How to cure, smoke, and cook homemade bacon. It’s much easier than you’d think; it just requires a couple of special ingredients and the right equipment.
Jalapeño Garlic Bacon
3 lb. pork belly with skin attached
40 grams kosher salt (about 5 tbsp Diamond Crystal, about 3 tbsp Morton)
1 ½ tsp pink salt (Prague Powder # 1, Insta-Cure, DQ Curing Salt, etc.)
40 grams maple sugar (or 40 g/3 tbsp brown sugar)
5 cloves garlic*
4 mashed jalapeños*
*optional flavors (Unfortunately, most savory ingredients don’t really add much flavor. Try using sweeter additives, like 1/2 cup applesauce or 3 tablespoons maple syrup.)
1. Combine ingredients in a gallon-size zipper bag. Refrigerate for one week, flipping every other day.
2. Rinse pork belly and place on a rack in the refrigerator for 12 – 24 hours.
3. Smoke with apple wood at 200 degrees until the bacon has reached an internal temperature of 150 degrees.
4. Cool at room temperature for a couple of hours, but remove skin 10 – 15 minutes after removing from smoker.
5. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. Trim sides, ends, and top before slicing as desired.
Sources for curing (pink) salt:
Link to a highly informative discussion on the merits of nitrites and nitrates:
Recipe adapted from/inspired by the bacon recipe in “Charcuterie” by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.