Making bacon yourself is an incredibly worthwhile project. It'll have you wondering why you never did this earlier...
There’s nothing wrong with quality store-bought bacon, but in my opinion, none of them are smoky enough. I didn’t realize this until I first ordered Benton’s bacon. Holy smokes. Lauren actually asked me to cook it outside on the grill because it’s smoky aroma filled the house every time I made it. Benton’s is my gold standard, but it’s not often I want to spend $15 per pound plus shipping to get that beautiful slice of heaven delivered to my frying pan. My inner nerd clicked and I decided to go down the rabbit hole and make my own. I’ve tested a number of variations, and this one is my favorite.
Homemade Smokey Bacon
Makes ~4lbs bacon
5 Lbs Pork Belly, Skin Removed
2 Tbs Black Peppercorn
3 Tbs Kosher Salt
3 Tbs Brown Sugar
1 Tbs Ancho Chile Powder
1.5 tsp Mustard Powder
1 tsp Curing Salt #1 (1 tsp per 5 pounds of pork belly if scaling)
I like to slice some, dice some, and leave some in slab form. It allows for a lot of versatility when using it in dishes. Whichever way it’s cut, I almost always vacuum seal and freeze in double portion-sized batches.
Thoroughly mix black pepper, kosher salt, brown sugar, ancho chile powder, mustard powder, and curing salt #1.
Over a baking sheet covered in parchment paper, evenly coat seasoning mix on all edges, cuts, and cracks on the pork belly. Use all of the seasonings, dabbing up what is left on the baking sheet at the end.
Place in a 2.5 Gal Ziplock bag, removing as much air as possible.
Place pork belly in the refrigerator, flipping over once per day for 7 days.
Preheat the smoker to 180F using a mixture of oak and applewood.
Remove pork belly from the refrigerator and rinse off the seasoning under cool water. You do not need to be thorough, so if some of the seasonings remain behind that is okay.
Place the bacon in the smoker, monitoring the internal temperature until it reaches 125F
Remove from the smoker, and place uncovered in the refrigerator until chilled.
Once chilled, wrap in saran wrap and place in the freezer for 1 hour, this will make slicing by hand much easier.
Slice to the desired thickness then pan fry when ready to serve.