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How to Make Homemade Bacon

Curing bacon doesn't require special skills, you just need to be patient — the process takes about 10 days. Michael Symon uses pork belly from special heritage breeds, but any kind is fine, provided it's extra fatty. "The more fat, the more flavor," he says.

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Photo: Charles Masters
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 1 1/2 inches thick, longer for a belly that's 2 to 3 inches thick. 

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Photo: Charles Masters
Remove the pork belly from the bag, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Refrigerate the belly on a rack, uncovered, for 48 hours.

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Photo: Charles Masters
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. 

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Photo: Charles Masters

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.

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