OMG – homemade bacon is the best! And it is so easy to make. So be fearless and just do it! You can be eating your own home-cured bacon by next weekend. I used maple syrup, instant espresso powder, and black pepper in the curing rub for a deep and sweet flavor, and then hot smoked the pork belly over hickory chips for a final layer of flavor. Watch the video to learn about curing salts and to see how easy it is!
For the best bacon use Berkshire Pork Belly from D’Artagnan. Watch my video on how to butcher a Pork Belly to make four different recipes, including this one. Be sure to check back for the other recipes and videos.
- Home-cured Maple Espresso Bacon
- Rolled Italian Porchetta Roast
- Crispy Asian Pork Belly on Steamed Buns
- BBQ Spareribs
You can also ask your local butcher to trim and skin a pork belly for you in the size and weight you want. You can see the perfectly balanced meat to fat ratio in the picture of the finished D’Artagnan sliced bacon below. Either way – just do it now -get a pork belly!
You can look forward to eating a bacon and lettuce on toasted whole grain sandwich in 10 days! I am a happy girl.
The Maple Espresso rub recipe is adapted from the fabulous chef David Leite’s food blog.
Maple & Espresso Homemade Bacon
- 3 lbs pounds skinless pork belly make sure the pork belly is trimmed to an even thickness and shape
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 TB freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder
- ½ teaspoon Pink Curing Salt #1
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- Hickory chips
- Rinse and pat the pork belly dry.
- In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, salt, pepper, espresso powder, curing salt, and maple syrup to a thick paste. Slather the mixture all over the pork belly, turning to coat all sides. Place it in a large ziploc bag, date it, and seal. Place the bag in a pyrex dish and store in the refrigerator for 8 days. Flip the bag daily to rotate the curing liquid.
- After 8 days, remove the pork belly from the bag, rinse it thoroughly under cool running water, and pat dry. Place the pork belly on a small rack in a baking pan and place in your fridge for 24 hours. This step allows the pork belly to form a thin skin known as a pellicle, which helps to retain the smoke flavor in the next step.
- On day 10, prepare your grill for 200F hot smoking using the indirect cooking method. Place 2 cups of soaked hickory chips on a foil sheet and fold to create a sealed packet. Poke holes in the top. Make at least three packets to replenish during the smoking. Put the packet on the flame side and wait until it starts smoking.
- When the grill and smoke is ready, put the pork belly on the indirect side.
- Smoke the meat making sure to keep the temperature at 200°F until the internal temperature of the bacon registers 150°F, roughly 4-5 hours. Timing will depend on the size of your pork belly and the exact temperature of your grill. I use a digital oven thermometer to monitor the internal temperature. That helps take reduce the stress of wondering when it will be done.
- Remove the bacon from the grill and let it cool enough for handling. Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for easier slicing. Use a sharp chef’s knife or an electric slicer, slice the bacon to your desired thickness. Store in tightly-wrapped plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze it for up to 2 months.
- When cooking the bacon, I have found it cooks faster than store-bought bacon. Cook a few slices over medium heat in a skillet for about 3 minutes on each side. Timing will vary depending on the amount of fat and thickness of the bacon.