5 Ingredients or Fewer

Homemade Bacon

May  9, 2012
4 Ratings
Photo by http://www.NaomiFiss.com
  • Makes About 2 lbs.
Author Notes

Nothing could be simpler than makin’ bacon, the king of all fried meats. How many “vegetarians” have you known who just eat the periodic slab of crisp sautéed hog fat? I rest my case. Bacon is God.

To cure your own bacon, plan and shop for ingredients well in advance. You might need to special-order the pork belly from your local butcher or grocery store. And if you can’t find curing salt (Insta-Cure #1) or hickory sawdust from your local kitchen supply shop or butcher, order it from online retailers like SausageMaker.com.

In this recipe, I offer three ways to smoke the bacon. If you go the liquid smoke route, use only the real stuff: fake liquid smoke has an unappealing chemical taste. Once the bacon is ready to eat, note that it will be easiest to slice thinly—a must if you like crispy bacon — when it is partially frozen and your knife is very sharp. —Karen Solomon

What You'll Need
  • 2 1/2-3 pounds Skinless pork belly
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt (plus more as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon curing salt (Insta-Cure #1)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Rinse the belly and thoroughly pat it dry until the surface is tacky. Trim off any thin edges so that the piece is one long rectangle. (You can save these excess pieces of belly for making sausage or lard, or for general roasting.)
  2. In a large, rectangular baking dish or pan, mix the sugar with the molasses until thoroughly incorporated. Then mix in the 2 tablespoons of salt, curing salt, and pepper and rub it evenly into the meat (like a relaxing, porcine spa treatment), spreading it evenly around the sides as well as the top and the bottom. Tuck the meat carefully inside a sealable plastic bag (gallon sized will work, but oversized are better if you can find them) and lay it flat in the refrigerator for 7 days, massaging the liquids that will amass through the bag and flipping it daily.
  3. After 7 days, inspect your bacon. It should be firm to the touch all over, like touching a cooked steak—a sign that it has been cured. If the flesh still feels spongy and soft in spots, massage the meat again with an additional 2 tablespoons salt and check it again after 1 or 2 days.
  4. Once the bacon is fully cured, discard the solids, rinse the meat well, and pat it dry. The next step to giving bacon that familiar flavor is the addition of smoke.
  5. Fastest: Roasting and Liquid Smoke Preheat the oven to 200°F. Place the belly, fat side up, on a rack over a roasting pan and roast for 2 to 21/2 hours, until the interior temperature of the meat reaches 150°F. Gently brush the liquid smoke over the entirety of the bacon, covering both sides evenly.
  6. Slowest: Smoking on the Grill Smoke the meat, fat side up, on the cool side of a low-heat grill, using a 3-cup packet of hickory sawdust, for 3 to 5 hours, until it reaches an internal temperature of 150°F.
  7. Best of Both Worlds: Smoking and Roasting This is my preferred methodology, because I love the flavor of the smoke but often lack the patience for a full grill session. Start smoking your meat, and do so as long as you’re able—at least 2 hours is really ideal. Smoke it until you get sick of babysitting the grill and tending to the coals. Finish the meat on a rack over a roasting pan in a 200°F oven until it reaches 150°F inside at its thickest point. Fry a slice of the bacon and taste. If it needs more smoke flavor, brush a thin layer of liquid smoke on both sides of the slab.
  8. Whichever method you use, when your bacon is ready, slice it as thin (or as thick) as you like it and fry, over medium heat, until browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels and enjoy.
  9. How to Store It Bacon can be stored in large slabs, in precut hunks for flavoring beans or other dishes, or in slices, in layers between pieces of parchment paper, and sealed tightly in a freezer storage bag. Refrigerate up to 10 days or keep frozen up to 3 months.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • walkie74
  • sarina
  • Marty1966
  • Ranjith Punchihewa
    Ranjith Punchihewa
Karen Solomon is the author of cookbooks Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It and Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It (Ten Speed Press/Random House). She also writes magazine and newspaper articles, blogs at http://ksolomon.com, and is a frequent cooking video talent on Chow.com. She specializes in urban homesteading/DIY food crafting, recipe development, recipe testing, chef and artisan profiles, food reviews, and food trend pieces. Karen teaches classes on pickles, fermentation, curing meat, canning, smoking, fruit confections, and countless other kitchen projects in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

8 Reviews

sarina December 17, 2013
Five: the Fastest...Method not given in full. Liquid smoke (ow much) Water in Hotel/Roasting pan (much)
sarina December 17, 2013
Liquid smoke: (how much?)
Water in Roasting Pan (how much?)
Marty1966 January 26, 2013
Hi. I'd like to use your recipe but with Morton's Tender quick. Any advice as to ratios?

Thanks, Jim.
walkie74 November 23, 2012
I made this, using a combination of maple syrup and brown sugar, thyme, salt and pepper, and it was good. I thought I'd rinsed the meat long enough, but it was still a bit salty. No big deal-- I can cut back on the kosher salt next time. For now, I'll simply eat less at each sitting, which means the meat will last longer :)
Ranjith P. November 6, 2012
In Srilanka now peacefully country and also politically also very stable. Now most of areain Srilanka

Developing from various fields, because of that most of Tourist come to Srilanka as tourists. Now

Specially in eastern and northern area are tourist attraction places, swo that very fastly growing

Touris hotels in that area.

According to some survey they have found most of tourist asking for home made bacon for their

Meals. In Srilanka only two bacon factory make only in small scale. So I also now trying to do make

Home bacon at my home in experimental way. So my idea is improve this industry grand scale for

Local and for tourist. If you can help me to find a place for study how to make perfect home made

Bacon and what are the equipment and raw materials want not available in Srilanka. In otherway

Is there any company or who interested any person come to Srilanka to start this industry as abusiness

That also very easy to do here. Our labour are cheap there lot of pigs farm in Srilanka can find out pigs

For our purpose.

Please consider my proposals and try your level best to do something to me.


Yours faithfully,

Ranjith Punchihewa.

TP.+ 94 81 2240565 & + 77 35 98746

Home add: N076, Lewella Road, Kandy, Srilanka.
LomREE August 15, 2012
Is there a way to do this without nitrites or nitrates?
ElsieB September 12, 2012
Yes! Just skip adding the curing salt. It will turn out just fine. Also, I can't stress enough that you wash the slab bacon THOROUGHLY for several minutes under cold water after it has cured Failure to do so will result in VERY salty bacon.
Mumbojumbo January 9, 2016
It's risky to skip the nitrates. If you intend to cold smoke (even though this recipe doesn't include cold smoking) definitely do NOT skip the nitrates. Even the bacon that you buy in organic trendy grocery stores has nitrates. They just add celery juice (which has a bunch of sodium nitrate in it) to try and make you think you're buying something without nitrates. The products will be marked as "no nitrates added" which means they aren't adding any nitrates specifically, they are just adding celery juice that is full of nitrates. In fact, the celery juice often contains MORE nitrates than what would be found in your traditionally cured meats. Nitrates prevent the growth of bacteria that produce botulism toxin, one of the deadliest toxins known to man. Cold smoking anything without using them would be stupid.