Scrap Iron Chef's Bacon
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup salt
- 8 ounces molasses
- 1/2 gallon (2 quarts) water
- 1/2 gallon (2 quarts) apple cider
- 2 tablespoons course ground black pepper
- 1 (5 pound) piece raw pork belly from the loin-end
In a large non-reactive pot, bring half the water, 1 cup of sugar, salt, and 8 ounces molasses to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour into a large container with the remaining water, and the apple cider. Place in the refrigerator and cool to 40 degrees F.
Press the black pepper into the pork belly. Once the brine has cooled place the peppered pork belly into the mixture until completely submerged. Refrigerate for three days.
After three days have passed, remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Lay on a rack over a sheet pan and place in front of a fan for 1 hour to form a pellicle. Lay the pork in the protein box of a cold smoker and smoke for 4 to 6 hours. Chill the meat in the freezer for 1 hour to stiffen for easy slicing into strips of bacon. Slice what you need and keep the remainder in a freezer safe bag in the refrigerator or freezer.
Place the strips of bacon onto a sheet pan fitted with a rack and place into a cold oven. Turn the oven to 400 degrees F and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your bacon. Remove from rack and drain on paper towels. Enjoy.