Bacon. Just the mention of that simple, two-syllable word might have already elicited a Pavlovian response in you. It has me. Like an “ON” switch, my brain starts to conjure up phantom sounds and smells associated with the King of Fatty Meats. I’ll throw some adjectives out there for you…smoky, salty, crispy, rich, flavorful, sizzling, aromatic, unctuous, delicious. Do any of these do anything for you? Pardon me, while I wipe the drool from my chin.
While the supermarket fare is pretty good when it comes to bacon, there is something exceptional about a pork belly that you’ve seasoned and cured at home. It’s a surprisingly easy process and doesn’t actually take very long. In about a week the end results will yield a very impressive slab of top quality bacon that will far surpass anything available at the local Walmart.
I’ve included two videos that we created a while ago to demonstrate the steps in the process. Part 1 covers the making of the salt mixture and application of it on the pork belly before it goes into the fridge. Part 2 picks up where Part 1 leaves off covering how to prep the belly for smoking and how to set up your smoker/Big Green Egg. Scroll down to the recipe and instructions for the detailed step-by-step process.
VIDEO: Making Bacon with AlbuKirky Seasonings Part 1
VIDEO: Making Bacon with AlbuKirky Seasonings Part 2
Currently we’ve been using the AlbuKirky Seasonings Anchonero Hot Rub in our bacon salt/rub mixture. It provides a nice bit of heat that pairs surprisingly well with the fattiness of the pork belly. The heat is fairly subtle, but it’s there. My other personal favorite is the AlbuKirky Seasonings Casa Seasoning. It may be a simple blend, but the garlic stands out and makes it all the way through the smoking process to impart particularly excellent flavor. It’s hard to pick a favorite. In the recipe below, we use the Anchonero, but a 6oz bottle of one of the other rubs we offer can be used instead. It’s all up to you.
HOMEMADE ANCHONERO BACON
10 lbs Whole Pork Belly (we buy it at Costco)
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 cup Kosher Salt (Morton’s)
2 teaspoons Pink Curing Salt (we found this on Amazon)
6oz. bottle of AlbuKirky Seasonings Anchonero Hot Rub (or a 6oz. bottle of one of our other rubs)
Add sugar, kosher salt, pink curing salt and AlbuKirky Seasonings Anchonero Hot Rub to a large bowl and mix until well blended. Do not alter the ratios of these ingredients.
Place pork belly in a large stainless steel pan or glass baking dish. DO NOT place in a foil pan as the salt will dissolve the foil. Apply a generous amount of the salt/rub mixture to one side of the belly covering the entire surface. Flip the belly and apply the mixture to the other side.
Cover and refrigerate for 7 days. Flip the belly in the pan every other day.
On day 7, rinse off the rub/salt mixture and pat the belly dry. Refrigerate, uncovered overnight.
On day 8, smoke the pork belly. Light your smoker/Big Green Egg. We use Mesquite lump charcoal and maple wood chunks.
Set up the Big Green Egg in the following manner. Adjust this setup to accommodate your smoker if not using a Big Green Egg…
Starting at the bottom-
disposable metal pan filled halfway with water
top with the grate
Sprinkle a light coating of AlbuKirky Seasonings Anchonero Hot Rub on both sides of the pork belly.
Place pork belly on the smoker/BGE fat side down. Smoke at 225-250º for 3 hours. Flip pork belly and smoke for one more hour.
Pork belly is now ready to slice and fry, so do yourself a favor and fry some up for a taste test. You earned it!
As for the remainder, let it cool at room temperature, then refrigerate. Once completely chilled, cut into 1 lb. slabs, vacuum seal and store in the freezer for up to two years. We hand packages of our Homemade Anchonero Bacon out during the holidays to family and friends. If you made the Bacon List, then you must be extra special! If you didn’t make the Bacon List, we probably just ran out of bacon, but we still love you.
I think you’ll agree, a pretty easy process. If you’ve got the space in the fridge to let a pork belly hang out in a pan for a week then you’re already passed the biggest hurdle.