Homemade bacon is one of those things that is extremely easy to make and tastes so much better than the stuff you buy pre-packaged at the grocery store. It is also one of those fun things to experiment around with to find the flavor that you like.
The only tricky part is finding pork belly. Luckily for me I have an amazing butcher so a quick phone call and patiently (this is really hard at times) waiting for a week solves that problem. I have heard rumors that an Asian market may carry them also but apparently not the ones around here.
For this run of bacon making joy I used two different rubs and 1 5 lb pork belly that I cut in half.
One half of the belly was rubbed with:
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup black pepper
- 1/4 turbindo sugar
- 4 cloves of garlic diced
- 2 crumbled dried bay leaves
- 3 tb of kosher salt
- 2 tb of brown sugar
- leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
Basically rub the mixture all the belly pieces and place in a ziploc bag. Stash in the fridge for 7 days turning every day.
After 7 days remove and it should not smell spoiled if it does throw it out and start over again. As long as you make sure the rub is in contact with the meat you should have no problem. Also, when touched it should feel firm not spongy. If it still feels spongy put in back in the fridge for 1-2 more days.
If the meat is ready run it under cold water to remove the rub mixture.
For the one with rub #1 on it I decided to throw in a 200 degree oven till it reached 150 degrees internal (about 2.5 hours).
Feel free to slice it up and throw it in a skillet at this point.
For the belly that had rub #2 on it I placed it back in the fridge uncovered overnight. This process creates a sticky layer on the meat called pellicle which allows the smoke to attach to the meat better.
When you are ready fire your smoker up to 200-215 degrees and smoke till the belly has reached 150 internal (about 2.5 hours).
It will stay for about a week in the fridge and a couple months in the freezer. I normally cut the bacon into smaller pieces, freeze them, and grab some when I need some.