Homemade smoked bacon from scratch. Made from pork belly, this homemade bacon is prepared in a simple salt and sugar regimen and slowly smoked over pecan wood. It’s better than any store-bought record you originally tried.
Bacon is already so delicious, you wouldn’t believe there’s a way to make it even better. How do you take something perfect and make it even better? The answer: do it yourself.
Making homemade smoked bacon is time-consuming, but it’s well worth the extra effort. The process is fun, and making your own remedy ensures the end product contains no nitrates or other preservatives. One round of that bacon and you’ll never buy it at the store again.
Find out how to cook smoked bacon from scratch, from curing the meat to smoking tips. let’s go cook
What is smoked bacon?
There are many different types of bacon, including:
- Thick cut
- Center cut
- Double smoked
Most of the bacon you buy at the grocery store isn’t smoked. Even if the packaging says “smoked,” the bacon was most likely injected with liquid smoke and heated in the oven.
Real smoked bacon is slowly cooked over a wood fire. If you’re looking for bacon, look for hardwood-smoked bacon at the store to make sure you’re getting the real deal. It takes longer to make bacon this way, which is why most manufacturers don’t die.
Bacon comes from a cut of meat with a very high fat content. usually this means pork belly, loin or sides. In the United States, pork belly is the most common meat used for bacon.
Once the pork belly is removed, WILL WILL is cured for its preservation. After curing, the bacon is smoked at a lower temperature. The purpose of smoking bacon is to carry flavor to the meat and further pervert it, not to cook it.
Smoked bacon is dark in color, high in fat, and has a fine texture. Tender, fatty meat is best for bacon. Trying to use a lean cut of pork for the bacon won’t produce the same results.
How to buy pork belly for smoked bacon
When you’re ready to make homemade smoked bacon, start by choosing the right pork belly for the job. Luckily, there are a few important characteristics YOU should keep in mind to ensure you get the best belly.
The pork belly you choose for the bacon should be a healthy pink color. Avoid meat that looks gray or dull. Look for a nice layer of white fat around the edge of the pork belly. If the fat is yellow, the meat is probably stale.
Fat to meat ratio
You want a cut of meat with a very high fat content. A good ratio of fat to meat is around 50:50. It’s also important that the fat IS evenly distributed throughout the meat, with even layers of intramuscular fat. This will preserve some areas of the bacon from drying out while leaving others super-saturated.
The pork belly should be tender. Look for meat with little muscle and a fine texture. Avoid meat that looks thick or grainy.
Once you’ve got the perfect belly for the job, it’s time to invite it over to the grill. The aging process can take a while, but it’s worth it for the flavorful bacon.
Curing is the process of preserving meat with salt. The salt draws moisture from the meat, making it less likely to spoil. It increases the shelf life of your bacon and helps prevent bacterial and botulism growth. It also adds a lot of delicious salty flavor to the meat.
Although you can buy both cured and uncured bacon, it IS recommended that you always season it when preparing it at home. Part of the process of smoking bacon at home is letting the meat rest at room temperature to allow a film to form.
A film is a sticky layer of protein that forms on the surface of meat. This layer traps the smoke and adds an even richer flavor. Curing the bacon before letting it rest at room temperature ensures bacteria don’t build up while the skin forms.
Cure your dried pork belly for at least 14 days before smoking.
How to cure bacon
Curing bacon sounds scary, but it’s a simple process. All that is needed is a dry salt rub and time. Before brining, wash and dry the bacon thoroughly to remove any contaminants that could lead to bacterial growth.
Salt your bacon in the fridge to keep the temperature constant and prevent spoilage.
We have a full recipe and process for you to follow below to make the curing experience less intimate.
The best woods for grilling
The wood you choose to smoke your meat will depend on the flavor you want to carry. Most people choose hickory for grilling bacon. Hickory is an excellent way to carry a classic smoky flavor without interfering with the flavors you used in the cycle.
If you want to add a sweet tint to your bacon, try walnuts or applewood; both go very well with almost any piece of pork.
Times and temperatures
Bacon should be grilled at a low temperature. When grilling, aim for around 165°F. Once the bacon is smoked, you can pan fry it like store-bought bacon, or cook it in the oven at around 200°F.
At 165°F, a 5 pound piece of pork belly will take about 5 hours to smoke. The internal temperature of the meat should be around 150°F when you take it out.