Bacon is one of the greatest things to eat. Especially when it is partnered up with eggs and fresh bread.
It’s satisfying it is to chow down on a bacon sandwich knowing that you made your own bacon from pork belly!!
Plus I think it tastes better than store-bought
Smoking bacon at home does take a little bit of time and preparation.
This isn’t for something looking for a quick bacon fix!
So follow my 8 steps below for delicious homemade bacon.
How To Smoke Bacon At Home
Smoking pork belly to make bacon at home is pure joy.
I have outlined my 8 simple steps below. There is nothing like turning a piece of pork belly into delicious bacon!
Step 1: Choose The Right Pork For The Job
You can’t go into any job without the correct tools. Smoking your own bacon is no exception. You need to get yourself the best quality pork belly you can find.
Ideally, you want to get a good chunk of pork belly that has come from a farm, or at least a breed such as Berkshire, Duroc, or Kurobuta.
This will ensure you have a more rich, & meatier piece of belly that will be bursting with flavor. Not like those industry-farmed pigs.
If you like middle-cut bacon, I would suggest using pork butt. You’ll end up with a meatier product. However, if you’re like me you’ll prefer your pork butt smoked and shredded!
Love jerky? See my guide on how to make bacon jerky!
Step 2: Score The Fat Cap
You want to score the fat cap and give it a rub with olive oil.
Step 3: Prepare Your Cure
The basic cure ingredients are curing salt, pepper, and sugar. Give the pork belly a rub with the mixture
I recommend having a play with the proportions of these ingredients.
You can even add in other flavors if you like. Chilli, pepper, and even jalapenos can help give the bacon a really beautiful flavor.
Step 4: Cure Your Pork Belly
The curing process takes 7 days.
You need to place your pork belly on a rimmed baking tray inside of a resealable plastic bag. The rimmed baking tray is primarily used to stop any leaks.
This needs to sit in the refrigerator for 7 days and flipped each and every day.
It is very important that you turn the belly every day. This will help re-disperse the juices that gather in the tray/bag.
Step 5: Rinse Your Cured Pork Belly
Once the 7 days are up, you need to thoroughly rinse your pork belly.
Thoroughly rinse the pork belly under cold running water. I like to use a colander, however, use what you have available. Once thoroughly rinsed, dab dry with plenty of paper towel.
Place the dry belly (uncovered) onto a wire rack on top of a rimmed baking tray and set in the refrigerator for a further 4 hours (the longer the better so overnight again if possible)
This process helps the skin form a pellicle layer. The texture you are looking for is dry, papery, and tacky to touch. Below you will see what the pork belly looks like after the 7 days of curing
This outer layer will help the smoke stick to the skin giving you a deeper smoke flavor and that beautiful bronze color.
Step 6: Smoke Your Bacon
It’s business time. For smoking your pork belly you are wanting to maintain a temperature between 150 – 180°F. Ideally as close to 175°F as possible.
When smoking pork belly for bacon, I like to use woods such as apple, hickory, or cherry. This works with the bacon to create a great flavor. Unlike a stronger wood like mesquite which I find overpowers the bacon flavor.
You are looking to smoke your pork belly for around 2 – 3 hours depending on the thickness of the cut. The internal temperature needs to be around 150°F and the skin has a beautiful bronze color.
Using a pellet smoker? See how to smoke bacon with a pellet smoker here.
Step 7: Rest Your Bacon
After your bacon has reached 160°F you need to let it cool until it has reached room temperature. The best way to do this is on a wire rack. Be sure to have a tray underneath to catch any drippings
Once at room temperature, the bacon needs to rest in the refrigerator overnight (or at least a further 4 hours). Tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator. This helps the bacon achieve a better texture and flavor.
You can store the bacon in the freezer for several months or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Step 8:Slice and Cook Your Bacon
Making your own bacon is great for one main reason. You can choose how thick you want it!
I am a sucker for a nice big thick piece. You can cook your bacon in 1 million different ways. However, my favorite is to just simply cook it over a hot grill until crispy.
On a medium-high grill place your bacon directly on the grill. Leave enough space between each slice so you can move without causing flare-ups. Grill on each side until crispy. I like to place my bacon on a paper towel straight out of the grill to absorb any access grease.
Place bacon on a wire rack on top of rimmed baking in a preheated oven at 400°F for 15 – 20 minutes or until crispy. I like to place my bacon on a paper towel straight out of the oven to absorb any access grease.
Place bacon in a cold frying pan. Fry on low – medium heat until each side is crispy. Make sure that you remove any access grease throughout the cooking process. I like to place my bacon on a paper towel straight out of the pan to absorb any access grease.
Homemade Bacon Recipe
Home Made Smoked Bacon Recipe
- 2 teaspoons pink curing salt
- 3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 4 to 5 pound pork belly
- In a mixing bowl mix together kosher salt, pepper and pink salt. Once mixed add in the sugar, make sure to break up any lumps with your fingers.
- On a rimmed baking tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle half the cure onto the skin side of the belly. Once thoroughly coated, turn over and use the remaining cure to coat the underside. When the whole pork belly is coated place in a resealable bag (or covered and sealed foil pan) and place in the refrigerator.
- Let the pork belly cure for 7 days. Be sure to turn each day to redistribute any liquids that have accumulated at the bottom of the pan/bag.
- After 7 days drain the pork belly and rinse well with lots of cold water. Once well drained dab dry with lots of paper towel.
- Place the pork belly on a wire rack on top of a baking tray and set back in the refrigerator. Let the pork belly dry for around 4 hours (can take longer for larger bellys) or until the surface of the belly feels tacky & papery.
- Pre heat your smoker to 175°F as per your smokers manufacturers instructions. It’s not essential but I like to use woods such as apple, hickory or cherry for t this recipe, these woods complement the pork perfectly, however, your favourite wood will be fine too.
- Place the pork directly on the grill grate and smoke until the belly is firm and has a bronzed outer. Depending on the size of your belly this should take between 2 – 3 hours. You are looking for an internal temperature of 150°F.
- Place the bacon on a wire rack and let cool until it has reached room temperature. Once cool wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. If you can wait, overnight works best.
- Slice! I like to slice this bacon fairly thick, however, thin however you like your bacon. My favourite way to cook the bacon is on the grill, however, you can cook it any way that you like!
So there you have it, my super easy smoked bacon recipe.
This is a great easy recipe for anyone new to smoking or looking to impress their friends with minimum effort. I hope you enjoy it as much as myself and the family does!
What did you put in your cure?
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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