Updated August 31, 2021. Kirk has slightly altered the process for how he cures his bacon. Previous batches sometimes came out too salty. To adjust for this, he kept his cure recipe and ratios the same, however, he now opts to cover the pork belly with less rub. Find the detailed changes in the written instructions below. Please note, the videos have not been updated and contain the same cure recipe and process as before. The most up to date information will be found in the written recipe.
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. Also note, Morton’s Kosher Salt is absolutely necessary for this process as Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt salt crystals are cut finer and does not allow the cure to adequately penetrate the pork belly, possibly leaving some areas of the belly uncured.
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. Start meat side up and apply a moderate layer of the salt/rub mixture. You want to cover the meat, but you do not want to cake it on in a thick layer. Slightly rub the curing mixture into the flesh. Turn the belly over in the pan, some of the rub will fall off and settle in the bottom of the pan (and that is fine). Apply the rub in the same manner to the fatty side of the belly.
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 Jealous Devil charcoal and pecan 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 foil pan filled halfway with water
top with the grate
Spritz belly lightly with water. 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 225-250 degrees for 3 hours. Flip pork belly and smoke for one more hour to an internal temp of at least 160 degrees.
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.