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How to Cure & Smoke Bacon

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Prepare the black pepper, bay leaves, and juniper berries and mix them together in a bowl.
  2. Weigh each section of pork belly and calculate 2.25% of their weight. This number is how much salt and sugar you will need.
  3. Measure out the the salt and sweetener according to your calculations into a separate bowl for each section.
  4. Thoroughly rub the cure all over your belly sections, making sure to get every little bit covered with the salt & sugar mix.
  5. Rub ⅓ of the seasoning (pepper, bay, and juniper) mixture onto each slab.
  6. Place each belly slab into a separate vacuum seal bag along with any remaining portion of cure and seasoning that didn't adhere to the slab.
  7. Seal each bag with a vacuum sealer and refrigerate for at least 7 days.
  8. Remove the bacon from the bag and lay it out in the refrigerator for a day to allow the exterior skin to prepare for smoking. This will make a slightly tacky skin to which the smoke will adhere better.
  9. We smoked our bacon using oak wood for the first hour or so and then switch to cherry. Apple would work really well if harvested from an untreated tree.
  10. Smoke the bacon at 200 degrees until it reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees.
  11. Chill the smoked slabs prior to slicing to make it easier.
  12. Slice according to desired thickness.
  13. Cook the bacon in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for about 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the slices. (We find that homemade bacon retains more flavor and cooks more evenly during oven baking than in a skillet.)

Recipe by Reformation Acres at https://www.reformationacres.com/2014/03/how-to-cure-and-smoke-bacon.html