Home-Cured Bacon

Home-Cured Bacon

The title of this recipe is a slight misnomer. Our process described below does not actually cure the bacon. Cured bacon is marinated or seasoned and left to … cure … before being smoked, sliced, packaged, and sold. It has a fairly long shelf life because of the chemicals added during processing (such as preservatives, nitrates/nitrites, or high-nitrate celery salt). Our bacon is just meat–no seasonings, no salt, no chemicals. Technically, it’s just fresh pork.

We sell two different forms of pasture-raised bacon, but neither is processed in any way. We sell regular sliced bacon and slabs of pork belly. The only difference between the two is that pork belly can be cured and smoked the traditional way; our sliced bacon is simply sliced pork belly. Since it is pre-sliced, it cannot really be cured or smoked, but it can be seasoned in such a way that it resembles cured bacon. The great thing about that is it contains no chemicals–only the seasonings you choose to add.

You can simply fry the bacon and add salt to enjoy the natural porkiness of uncured bacon. Or you can make it taste like what your brain tells you bacon tastes like. Here’s how…

To “Home-Cure” one pound of sliced pork belly (“bacon”):

Mix 2 Tbs sugar and 1 Tbs salt in 1 pint warm water.
Add 1 or 2 shakes of Liquid Smoke. (Optional–this is what gives it a smokey flavor.)

Place bacon in deep glass container and cover with water mixture. Separate bacon strips so that each is fully exposed to the solution. Add a little water to cover if necessary. Cover with lid, place in refrigerator overnight.

To cook:

Remove strips of bacon from water mixture and pat dry. Fry on cast iron skillet to desired crispness–hotter for squishier bacon; cooler and slower for more crisp bacon. Or use in recipes that call for bacon or salt pork.

**Tip: reserve the bacon fat for frying veggies or eggs or making biscuits. It will impart a lovely baconey flavor to whatever you fry in it!

7 Responses to Home-Cured Bacon

  1. Kim Leonard says:

    Are you using regular table salt for the cure recipe listed for sliced pork belly? I picked up my bacon from the butcher and it was sliced, all 26 pounds of it. Also can you give me the cure recipe for a larger amount to mix up?

    Thank you

  2. Matthew says:

    I had the same thing happen this week, Kim. Can’t believe they sliced it after we talked about how I was going to cure and smoke it myself. Anyway this looks like it might be an OK fix.

  3. Jeff says:

    Why cannot you smoke sliced pork belly? I season sliced pork belly and bake on a rack in the oven at 225 for about an hour. Let it cool and freeze it to make “no salt added” mock bacon. It is good, but I was planning to coat with maple syrup and hickory smoke it in a smoker the next batch at 225. What am I missing?

    • jericacadman says:

      I am not a smoker expert (no time for that!), but I suspect the general practice of smoking only slabs of belly has to do with moisture retention. Thin slices would dry out much more quickly than a slab, so it would be harder to perfect the timing to get enough smokey flavor and moisture removal (because you do need some), but not over-drying the bacon and making jerky! I’d give it a try, though, if I were into smoking. 🙂 Let us know how it turns out!

  4. Bob says:

    I just opened my pork belly packages which are normally not sliced and found that for whatever reason they are sliced this time. What I did was tied about a pound together with butchers twine and rubbed a dry cure around the outside. I then placed the tied bellies in a large zip-loc bag and will let them sit in the fridge (turning bag over everyday) for about a week. After rinsing I will rub them with pepper and smoke them with apple wood. This may turn out better than the normal bacon I cure and smoke.

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