Bacon is one of the most loved things on the planet! We just love it and can never have too much of it! But what if you could make your own? This ultimate guide will guide you through the process of making homemade bacon from start to finish
We will start with a beautiful piece of pork belly. What’s important when you’re making bacon is that you want meat on your pork belly. Sometimes when you order a high-quality pork belly there’s a lot of fat on there, and there’s almost no meat. That’s what you want to avoid if you are making homemade bacon. You need to look for that pork belly that has a lot of meat on it and usually it’s the cheaper cut of pork belly.
The real essence of making bacon is getting a good rack and that is what you should work on first. You will start with the brine. There are two main ingredients to the dry brine. Salt and sugar. I like to use raw cane sugar because it has that caramelized flavor. You are going to need a lot of sugar!
Use a Dry Brine for your Homemade Bacon
When making the dry brine you need the same amount of sugar and salt. This is a basic rule, you can make homemade bacon if you have got 50% sugar and 50% salt. If you want to add flavor you can. You can add Indonesian flavors, Mexican flavors, whatever you want. It’s your bacon so feel comfortable with experimenting. Personally, I always add maple syrup. Not the cheap stuff, the good quality ones. Bacon is one of life’s great indulgences so you might as well make it as good as you possibly can.
Mix all the ingredients together and you will see it changing into a brown, dryish mixture. I can already imagine the bacon changing color. When I make bacon I don’t add nitrate, you can if you want to but you have to keep the concentrations of nitrate low. Since we are going to hot smoke our bacon and we’re going to cook it to a high temperature I’m not gonna bother with it.
Now is the time for you to start working on the pork belly. Take the pork belly out of the package. Pat it dry and then closely inspect your meat. If you have the skin on the top side you will have to take that off. You need to put half of the dry brine on the bottom of the pork belly and slide this into a Ziploc bag. This is very easy to do. Next, you flip the bag around and put the rest of the dry brine on top. You want your dry brine to cover all of your pork belly. If you find that you have too little just make a little more. Now close up the bag, put it in the fridge leave it there for seven days.
Seven Days Later!
You have left the pork belly in the brine for seven days at this point so it is time for the next step. When you take it out you will see it has completely changed color. It will have a nice bit of dark on the outside There will be some fluid in the bag. This is because the sugar drew out all the moisture from the bacon. This is what happens when you make homemade bacon. Drawing out the moisture and adding that flavor of the salt and sweetness from the sugar.
Take the bacon out of the package. You will notice how dark brown it has become. Put in some cold water to rinse off the rest of the salt. The reason why you need to do this right is that you want to expose the meat to the smoke. When there’s water in between you get averse evaporate through the water. Now that the meat is dry it will pick up more smoke. In the end, you get that candy sweetness together with the pork.
It almost smells like homemade bacon now, but there is one thing missing, and that is smoke! It is time to light up the barbecue. You are going to use one basket of charcoal for this. Personally I like to use beech wood for the smoke when I make bacon. Just get a small chunk and split it up. First, you can add one small chunk and when you need more smoke you can add the second one.
Nou you are going to put the grill grate back on you should put the pork belly on a rack. This is going to maximize the amount of smoke that it can absorb. This is because there are no big grill grates in the way just a small grate. You are going to smoke this over indirect heat.
You are hot smoking this homemade bacon and we’re going to let the temperature of the grill slowly come up to 222 Fahrenheit and we want the internal temperature to reach 150. Once this is hit it’s time to take it off the grill. By now it will be looking absolutely gorgeous. It will have a color that’s between mahogany and a light brown.
This is fully cooked and this is so, so, much better than the supermarket bacon. When they call supermarket bacon, smoked bacon most of the time they just dip it in smoke fluid so it’s not really smoked. But, this is really good stuff.
I normally put some in a vacuum bag. You can actually seal this homemade bacon up and if you are sealing this up you can keep this in the fridge for a week or so, and in the freezer for up to a year. But, this is bacon so I can already predict that it is going to be eaten really soon!
Now that you know how to make homemade bacon, why not check out our wood guide to see what you can experiment with!