I’ve been making my own bacon for a while and keep forgetting to take pictures and post. I have a few different recipes but this garlic version is one of my favorite.
Pork belly can sometimes be hard to find. When I was in Oregon, I would go to a butcher and buy a whole pork belly. They always had them in stock. There are not very many butchers in the Easy Bay (CA) so I’ve had to look around a while. A good place to check is an Asian supermarket. I’ve been getting them there but you’ll need to ask them to remove the skin for you. You can try it yourself if you have some good sharp knifes but it is much easier if they do it for you.
The picture at the top is from a half pork belly that I got from a butcher in Oregon. I cut this one in half and then weighed each half. I generally adjust my recipe based on how much the belly weighs. I don’t do any crazy math, just try to estimate it all. The half that I did with garlic came to 2 pounds and 7.6 ounces.
After it is all weighed out, mix up the ingredients in an bowl. Be sure to get them mixed well and de-clumped. The brown sugar likes to clump up.
Since the bacon needs to sit in the fridge for a while, I like to put the meat in a zip loc bag. I then pour the seasoning in the bag, seal it up and then rub it all around.
While the bacon cures in the fridge, I usually go out once a day and rub the seasoning around (through the bag, without opening), flip the bacon over and put it back in the fridge.
The bacon is done and ready to smoke after about 6 days. You can tell it is ready by how firm the meat gets.
To smoke the bacon I have a MasterBuilt Electric Smoker (Amazon) along with the cold smoke attachment (Amazon). I use the cold smoke attachment because I don’t want to cook the bacon. You have to be careful though. If the meat is not properly cured, you will not want to have it in the smoker beyond 4 hours, maybe even a little less. Bacteria can start to grow when meat is left out at room temperature for too long. The cure helps prevent that bacteria from growing. I usually smoke for 4-6 hours depending on how patient I am.
After it is done smoking I put it right into the freezer. It can be really hard to cut when it has been sitting at room temperature. Be careful what freezer you put this in. If you have anything like ice or other things that are packaged with thin packaging then those things will smell and maybe taste a little smokey. Not always in a good way either.
Once it is all sliced, I usually package it up with my vacuum sealer (FoodSaver V3240 – Amazon) with enough bacon to last me 4-5 days (I eat bacon every day for breakfast) and then put it all in the freezer. Since I use the vacuum sealer a lot, I found have been buying the packing in rolls and cutting my own bags. I found that the VacMaster Full Mesh Vacuum Packaging Roll works well(Amazon).
The bacon lasts pretty well in the freezer. I usually have about 6-10 weeks worth of bacon. Since not all the slices are full slices (due to the belly not being perfectly square), I will take the odd pieces and chop them up and use when cooking vegetables like cabbage or brussels sprouts.
Pork Belly – 2 lbs 7.6 oz
1/4 cup sugar
2.5 tbsp kosher salt
.5 tbsp brown sugar
1.5 tbsp garlic powder
3 grams insta cure #1 (Amazon)