Makin’ Bacon!

For the past two weeks I have been tormenting my Facebook followers with pictures of all the delicious bacon I have been cooking.  Well, bacon and a video of me laying on the floor at the Fiery Foods & BBQ Show.  If you’re not a follower, you really should start because you are missing out on a lot of high quality food porn.  So here it is… the recipe I’ve been promising my Facebook friends for 2 weeks, HOMEMADE BACON!!!

Grillin’ Bacon
This bacon cure recipe is from Michael Symon’s book, Carnivore. Of course I put my own spin on it by adding my rub.  I’m sure if Michael had some of my BBQ rub he would use it too.  If you can’t find the curing salt, don’t worry about it. I’ve made two slabs; one with curing salt and the other without and there really is no difference in taste.  The curing salt maintains the color; the kosher salt actually does the curing.

Bacon Cure
Bacon Cure
3 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
1 ½ Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon AlbuKirky Seasonings BBQ Rub
1 Teaspoon Curing Salt (optional)

I started with a 5 lb skinless pork belly and coated it on both sides generously with the curing rub. To make the curing rack for the fridge, I used 2 cookie sheets, a cooling rack, a sheet of parchment paper, 4 paper towels and a heavy lid or a couple of cans.  Lay the paper towels down on the first cookie sheet, then place the cooling rack on top.  Place the belly on top of the cooling rack and cover the belly with a sheet of parchment paper. Set the 2ndcookie sheet on top and weigh it down with a heavy lid or several soup cans.  Place the whole thing in the fridge for 7 days.  Be sure to change out the paper towels as needed.

Pork Belly prepped and ready for the fridge
 After 7 days of curing, it was time to smoke the bacon.  I filled up my Big Green Egg with mesquite charcoal and a few chunks of maple for added smoke.  I set up the egg for indirect cooking and heated it to 200º.  I placed a drip pan between the plate setter and the grate, then placed the pork belly on the grate.  I tried to keep the heat around 200º so as not to render too much of the fat off the bacon.  After about 3 hours of smoking the slab, it was officially bacon.  The internal temp of the bacon was 160º when I pulled if of the smoker.

Smokin’ Bacon
We’re in the home stretch now, after the bacon had cooled I sliced it up and threw it back on the grill to cook and give it another dose of smoke.  I placed what was left of the bacon in a ziplock bag and put in the fridge.  It will last in the fridge for a week, but we all know it will be gone in just a few days.  

Bacon before the final cook
This is the by far best bacon I have ever eaten.  It would best be described as pure bacon flavor…nothing artificial, just the simple taste of bacon, salt and smoke.  If you are a bacon lover you owe it to yourself to make your own.  You may have to call a few butcher shops to find the pork belly, but the extra effort is well worth it.  So get out there and start making some bacon.  Don’t forget to send me some pics!

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