How to make your own bacon at home

Written in 2022
by Adam

    Bacon is a popular food from breakfast to dinner and even dessert. You may create your own bacon at home with our recipe. If you prefer, you may add whatever ingredients you want to the meat-whether from organically fed livestock or commercially raised animals that have been pasture-fed.

    Although curing and cooking your own bacon takes time, it is considerably more rewarding and delicious than store-bought. As a result, not all butchers have fresh pork belly since few people cure or salt their own. Order ahead from a local farm or butcher to ensure you get it before they run out.

    Bacon can be smoked in a variety of ways, some of which add more taste to the dish than others. Is it smoked or unsmoked? This is up to you. Our recipe gives you the option of using the smoker or cooking the bacon in the oven instead of smoking it. Hickory or applewood shavings provide the most delicious flavour for this method utilizing a smoker.

    Curing meats without the necessary skills and caution may result in a food that is harmful to human health. We recommend that you consult with a professional before beginning any curing project, read food instructions carefully, and use your meat thermometer on a regular basis.

    Now the formal stuff is all out the way, and it's now down to you... we can get on with the recipe.

    Instructions (Non-smoked)

    1. Gather all of your ingredients.
    2. Remove the plastic wrap from the pork belly and lay it out on a clean work surface. Pat dry with paper towels after washing.
    3. In a small mixing dish, combine the brown sugar, salt, pepper, and optional curing salt.
    4. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork belly using clean hands. Massage the cure thoroughly.
    5. Place the pork belly, if any curing mixture remains, in a plastic bag and seal it shut. Keep the bag lengthwise in the fridge for 10 to 14 days, flipping it over every so often. The bacon should be fully cured at this stage with a firm texture and no soft areas.
    6. Take the bacon out of the bag, pat it dry with paper towels and cook in your preferred method

    Smoked homemade bacon

    Adam
    Classic homemade cured bacon, this initial recipe doesn't include smoking. This bacon will still blow your mind compared to the stuff you get from the shop!
    Prep Time 10 mins
    Cook Time 2 hrs
    Dry & cure time 14 d
    Total Time 14 d 2 hrs 10 mins
    Course Breakfast, Main Course, Side Dish
    Servings 8
    Calories 540 kcal

    Ingredients
      

    • 3 pounds pork belly
    • 6 tbsps brown sugar
    • 4 tbsps kosher or non iodized salt
    • 4 tbsps ground black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp curing salt (Not essential)

    Instructions
     

    • Gather all of your ingredients.
    • Remove the plastic wrap from the pork belly and lay it out on a clean work surface. Pat dry with paper towels after washing.
    • In a small mixing dish, combine the brown sugar, salt, pepper, and optional curing salt.
    • Rub the spice mixture all over the pork belly using clean hands. Massage the cure thoroughly.
    • Place the pork belly, if any curing mixture remains, in a plastic bag and seal it shut. Keep the bag lengthwise in the fridge for 10 to 14 days, flipping it over every so often. The bacon should be fully cured at this stage with a firm texture and no soft areas.
    • Take the bacon out of the bag, pat it dry with paper towels and cook in your preferred method
    Keyword bacon, cured, salted

    Instructions (Smoked)

    1. After you've cured your bacon, you will then need to let the bacon dry for around 1 to 2 hours. Leaving it for a couple of hours will create a surface on the bacon for the smoke to stick to.
    2. At this point, the bacon is then cured and air dryer, ready to be smoked. Bacon should be smoked at around 200f until the point of 150f or 66C internal temp.
    3. Now you have your cured, smoked bacon, it's time to fry it! Fry your bacon in your standard way.

    Your questions answered

    There are quite a lot of questions about the pork belly, salt, and exactly what you need to look for to make the best bacon you can.

    Pork Belly

    Look for a pork belly with a proportion of muscle to fat around 1:1. The muscle should be pink, and the fat should be white creamy. My favourite bacon comes from the fatty layers of fat and flesh that sit on top of the spare ribs, usually known as "side bacon" or "streaky bacon."

    The ratio of lean meat to fat is approximately 1:1, but it varies depending on the breed of pig, its age, feeding, and other factors. Ask your butcher to get you some fresh, unsliced side or belly bacon slab that has not been frozen. It should be about 1 1/2" thick and 6 to 8" wide across the grain to make slicing simple and ensure it fits in the frying pan. It should resemble what is shown in this illustration.

    It's extra important to make sure that you ask your butcher for raw bacon or pork belly, as you will of course be curing and slicing the bacon yourself!

    Salt

    When it comes to using salt to cure your own bacon, it's certainly a matter of personal preference how much you use. Maybe initially use what we've outlined in our recipe, but one the second try (There will be a second time) adjust the salt level depending on your taste.

    It's also a great opportunity to test adding other flavours to your cures, you could look at adding garlic, citrus, herbs and spices! There are plenty of options, you could also look at sweetening it up with some maple or soy!

    Is making your own bacon worth it?

    You may cut your cured bacon as thick as you like, but since it will most likely have more seasoning than store-bought bacon, you'll probably serve (and eat) less of it. You also have the flavour aspect to consider; the bacon will taste fantastic!

    Is Homemade bacon safe?

    It's safe as long as you follow the recipe correctly. As the bacon is cured, and then cooked properly before consumption you also reduce that risk of causing sickness.

    How long does it take to cure bacon?

    Bacon can be cured in quite a short time (5 days) however we would suggest curing the bacon for around 14 days to really get the most out of it. After putting in that time, you may as well wait the extra days.

    Article Written by Adam

    Adam is the creator of the SmokeGuys website, running it since 2016. Hater of coriander, lover of all things meat... Adam currently works in marketing with a dream of being able to make food his full-time 'job' in the longer term.

    Top magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram