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–+ servings

Homemade Bacon

A highly versatile homemade bacon recipe that will ruin the boring store-bought stuff for you. Making bacon is a lot easier than you think.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Curing Time 7 d
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 5 pounds

Ingredients
  

  • 4 1/2 to 5/12 lbs. pork belly - cut in half
  • 2 tbs. kosher salt
  • 5 tbs. black pepper - divided
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. prague powder #1

Instructions
 

Curing Your Bacon

  • Mix all ingredients (only 1 tbs. of the black pepper) in a bowl.
  • Cut the pork belly in half and sprinkle the curing blend evenly over all surfaces. Try to get it all on there.
  • Place each pork belly half in a separate gallon-sized zip-top bag.
  • Remove as much air as possible from the bags prior to sealing them. The water displacement method in the kitchen sink is very helpful here.
  • Place in the back of the refrigerator for seven days. (the area in the back of the refrigerator generally stays cooler than the front, due to the door being opened and closed constantly.)
  • Once a day during the curing process, flip the zip-top bags over in the fridge so that liquids don't settle in one spot.

Smoking Your Bacon

  • Once a day during the curing process, flip the zip-top bags over in the fridge so that liquids don't settle in one spot.
  • After 7 days, remove your bacon from the refrigerator, then rinse as much of the cure mixture off of it as you can.
  • Dry with paper towels then evenly sprinkle the remaining four tablespoons of black pepper over the pork belly. Use more or less if you like.
  • Set your grill for two-zone cooking (see link in notes below for how to do this) and preheat to 225 degrees. Place wood chips (you can get these in the barbecue section at most grocery stores) over the hottest part of the coals and wait until it starts smoking (I like apple or pecan wood on my bacon). Remember, you'll be slicing the bacon and only the outside edge will have smoke, so I encourage you to put a little more smoke on there than normal.
  • Place your cured pork belly on the coolest part of your grill.
  • Insert your meat thermometer into the thickest part of the pork belly, cover your grill, and cook until the internal temperature hits 150 degrees (you'll need a meat thermometer… see notes).
  • Once the internal temperature hits 150 degrees, remove from your smoker and rest for 20-30 minutes. Slice each pork belly half in half again (quarters of the original belly) then vacuum seal. If you don't have a vacuum sealer, you can put each quarter into zip-top bags and remove the air in a sink full of water.
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