Home-cured maple bacon
Cuisine: American
Author: Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn's Charcuterie
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 10 mins
Home-cured bacon takes a week! Planning accordingly. ;) Freezes super well for months. This recipe can be halved or doubled
Ingredients
  • 5-pound pork belly slab, skin on (or two 2.5-pound slabs if you can't find a big enough piece), the thicker and meatier the better, in my opinion
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pink curing salt #1
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
Directions
  1. Mix everything (except for the pork belly, haha) together in a thick gallon-sized (or bigger) ziplock freezer bag. With the maple syrup, it should resemble brown a sticky paste.
  2. Add the pork belly (or pork bellies) in the bag and, using your hands, rub the curing mixture all over the surface. You don't have to worry too much about getting it in every nook and cranny because over time, liquid will seep out of the pork and into the curing mixture, making it into a watery brine that will have better contact with the meat.
  3. Zip up the bag, wash your hands, let the bacon cure in a fridge for a week (7 days). Check on the bag at least once a day, flipping it over to redistribute the curing brine.
  4. On the 7th day, pull the pork out of the bag. Discard the bag and the liquid inside. Wash your bacon and pat it dry.
  5. Smoke in a smoker (we like cherry wood or apple wood chips. We found hickory to be a bit harsh, but personal preference!) or bake in an oven at 200 degrees F until it reaches an internal temp of 180 degrees. That takes about an hour or two, depending on the thickness of the belly, but it's totally okay to leave it in the smoker for a little longer. I've forgotten about it before.
  6. Take the belly out of the oven and when it's cool enough to handle, take a long fillet knife and slice off the pork skin (save for another purpose).
  7. You can either slice up the bacon and fry it up and eat. Or you can wrap it as-is in plastic wrap, put it in a freezer bag, and store it in the freezer for . . . a while. I've stored bacon for as long as three months without any discernible difference in taste.
Recipe by heo yeah yum at http://heoyeahyum.com/2013/12/home-cured-maple-bacon/