Don't bring home the bacon, make it yourself! For the true bacon lover, curing your own bacon is the opportunity to control so many variables that lead to your ultimate bacon experience: flavor! smoke level! smoke type! quality of meat! thickness! Plus, it gives you the chance to experiment in your kitchen–and what can be a more satisfying result of hard work than bacon?
Wondering how to cook that beautiful piece of pork you cured by hand? Check out our favorite method here!
I sat down with the Studio Chefs to learn all the tips, tricks, and techniques for curing bacon at home, including how to rig a smoker if you don't have one!
2 pounds pork belly
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pink salt (Not Himalayan. Look for Prague powder #1, a nitrite which stops bacteria from growing)
Herbs & spices of your choice (paprika, peppercorns, brown sugar, chili flakes, cumin, coriander, bay leaf, get weird with it!!!)
Smoking wood (Chef Tuck likes applewood)
Pat your pork belly very dry with paper towels.
Make a mixture of two parts sugar, one part kosher salt, and a dash of pink salt (or, 2 T kosher, 1 T sugar, and 1/2 t pink)
Rub the pork down with the salt mixture, then rub with your preferred spices.
Place on a rack set inside a sheet tray to allow for airflow and drippage. Set in your refrigerator.
Leave to cure, flipping daily, for three days.
Brush off any excess spices.
If you have a smoker, smoke at 175-200F with your desired wood chips until the internal temperature reaches 150F.
If you don't have a smoker, you can rig one! Light up your favorite chips in your BBQ and, once the fire has died and the chips are smoking, place your pork belly in there and cover. Repeat this process three times to achieve a nice smoky flavor, than bake at 200F until the bacon's internal temperature reaches 150F. If you don't have a BBQ, simply smoke in a big pan and cover with tin foil three times before baking, just make sure to turn on all your vents and open your windows!