This is the first year that I’ve been experimenting with curing my own meats to make bacon and jerky. I’ve found the processes to be much easier than I had expected, and the end results to be far, far better than I could’ve ever dreamed. It all started when I bought a small pork belly and made homemade applewood-smoked maple bacon. After that success, I contacted my local butcher at Moody’s Butcher Shop and ordered two pork sides. As I soon found out, a pork side (seen below) is like a pork belly but oh so much bigger and thicker and perfect. It screams bacon.
This chipotle bacon had a mild chipotle flavor. The first time I made it I was way too shy with the chipotle, and although it was fantastic, it didn’t have much of that great smoky chipotle flavor. I recommend you be quite liberal with the chipotle peppers. We aren’t making cheesecake here. Use a lot of chipotle.
I am so hooked on homemade bacon I know I’ll never go back to store-bought. Not only is homemade tastier, I can make whatever flavor combination I want. I usually do a few big batches all at once, freezing any leftovers for later use.
- Note: Scale the recipe for your pork belly. The recipe below is for a 2 pound belly.
- 2 pounds pork side or pork belly, skin removed
- 3 teaspoons Kosher sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Pink Curing Salt #1
- 3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 small can chipotle peppers in adobo peppers, chopped (For a spicier bacon, add the entire can)
- 1/2 cup cold water
- Put the belly into a large resealable bag.
- Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Add to the baggie.
- Seal the bag, trying to remove as much air as possible. Place in to a deep flat pan (in case the bag leaks) in the fridge for 7 days, flipping over twice a day.
- The day you are ready to smoke, fire up your smoker for 225 F cooking over a light wood such as apple.
- Remove belly from the bag and rinse well with cold water.
- Place belly onto smoker and smoke for 1 1/2-2 hours or until the meat reaches 150 F.
- Remove belly from smoker and let cool slightly before placing in the fridge for an hour.
- Slice bacon as desired. Bake, pan fry, or use however you wish!
- Store smoked bacon in a plastic bag or container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.