weeks can be sealed and tossed in the freezer so you always have some on hand.
The process to create homemade bacon is simple and easy, but is done over a seven day process.
Mix your dry ingredients and divide into 2 gallon sized bags. Add 2 slabs of pork belly to each bag and distribute the dry rub evenly over the pork belly. Toss in the fridge on a cookie sheet and flip once a day for 5 days.
On day 6, rinse, pat dry, and place on a metal rack back in the fridge uncovered for 24 hours. This drying out day is very important. Don’t skip it.
On day 7, smoke the pork belly in a Weber grill, smoker, pellet grill, or green egg of your choice at 225 degrees until the internal temperature is 150 degrees.
I use a classic Weber Kettle for all of my outdoor cooking, although I’ve been eyeing (lusting) over the Green Egg and the new pellet grills. For smoking meat in a Weber Kettle, I place a bread loaf pan with hot water next to the coals on the bottom rack and sprinkle my pre-soaked hickory chips on the hot coals just before I close the lid. The coals should all be placed to one side on the bottom rack of the grill and the meat should not be directly over them. In other words, in-direct heat.
If you don’t have a thermometer on the lid, make sure you place a portable oven thermometer in your grill. The internal grill temperature is very important. Also, make sure you place a meat thermometer in your pork belly so you don’t over cook it and turn it into ham. (I have done this, and it is still extremely delicious!) On the Weber grill, it usually takes about 30 minutes.
After you reach 150 degrees, cool and refrigerate. Slice and cook as you would store bought from this point. Enjoy!
Makin' Bacon - Homemade Hickory Smoked Bacon
- 5 pounds pork belly
- 2/3 cup pure maple sugar
- 1/2 cup course kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons prague powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
- Slice the pork belly into 4 slabs about 4-5 inches wide.
- Mix your dry ingredients together.
- Equally divide the dry ingredients into 2 freezer bags that are 1 gallon in size.
- Place the pork into the 2 bags and seal.
- Shake and manipulate the pork until the dry ingrediants are cover the pork exterior.
- Place the pork flat on a cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator.
- Turn the pork 1 time per day for a total of 5 days.
- On the 5th day, remove from bags.
- Rinse and pat dry the pork.
- Place on a wire rack, uncovered, in the refrigerator to dry for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, replace from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature for about an hour.
- Soak desired amount of hickory chips in water.
- Preheat Weber grill, smoker, or pellet grill to 225 degrees.
- Place pork on indiret heat and cook for approximately 30 minutes until the internal temperature is 150 degrees.
- Wrap and seal bacon for storage in refrigerator or freezer.
- Bacon can now be cooked (fried, baked, broiled) however you would usually cook bacon.