Homemade bacon is super easy and incredibly delicious! This recipe uses a maple syrup and instant espresso powder rub with the cure, and then hot smoked over hickory wood. The most important ingredient besides the pork belly, is the Pink Curing Salt.
Prep Time 30minutes
Cook Time 5hours
Total Time 5hours30minutes
Author Homemade Italian Cooking by Cara
3lbspounds skinless pork bellymake sure the pork belly is trimmed to an even thickness and shape
1TBfreshly ground black pepper
1tspinstant espresso powder
½teaspoonPink Curing Salt #1
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.