Homemade Bacon : Part 1 The Cure
If bacon had it’s own Twitter account it would have more followers than Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and Barack Obama combined. Everyone loves those slabs of salty goodness. Even those forbidden to eat it have been known to long for it. I cured more than 20 pounds to get the photos below, and all of it was consumed before I finished my first draft a week later (With the help of family and friends of course – I’m not that big of a glutton).
I hold bacon’s many virtues on such a high pedestal that I struggled to write about it because the words always felt unworthy. Then I remembered: Bacon is awesome, and you aren’t here to read my attempts at witty prose, you are here because you love it too, so let’s get on with it!
There is so much to say about bacon, I’ve divided the process into two parts: curing and smoking. In this post I’ll cover two methods of curing. I’ll cover smoking in part 2.
Bacon was the first meat I cured myself, and it’s absolutely the best cut for a newbie to enter the world of curing. It’s incredibly easy and doesn’t require any fancy equipment to churn out a fabulous product that puts everything in your local supermarket to shame. All that’s needed is access to a refrigerator, a smoker, and a handful of ingredients.
Find a local farmer if possible
Procuring the pork belly is the hardest part of curing bacon at home. Most big-box grocery stores do not carry pork bellies. There is simply not enough demand to keep them in stock. This is where a local butcher or farmers market comes in handy. Local butchers have an advantage over supermarkets because they work with local farmers to source their meat. Nine times out of ten, local sources of pork are a much higher quality.
If you can get heritage breed pork from Berkshire, Duroc, Red Wattle, or Mangalitsa pigs that were raised with love and care it will absolutely show in the final product. Yes, it’s likely to cost a bit more but taste and texture will be of a much higher quality, the animals were much more likely to be raised in superior conditions, and the money goes back into supporting your local farming community. It’s a win all the way around.
The supermarket option
If you don’t have access to a local butcher or farmers market, big restaurant supply stores will likely have bellies. They are also likely to have the best prices. However, it’s commonplace for these stores to only sell pork bellies by the case, which is 50 pounds, and the pork is usually a lower quality. A case of pork might not be a problem for some, but for others it may be too much of an investment or take up too much space.
Yet another option is to try a local ethnic grocery store. Latino and Asian grocery stores are very likely to keep bellies in stock and will be selling much more manageable sizes. I recommend buying at least a five-pound slab, which is normally half a belly. The thicker the better.
For this walkthrough I lucked out at my local butcher shop. I told the butcher I wanted a nice, thick pork belly because I was going to cure some bacon. He went in the back and popped out a few minutes later with the biggest pork belly I’ve ever seen. He tossed it up on the scale and it came in at 25 pounds. Yahtzee!
Divide it up
Trying to cure a whole belly this size is generally too much to handle. It gets unwieldy when trying to wrap it up and most home cooks do not have enough room in their fridge or smoker for such a large cut. I had plans to try a couple more recipes with pork belly, so I divided the massive hunk of pork into five-pound sections. I recommend slicing bellies into five-pound chunks because they are just the right size to handle easily and will be enough for yourself, friends, and family should you choose to be so generous.
Removing the skin
After slicing the belly, the first step in the process is to remove the skin. A sharp fillet knife and a slow and steady pace are key. Leave as much fat as possible on the belly. Once the skin is removed don’t throw it away. It will make an excellent batch of chicharrones. Put it in a ziplock bag and toss it in the freezer until you need it.
The Curing Process
Now it’s time to cure. If you were to slice off a piece of the belly at this stage and fry it up it would not taste like bacon. It would have a delicious fatty porky taste. That’s not what we are after here. In order to get that salty pink-colored goodness, it needs to be placed in a cure. Your pork belly is like a caterpillar that needs to go into a cocoon of cure before it’s transformed into a beautiful bacon butterfly.
Your pork belly is like a caterpillar that needs to go into a cocoon of cure before it’s transformed into a beautiful bacon butterfly.
So what is a cure exactly? Essentially a cure is salt, sugar, and sodium nitrite. Insta-Cure #1 is the most commonly used type of sodium nitrite. The Insta-Cure is what gives bacon that pink color we all know and love. The benefit of adding Insta-Cure #1 is food safety. It prevents nasty things like botulism that can grow in warm and moist environments with low oxygen. Sounds a lot like a warm smoking cabinet doesn’t it?
Buzzwords are bad M’kay
Nitrite and nitrate nutritional safety has been debated back and forth. Both are naturally occurring in vegetables like celery and beets. Some of the best ham and sausage makers I know use nitrites and nitrates. After consulting local experts and doing my own research I have no problem eating food containing either.
I usually purchase my Insta-Cure #1 from The Sausage Maker. A five-pound tub will last you a long time. Be sure to get Insta-Cure #1 and not Insta-Cure #2. #2 is for long-duration cures like salumi. Any cure lasting less than 30 days would need #1 and anything more would need #2.
Two methods to choose from
There are two curing methods to choose from: Dry and wet. Both have their pros and cons. A dry cure is just like it sounds – dry. Salt, sugar, pepper, and Insta-cure are rubbed all over every surface of the belly. It’s then wrapped up and set in a refrigerator for 6-7 days to cure. With a wet cure, the belly is instead placed in a water-based cure solution and refrigerated for 10-14 days.
- Shorter cure duration
- Easier to store in smaller refrigerators
- Exotic flavor profiles are easier to achieve
- Can be a bit messier
- Can be prone to hot or cold spots due to too much or too little cure in areas of your bacon
- Not as messy
- Cure is distributed more evenly
- Can take up a considerable amount of space in the refrigerator
- Takes up to twice as long to cure as a dry cure method
- Exotic flavor profiles are hard to achieve
Dry Cure Method
Since I purchased a giant belly I used both methods. For the dry cure I prefer to use honey and brown sugar to punch up the sweetness. Start by combining ½ cup of salt ½ cup of brown sugar, 1 TBS of black pepper, and 1 tsp of Insta-Cure #1. This amount of Insta-Cure is specific to a five-pound belly. Please be sure and use the correct amounts for the size you have.
After the dry rub is mixed set it aside. Pour the honey over the belly and coat evenly. Then sprinkle the cure over all parts of the meat front and back. After it is completely coated using all the cure and honey, wrap up the soon-to-be bacon. Plastic wrap is perfectly acceptable to use. I found jumbo 2.5 gallon Ziplock bags to be much easier than wrestling a thick slab of bacon inside a bunch of plastic wrap. Want to turn up the heat? Substitute this Hot Honey.
Don’t make a mess
After the bacon is covered stick it in the refrigerator for 6-7 days. During this time the cure will pull moisture out of the pork. It’s a good idea to put the belly on a rimmed cookie sheet just in case it leaks. After 3 days flip the bacon over to the other side. This ensures the cure is evenly distributed. After 6-7 days the belly should feel firm and there will likely be a good amount of liquid pulled from the slab. Unwrap the belly and wash off the excess cure under a faucet.
No going back after this
At this point we need to check to see how our flavors have matured. Slice off a small piece from one end of the bacon and fry it up in a pan. Hopefully the bacon has the perfect amount of saltiness. If the bacon has too much for your taste, fear not. Simply soak the slab for an hour in cold water and re-check with a fry test. After you are happy with the flavor profile pat the slab dry and rest the slab in the refrigerator uncovered overnight. If you have a wire cooling rack use it to elevate the slab to allow cool air to circulate around the belly. This is ideal as you want the slab to be as dry as possible so the smoke “sticks” to the meat when we put it in the smoker in part 2.
Wet Cure Method
The process for wet cure bacon is very similar. I find Pops6927’s recipe from the Smoking Meat forums to be a great place to start.
In a large food-safe container, combine 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of plain (non-iodized) table salt, 1 cup of white sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar, and 1 TBS of Insta-Cure #1. Mix together until dissolved. Drop in the pork belly and make sure it stays submerged. I used a plastic container filled with water to weigh mine down.
Keep your cool
Next, place the container and meat in the refrigerator for 14 days. Unlike the dry cure, there is no need to rotate the slab as it cures. After the 14 days are up, wash off the excess cure and pat dry.
From here, check the slab with a fry test to ensure the flavors are where you want them. If they are correct, rest the slab in the fridge uncovered overnight.
At this point we are in the home stretch. Whether you dry-cured or wet cured we have one last important step to achieving bacon bliss. It’s time to add some of that fantastic smoke flavor to our cured slab of belly. Now let’s head over to part 2 to wrap things up!
After you've tried this curing technique for homemade bacon you will never want the store-bought stuff again. You've been warned.
- 5 # Pork Belly skin removed
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 cup Kosher Salt
- 1 cup White Sugar
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 TBS Insta-Cure #1
In a large food-safe container, combine 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of Kosher Salt, 1 cup of white sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar, and 1 TBS of Insta-Cure #1.
Mix together until dissolved.
Drop in the pork belly and make sure it stays submerged. I used a plastic container filled with water to weigh mine down.
Refrigerate for 14 days.
After 14 days remove and rinse cure and pat dry.
Leave uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.
Smoke for 4 hours at temperatures under 165 degrees F.
Remove and cool in the refrigerator overnight.
Slice and enjoy.
123 Comments Hide Comments
Wow. What a detailed process you’ve outlined here. One day I hope to cure my own bacon and when I do, I will refer back to your page. Thank you for sharing the photos and instructions. Enjoy your bacon (if there still is some haha).
Thanks Memoria! Be sure and stop back in and let me know how your bacon turns out.
Were the measurements in the wet cure for all 25lbs? We’re smoking our own bacon for the second year in a row and are looking for a new recipe. We’re butchering our pigs today and would like to get all the bacon from two pigs into brine tonight.
Hello Lindsey. The Wet Cure and Dry Cure measurements are both for five pound chunks of belly. Depending on the thickness you may be able to fit more than one chunk down in the wet brine. As long as they stay submerged and have enough room for the cure to penetrate on all sides you should be fine. I’ve cured two 5 pound chunks in one batch of wet brine before. Good luck with your cure!
First time making bacon, found your recipe – used the dry cure method – WOW! super delicious. I’m going to have to keep a continual batch going so I don’t ever run out .
You’ll find yourself still running out.
Are you supposed to cover both sides of meat with honey and spice/cure?
cg if you elect to remove the skin then yes you can rub down both sides. What you will find is that once the cure is on, moisture will be drawn out and it will create a slurry. When you flip the slab over after a few days the mixture will absorb in both sides while it is in the fridge. Basically rubbing it in on both sides is good in practice but if you happen to forget it will still be fine.
we raise our pigs on a grain diet with no antibiotics or steroids. We make our own feed from corn we have grown in the garden our process is different. My 87 year od father in law taught the men how to kill the hogs, skin an/or scrape them then complete the butcher process we then make our own sausage with seasonings we have finally perfected for our taste but low sipodium. Then the big day. We have a smokehouse and all the meat is smoked the old fashioned way. It’s the best sausage you could eat and its low fat and low sodium. We use peco wood for smoking.
Everyone should try making their own bacon using this website. One of the best step by step process on the internet!!!
I used your recipe on a wild pig and it turned out awesome. I did add a few tweaks to your recipe once it was done brining. Here is a link to the whole process – http://texashuntingforum.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/5653490#Post5653490
Awesome write up Ron! Glad you liked the recipe.
Could you use less than 5lbs of pork belly in the brine? If you wanted to do a smaller batch. Or will insta-cure measurements be off?
Nathan if you are doing a wet cure you will be fine. If you are doing the dry cure you would want to weigh the IC and then go from there according to how much belly you are going to be using.
Is it alright to use frozen bellies?
Epic post Andrew! I have a question for you…Do you know how long it will take to expire a portion of bacon like this vacuum packed?
Great post! Thank you! Some questions if I may: I tried both your dry and wet cure recipes using approximately two 2.5 pound cuts of pork belly for each cure. So I had about five pounds total for each but in two pieces rather than one. Both cures turned out too salty for my taste. So my question is whether that saltiness is a function of the time I let them cure (both dry and wet) or the size of the cuts…or both? In other words if using smaller than five pound cuts of pork belly would you recommend reducing the cure time to achieve less saltiness? Or is the cure time kind of required for proper preservation (and/or moisture reduction) and then soaking in fresh water is the the best way to reduce saltiness?
One other thing and it is really just an observation. I noticed that the saltiness seemed to intensify from when I pulled it out of the cure until it was done smoking. I did the fry test before drying/smoking and it seemed just slightly too salty and I went ahead without soaking in fresh water. But after I dryed it then smoked it, it was more than just slightly too salty. I am not sure the reason but I suspect that leaving it over night to dry then smoking it reduces moisture even more thus increasing the saltiness. All this said…it is still delicious. The good thing about the saltiness is I use less at each serving and therefore it is lasting longer!!!
I had a couple salty batches before(own recipe)
If it’s a bit over the top just use it for accenting things like baked potatoes, chowders etc…believe me, it won’t go to waste 🙂
Hey Jason did you get a reply on your posts. I have the same questions. Would like to know the answers.
Yes, the saltiness can intensify once the bacon has dried. Smoking can also intensify the saltiness. If you have any doubts I’d error on the soaking side.
Andrew, I have done the dry cure with great success and I want to thank you for taking the time to share this with the world. I wanted to try the wet cure, but I have a question. In the dry cure portion you point out (and so does the jar) that 1 tsp of insta-cure covers 5 pounds. In the wet cure method I notice it says 1 Tbsp. Is that also for 5 pounds of belly? Thanks.
Very easy to follow guide and the result is great
How about a duck breast proscuitto recipe
Started the curing process today and It’s going to be some long 7 days ahead. Hope it works out and I will be enjoying my own home made piece of heaven in a week. I shall let you know!!
Hi andrew thats an excellent job youve done there very elaborate and neat i must say! Well done! I was wondering if there is any other method for smoking say using a grill and could not find smoking pellets, perhaps coal will do. Do you have any suggestions?
Sir, I can not get nitrates here in Nepal. Is there any alternative ?
Try celery juice 1 large bunch jucied will work fine in the wet prep. You can buy dry celery powder but im not sure how much to use in the dry rub process.
I followed your method to dry cure. The bacon turned out great. I just to a bunch on a fishing trip with some buddies this weekend. They want me to open a bacon shop!
Why not make your own brown sugar? 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1-2 Tablespoons (depending on how dark you want it) of Molasses. Here is a blog, with pictures
We butchered our free range organic pig yesterday and will be cutting it up today. I love the sound of your dry rub recipe but can’t find an amount for the honey. I could guess at ~4 ounces for a 1 pound slab. Am I close?
Also, I don’t have Prague powder. I have TenderQuick. How much TQ do I use instead of Prague?
I want to put my slabs in the cure tomorrow morning. Thanks.
Bought my pork belly and cured and smoked it. Turned out great. Did the dry cure. My only question is in your listed ingredients for the dry cure you list 1 TBS of black pepper and 1 tsp of insta cure. The pic looks like it’s equal amount of black pepper and insta cure. Just trying to make sure I am doing this correctly. Thanks,
Hello: Pork belly, for bacon. If I brine for two days, in a salt and brown sugar. and then make a cure of spices with salt sugar and other “stuff” do I still have to use the Nitrite salt? Will smoke to 200 and internal temp 150. for 3 hours. Is this o.k.? I don’t want to hurt anyone.
Was 200 too high temp? How did that turn out for you? From my understanding that temp would melt all the fat.
I cold smoke all my bacon. Frying it to eat should be the cooking part of the process. Nitrates are not mandatory. They do help preserve the color and also allow it last longer when thawed and chilled. I have not tried this recipe yet, but am excited to something different than my own.
For a test run I asked the butcher for 2 lbs of pork belly. However, when I got home I found out that the butcher had already sliced the pork nicely thick. Does that change the directions being the pork is already sliced? I went ahead a followed the whole meat steps with the individual slices so I guess in a week I’ll find out myself. lol
FYI from my earlier comment. Cured for 1 week as directed in slices. Test fried a couple of those slices and they turned out pretty good although it was not yet bacon good since not smoked. They slices were overly sugary and burned easily as I expected they would be. Kids loved it though and insisted I fry up the rest. They were gone in no time. I didn’t bother with the smoke process since the pork was presliced but I will next time with a whole belly. I look forward to doing it up proper next time!
Does anyone know if curing bacon for longer than 14 days, say 16 days, is a problem or will make bad bacon or make people sick? I tried to cure about 14 pounds over the Christmas break and never got a chance to smoke it. Thoughts? The slabs are all pretty good and firm.
Would a brown sugar bacon/ham cure blend by Sausage Maker make any difference?
Would a brown sugar bacon/ham cure blend by Sausage Maker make any difference in your instructions (measurements)?
I would follow the directions on the Sausage Maker recipe. I’ve never tried that product so I can’t say how it would effect this recipe.
This is my first time to make bacon when using the cold smoking method do you have to have any heat at all, I have a 12″ pellet smoking tube which they say produces 7- 15 degrees. I was going to set this in my bbq pit to smoke the bacon. Thank You Steve Palmer
No heat is needed. I actually like smoking when it’s cold so I get as little heat on the bacon as possible.
Followed this recipie to try to make my first bacon, and used honey on 1 side and molasses on the other but coated both with the seasoning mix, and it’s in the smoker right now but the initial fry test pieces….this is the best bacon I’ve ever had! Plan on buying a belly and making my own from now on! Thank you for sharing this recipie and the awesome write up to explain it all!
No problem Nathan. I’m glad it turned out well for you!
Thanks a lot for the recipe.On my first attempt, I got about an 8 pound belly and used the dry cure for one half and the wet for the other.Both turned out so well that family and friends keep bugging me to make more so I picked up a 13 pound belly today.Back at it !!!
When you start making bacon friends suddenly come out of the woodwork!
can I use Morton salt Tender Quick for curring bacon?
Gary, I know that people do use Tender Quick for curing bacon. I personally have never tried so I can’t say that the amount would be a 1:1 replacement.
I believe Morton discontinued their home curing mixes.
Today’s the second time I give this a try. It is so magnificently simple. Last time, I forgot to use honey, and this time, I decided I’d use it in the smoking process, just to see if more smoke will stick to it all. All in all, you are a hero of the Interwebs, since your contributions enlighten and enrich our lives and you help us remember that not all of it is fat free.
Thanks, I’m glad you liked it.
can I get the name and website to buy that insta cure#1 PLEASE
TANK YOU YOUR RECEPIE LOOK GOOD
THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR PROCESS VERY WELL DOCUMENTED PERFECT WAY TO CURE MEATS
the sausage maker, Buffalo, NY 14207
cant get recipe to print for curing bacon part one and part two. any chance you could email it to me?
After day 3 my pan is full of the juice extracted. Do I dump it or flip n put it back?
For the liquid portion, is it possible to not use water at all in order to hyper intense flavors? I am gonna do a Cherry (concentrate) Chocolate Bacon. The volume of liquid is important for equal disbursement of the instacure #1 and for the brining of the other ingredients but I don’t want to use water as a crutch to make up the liquid volume. What are your thoughts?
My assumption is the Cherries will add the acidic notes, The Chocolate will add the Bitter notes, that salt will add the salty notes and brown sugar or Bourbon will add the sweet notes.
Hello, I split a pig with a buddy and long story short the butcher he hired sliced the pork belly in thick slices without smoking, do you know if I should alter curing time or amount of sugar and salt? I read a previous post with same dilemma but wasn’t answered. Please help! (Also cut fresh hams into 2 to 3 pound pieces, don’t know why) Thanks
thank you for the recipe and the very nicely detailed post, hats off!
results were really, really good after following your post (apart from the nitrite stuff)
however I have to tell you that you are very, very off when you say nitrites and nitrates are safe. you may say that “Some of the best ham and sausage makers I know use nitrites and nitrates. After consulting local experts and doing my own research I have no problem eating food containing either” but when these sausage makers die of cancer at 65 or 75 and people think it was genetic then they are quite wrong there. it’s them chemicals….
after like a hundred year old debate the World Health Organization finally came out with its landmark study that concluded that eating processed meats with nitrates and nitrites increases one’s risk of cancer. ” an analysis of data from 10 studies, cited in the IARC report showed an 18 percent increased risk in colorectal cancer per 50g processed meat increase per day.”
many years ago highway signs around the beltways of Chicago tried to target kids/parents that hotdogs caused butt-cancer. loaded with nitrites…
oh yeah and these doctors tried to warn the community with their wonderful piece, too, but i guess nobody paid attention to him:
The epidemiological enigma of gastric cancer rates in the US: was grandmother’s sausage the cause?
by the way. i would rather deal with botulism than cancer.
show me an organism that survives 14 days of high salt and even higher sugar treatment (both of which remove water from what they touch thus killing it)….
“Spores are not killed by boiling, but botulism is uncommon because special, rarely obtained conditions are necessary for botulinum toxin production from C. botulinum spores, including an anaerobic, low-salt, low-acid, low-sugar environment at ambient temperatures.”
in other words if sugar and salt don’t kill botulism then stomach acid will.
You have fallen victim to incorrect information about nitrites and nitrates. If you are eating any product that says “uncured” because you are afraid of nitrates and nitrates then you have been duped. You are simply consuming large amounts that are present in celery salt / beet powders. Salumi makers are using buzz words and fear mongering to line their own pockets by preying on the uninformed. Using celery salt and the like are less accurate way of measuring parts per million in the product than if you had used a proven cure. You could be consuming MORE than if you had measured out the accurate amount of cure. There are more nitrates and nitrites in 4 servings of celery or beets than 450 hotdogs. The amount of naturally occurring nitrates and nitrites in you own saliva is higher than both.
My favorite line.
“With processed meats the relative risk of colorectal cancer is mildly elevated, what about vegetarians and nitrates? Turns out they consume more nitrates than people who eat processed meats.”
The more you know.
whether i or you have fallen victim to incorrect info about nitrites only time will tell…
I do not understand you… do you even read what you cite??????
The link you provided takes me to a doctors website who tries to tell us that nitrites are not so bad and even says “With processed meats the relative risk of colorectal cancer is mildly elevated…”
but cites a study  to back up his claims that concludes:
High intake of red and processed meat is associated with significant increased risk of colorectal, colon and rectal cancers.
I‘d rather believe the world health organization than a single doctor’s opinion from 2013. who is he? is he comparable to the scientific advisory board of th WHO? come on…
Besides, i would not trust a doctor with grey hair and grey beard unless he is over 100 years of age. He has apperantly no idea about nutrition and essential nutrients. Otherwise he would not have grey hair…. even a veterinarian knows what causes grey hair and how to reverse it…. but an MD… please.
I should say i rather believe my parents, grand parents, great-grand parents and so on who have been making sausages and bacon and all kinds of cured meats with nothing but plain old salt for hundreds of years. And they all made it to their 80s and 90s and more. they have never seen a single case of botulism (for which the nitrite is there in today’s food and is FDA approved 🙂 and is good so because they all watch out for our health….
and NO i am not eating any product that says uncured. and have not even said that i would, have i? i only said you are quite wrong about them and it is dangerous to tell people to eat it when one of the highest authority on health says otherwise. I did not say that but that’s the point… i knew that the celery powder is much worse than sodium nitrite. i would not even tuch it with a ten foot pole. I would not even give it to a communist… let alone to my family
let me ask you one thing. If it is true what you write: „The amount of naturally occurring nitrates and nitrites in your own saliva is higher than both.” Then why the hell do we need to put more toxic, carcinogenic compound in our food to combat bacteria?????? Why? What’s the point?
That thing about the vegetarians in the doc’s article stinks too. He makes the assumptions that it is them fibers that protects vegetarians from cancer… well Harvard medical school said in 1999
“Challenging conventional wisdom, a new study finds eating high-fiber foods does not cut your risk of colon cancer – but don’t banish the broccoli, experts say.
The study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, tracked 88,757 nurses from 1980 to 1996.
During that time, 787 of the women taking part in the Harvard-based Nurses Health Study developed cancer of the colon or rectum.
Researchers said they were surprised to find women on low-fiber diets were no more likely to develop colon cancer than those who stuck to fiber-rich foods like bran, fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, beans and whole grains.
“We found no evidence that dietary fiber reduces the risk of colorectal cancer,” they said. The theory that a high-fiber diet can guard against colorectal cancer goes back about 25 years….”
The doc you quoted also says: “Besides fiber, plants provide phytochemicals and other micronutrients that are associated with decreasing cancer in the laboratory, as well as in some human studies. Supplements do not provide this support (eat the food, don’t take the supplement).”
Apparently, he has not got the memo on this one either: male physicians health study on multivitamin use and cancer incidence:
In this large prevention trial of male physicians, daily multivitamin supplementation modestly but significantly reduced the risk of total cancer.
One single multivitamin / day vs. placebo!!!!
He should go back to school and read his stuff…
I think you can ditch this guy, he knows nothing about nutrition. Just like the majority of MDs. They are taught to perform surgery and prescribe drugs, nothing else…
Even the institute of medicine said that the level of education on clinical nutrition in US medical schools is unsatisfactory….
Why would you listen to him when it comes to nutrition??? Would you listen to a plumber on how to fix transmissions? No, you would not…
Besides I have just got out of the freezer my own batch of bacon from last year with no pink salt, just the good old kosher salt, sugar and some antioxidant, antibacterial sodium-ascorbate and voila it is as pink as it was before curing. There is absolutely nooooooo neeeeeed for nitrite.
The article I linked to was highly cited at the bottom. Sounds like you already have a bacon recipe you are happy with. Move along.
the amount of your life you wasted researching and typing this, you should could have just eaten the bacon. HAIL BACON!
I’ve been sayin this for YEARS!
I’m also on my third batch and just put up 9 vacuumed packages of the best yet. Seems to get better with every try. The cooler weather also helps with temperature control. Thank again for sharing this great recipe.
I am going to use the dry method. My bellies will be in next week. How much honey is needed
Good post! I read your blog often and you always post excellent content. I posted this article on Facebook and my followers like it. Thanks for writing this!
First thanks for the website. Hopefully the trolls will move on to something else soon. Since I am sure they are reading the posts offer the following -I visited both the NIH and FDA websites confirm that their is “a” risk from curing salts but you might want to note that the FDA lists a min max ratio of curing salts per pound of meat. For those in metro-Atlanta pork belly is available at COSTCO and usually at Whole Foods. I spoke with a butcher/meat cutter at the Whole Foods on Ponce de Leon and he said green ham is usually available Friday mornings. They use the meat from the ham shank to make sausage but if you contact Thursday they will save you one. Wet cure rules at least for me!
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My name is Tom. I was raised on sugarcured bacon and ham.My dad did all of the work,he had a recipe for the process that was very good.The problem is I do not what happened to the recipe.He never smoked the meat, we ate and enjoyed both ham and bacon.If I cure my bacon the dry cure way,is itready to cook and eat without smooking.
Tom, there are no problems not smoking the bacon. Smoking is just for the flavor profile. I actually encourage everyone to fry up a couple pieces prior to smoking to check for salt levels. If smoke flavor isn’t your thing by all means cook it up after the cure.
Love the recipe. I switched yours up a little though. I do a dry cure and instead of honey I use maple syrup. (The real stuff)
Then of course, I smoke it with maple wood.
Unbelievable results. Thanks so much for the write up.
Next I want to try and cure and smoke a ham, any suggestions?
Hi Andrew. How much honey do you use in the dry cure method?
I did the wet cure version and for some reason when i cook the bacon the sugar levels seem high where the bacon wants to scorch before fully crispy due to sugar content. even at lower heat. Ideas where i might have gone wrong?
Have you tried making your bacon in the oven? It always comes out perfect!
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When I was a kid we always got Rind On bacon at the local smoke house. Why do you ( and others) suggest getting rid of the rind? I plan on leaving on the rind using the dry cure method, do you think I need to make any alterations? Thank you. I realize there hasn’t been activity on these comments in a while….hope I get a response. Cheers!
Thanks for an awesome recipe for bacon. Moving onto my third batch this week and co workers really diggin the pork. Im having a problem when frying it. The outside of the bacon seems to brown up rather quickly before the rest gets cooked. Often, leaving the bacon black or burnt in color on the outer edge. Even though it looks dark it is still good eats. Assuming this is from the sugars or honey. Could soaking the belly post 7 days longer make it cook more evenly? I have tried low and slow and babysat that bacon while cooking and still tends to blacken on the edges. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks again for an awesome cure and eats. Never again will I go to store purchased bacon … Oink on…..
Matt, sugars can caramelize on you pretty quickly. A sheet tray of slices in the oven at 330 for around 20 minutes may help. Be sure and use a little parchment paper of a silicone baking mat for easy clean up.
Hello Andrew, I tried your dry cure rub for a 5lb-ish belly and it turned out great. I am going to attempt a round 2 and I am just going through the process again and I noticed in the photo you are showing a pile of white sugar but in the dry cure recipe you do not have white sugar only brown, just curious if this is a typo? also i am using a 4 lbs belly this time around and I’ve tried to calculate how much #1 curing salt i need which from the 1tsp to 5 lb ratio works out to be about 0.91 tsps or 4.5 grams which will be hard to weigh as I dont have this accurate of a scale. Do you think if I eye ball a bit out of a tsp would this be sufficient ?
Your dry rub calls for Kosher salt. Do you use Mortons or Diamond Crystal? There is a big difference.
I travel every week and didn’t have time to finish after 2 weeks in the wet brine. Is it ok to go another week or did I lose it?
You should be fine. More time is better than less time.
Andrew, I have tried a lot of different recipes for bacon cure, I like your approach the best. I often times substitute maple sugar for brown sugar and have found that 2 gallon freezer bags are a lot less messy than the 1 gallon bags. A whole hog belly cut into thirds will fit perfectly in a 2 inch steam table pan. I spent a lot of my life as prep cook, saucier, cook and chef and I do love the steam table pans at home when I prep. 20 plus pound batches, It only takes a little more effort for 20 than 5 five and the clean up is the same. I would recommend a vacuum bagger at this point, however. And your prose is most excellent, sir.
Is it okay to use a large 2 gallon ziplock instead of a foodsafe container?
If you are doing the dry cure method that should be ok but I would put it on a lined baking sheet just in case it leaks a bit.
certainly a lot of details I’m going to give this a go, question though can you also use other cuts ie leg of pork
Brian, if you use the leg of pork you would essentially make a ham. It’s the same process. Obviously the leg of pork would be much leaner.
The first time I made bacon it was with your recipe. Every year since then too.
Thanks Joe! Glad you liked it!
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How much honey?
Roger, a 16oz jar is normally what I use because that’s what’s normally available to me. Adjust the heat to your liking by adding in as peppers a little at a time until it reaches a spiciness you like. It will heat up a little as it ages so keep that in mind.
If I need 2 gallons of water to cover a whole belly do I need to double all ingredients?
Doc, I would double the recipe if it needs more water. Be sure and take some pictures and tag me on social media @ilovemeatdotcom I’d love to see the final product!
Andrew, btw, I used your recipe in October with the wet brine method and it worked out perfectly awesome! Thanks!
Awesome. Love to hear that!
i have a 6lb belly, this is my first time. trying the dry cure first. start day will be 3-13-21, i’ll post a follow up. thanks for the info. ps. it will be GROOVY.
Awesome! Take some pictures and tag me on social media @ilovemeatdotcom I’d love to see how it turns out!
Great recipe, I used the dry cure method but used pure Maple Syrup instead of honey, simply because I didn’t have any honey and didn’t want to go to the store, it came out great. I smoked it using Alder and Hickory wood chips, 225 degrees for about 2 hours got it up to 150 internal temp. I see no reason to experiment with the recipe, this is great just like it is. Doesn’t really save any money though, pork belly at Costco is $2.99 per lb and you can buy bacon for that price.
Yeah prices for pork belly were quite a bit cheaper 7 years ago when I wrote this one. You still get the benefit of it tasting better than the store bought stuff! Glad you liked the recipe. If you make it again take some pictures and tag me on social media @ilovemeatdotcom I’d love to see your work!
Thanks for this..any thoughts on using maple syrup instead of honey?
Geoff I think Maple Syrup would be an excellent alternative to honey. Be sure and report back if you try it out.
So, after wet curing, is it possible to add exotic dry rub and cure for 5 more days?
Yes it is possible. Adding them while trying to form a pellicle in the fridge would be the time to do it. Let me know what you come up with. I love to hear what twists people put on this recipe.
There is no amount for the honey in the recipe. Can you please include that information?
I am new to this…and apparently, not very good. I tried the dry rub twice now. It looked good, tasted , so-so, but the sugar (maybe) causes the bacon to burn black before getting crispy, no matter how slow i cook it.
Now I differ on the recipe by leaving the skin on,. I want bacon with the rind, like when I was a kid. Now it does have a great PORK taste, but I’m not quite there yet. I am gonna try the wety method next month and see. Any advise would be appreciated.
Sorry to hear it didn’t work out the first time. If you think the sugars are burning quickly it may turn out better in the oven instead of a skillet. Let me know how the wet version goes!
very happy with this. did a batch using 1 each, dry and wet cure method. I may have measured the dry cure salt wrong as it was extremely salty. Soaked again for a couple hours, then overnight. That did the trick to reduce the saltiness. The wet cured version had a faint, but noticeable (and tasty) hint of sweetness. Looking for a way to add variety of flavor to the wet cure (seems to be my wife and my preference). I’ve got another batch going, that i added paprika to the brine. Not sure how that will turn out, but I love bacon and i’m pretty sure it won’t screw it up 🙂
Awesome! I love to hear about peoples experiences with the recipe. Let me know how some of your other flavors turn out.
Would you be able to substitute fruit juices for the water in the wet cures?
Jonathan I think you could add certain fruit juices as long as they weren’t acidic. Things like citrus would make pork belly ceviche.
I absolutely love the bacon using the dry rub and would like to try smoking my own ham now. Do you have a recipe and process how to for smoking a ham?
Jim, I don’t have a ham recipe yet but it is on my list. Stay tuned!
THANKS FOR SHARING A VERY GOOD PROCESS TO CURE MEATS