It was quite convenient that Bill Gillespie’s new book “The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook” arrived in the mail right around the time I had asked Snake River Farms to send me some Kurobuta Pork Belly for my “How to Make Bacon” post. Funny how things work out sometime.
Now that diets like the Paleo and Ketogenic diet say its okay to eat bacon (in moderation of course) it seems like bacon is in everything these days (and I’m okay with that!). And we all know that bacon makes EVERYTHING butter, I mean better.
Making your own bacon is surprisingly easy, it’s just a time investment. The hardest part of the whole process is remembering to turn it over everyday while it is curing in the refrigerator. It entails creating a rub (with the pink curing salt included) and letting the pork belly cure in the refrigerator for 7 days. After that you smoke it for a bit- and then you have bacon that is ready to be fried up!
What’s the rub?
I opted to use Bill’s coffee molasses recipe because that just sounded perfect fried up for breakfast, and for anything really! Those two flavors together is damn tasty. If you have a favorite rub, you could try to make a cure for pork belly by using your favorite rub with the addition of curing salt, also called: Prague Powder. Prague powder is essentially the mix of salt and sodium nitrate. Remember to reduce the amount of salt in your rub when adding the Prague powder.
You can also choose to make bacon without using any curing salt- I have yet to do this but there are plenty of recipes out there. The main difference is the decreased marinating time that I’ve noticed for the method and rubs without nitrates. (My next batch will be without nitrates FYI as I do try to keep my diet preservative-free. But for the sake of trying this the first time, I went with using curing salt.) Please note that I used Korobuta (Berkshire) Pork Belly from Snake River Farms. I figured if you are going to invest a WEEK making something, use the best meat quality available!
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Do you have a favorite way to eat bacon? Please do share!!
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This recipe is adapted from The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook by Bill Gillespie (which I highly recommend). I reduced the amount of salt. FYI, Korobuta pork is considered to be equal in status to Kobe Beef and comes from purebred Berkshire hogs.
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup molasses
- ¼ cup very strong brewed coffee or espresso
- 2 tbsp coffee grounds
- 1 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 tsp curing salt (prague powder)
- 3–4 lb pork belly, skin off
- 3–4 chunks hickory oak wood
- You will also need a gallon ziplock back.
- Combine all ingredients (except Pork of course!) in a bowl to make a slather.
- Next, put the pork belly in a gallon ziplock back fatside up.
- Rub the slather all over the pork belly, keeping in mind to put 2/3 of the rub on the meat (no fat) side.
- Seal the bag and place on a cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator to cure for 7 days. Remember to turn the pork belly over every day! I suggest setting an alarm on your phone or a calendar reminder. Trust me you will forget! On the 7th day, remove the pork belly from the fridge and rinse the rub off.
- Now soak the pork belly in the fridge for an hour before cooking it so it’s not too salty.
- For this recipe I used my Big Green Egg, but any smoker will do. Set your smoker to 225 degrees and then add your wood chips before adding the pork belly (I used Hickory but use what you like! I believe apply wood would be amazing!).
- Cook the pork belly fat side down. Smoke the pork belly until it reaches an internal temp of 150 degrees (use an internal read thermometer such as the Thermapen). This only took me about 2-5 hours but it could take you longer. Expect 3 hours on your smoker, give or take.
- Let the pork belly cool. You can slice it up and cook it or keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- I ate a LOT of bacon the week I made this. IN fact, I took the smoked pork belly and ground it in with burger meat to make extra-bacony bacon burgers! OMG!
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