Smye's Lightly Peppered Bacon
Bacon, what's not to love? How about the incredibly high salt content, cost, inconsistent flavor, and oft-questionable quality of the meat prior to the cure? Well folks, here's the solution, home-cured, home-smoked bacon from scratch. It's absolutely incredible and less than 1/3 the cost of storebought.
- Serves: 5 persons
- 5pounds skinless pork belly
- ¼cup brown sugar
- 3¾ tablespoons non-iodized salt
- 3tablespoons paprika
- 3tablespoons red pepper flakes
- 2tablespoons ground black pepper
- 2teaspoons pink curing salt
- 2teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2½ tablespoons maple syrup
- applewood chunks
- hickory wood chunk
Step 1Rinse pork belly and pat dry. Mix brown sugar, salt, paprika, red pepper flakes, black pepper, curing salt, and cumin seeds together. Add maple syrup. Spread the cure mixture evenly over pork belly.
Step 2Vacuum-seal the pork belly or place it into a resealable plastic bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for 7 to 10 days.
Step 3Remove pork belly from bag and rinse thoroughly. Pat dry and refrigerate while preheating your smoker to 220 degrees F (105 degrees C) according to manufacturers' instructions.
Step 4Place pork belly, fat-side down, onto the wire rack. Place the rack into the smoker. Add 1 fist-sized chunk of applewood and 1 chunk of hickory wood to the smoke pan according to manufacturer's directions. Smoke for 1 1/2 hours; add 2 more chunks of applewood. Continue smoking until pork belly reaches an internal temperature of about 150 degrees F (66 degrees C), about 1 1/2 hours more.
Step 5Remove pork belly from smoker and slice as desired. Store in the refrigerator for roughly 30 days. You can also portion out the finished bacon and freeze whatever you don't plan to consume right away, as you would any other meat product. To use, simply thaw in the refrigerator and you're good to go with little loss of texture.