Homemade Bacon

Total Time:
3 hr 30 min
30 min
3 hr

3 1/2 pounds bacon

  • 5 pounds pork belly, skin on
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pink curing salt
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey (preferably chestnut honey)
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Rinse the pork belly and pat dry. Transfer to a resealable 2-gallon plastic bag. To make the spice rub, mix the kosher salt, pink salt, brown sugar, honey, red pepper flakes, paprika and cumin in a bowl. Coat the pork belly all over with the mixture.

  • Close the bag and refrigerate 7 to 10 days, flipping once a day, until the pork belly feels firm. It should take 7 days for a thin belly that is about 11/2 inches thick, longer for a belly that's 2 to 3 inches thick.

  • Remove the pork belly from the bag, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Refrigerate the belly on a rack, uncovered, 48 hours.

  • Set up your smoker according to the manufacturer's instructions using applewood chips, and set to 200 degrees F. Smoke the pork belly 3 hours, or until the bacon reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F.

  • Remove the rind (optional), then slice and cook as desired. To store, wrap the bacon in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 2 months.

  • Pink curing salt is a mix of salt and sodium nitrite. It keeps the meat pink and protects it from bacteria. You can find it at specialty food stores or online.

  • Photograph by Charles Masters

If you don't have a smoker, you can cook the pork belly in a 200 degrees F oven until it registers 150 degrees F on a meat thermometer. (Times will vary; check after about 2 hours.)

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