Applewood smoked bacon made from a pork belly. There is nothing quite like homemade thick cut bacon. This is so good!
Homemade Applewood Smoked Bacon from Pork Belly
There is nothing quite like homemade applewood smoked bacon that you made from scratch. It’s also one of those rights-of-passage kind of dishes for anyone really into using their smoker. The real advantages of making you own bacon is that you can control the seasonings, the wood for the smoke and the thickness of the final slice. Everything about homemade bacon is phenomenal. You may never eat store-bought bacon again.
This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe by Steven Raichlen in his book Project Smoke. While I liked his original recipe, I modified it a bit for my tastes, but the idea came from Steven.
Selecting a Pork Belly for Homemade Applewood Smoked Bacon
My local market carries five to six pound pork bellies that have had the skin removed. For this recipe and video, I purchased a 5.75 pound pork belly and cut it in half. I used the thicker part to make applewood smoked bacon. The final yield was just under three pounds, uncooked.
Pork belly can sometimes have a layer of skin on the fat side that has to be removed. Cut through the skin with a sharp knife (not too deep) and peel off the skin.
Mix the dry cure ingredients, sprinkle it on the pork belly and seal it in a bag. I used a food saver which worked just fine. After the bag is sealed, place it in a pan (in case it drips) and refrigerate it for six days. Turn the bag over every day.
After six days, rinse the cured pork belly and pat it dry. Place it on a wire rack and refrigerate it uncovered overnight.
Smoke Low and Slow
The next day, setup your smoke for indirect heat at 175˚F. I used an offset smoker but pretty much any kind of smoker, Kamado Joe or Big Green Egg would work. Simply add some applewood or some other wood of your choice and smoke the pork belly for fours or so until the internal temperature reaches 155˚F.
Remove the smoked pork belly from the smoker, let it cool to room temperature, then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight. Steven Raichlen believes that this step is important to set the flavor and texture. I would never argue any barbecue point with Mr. Raichlen.
Cut and Fry
Cut the bacon as thick as you like and fry it up. A meat slicer works best for this job. I started out cutting a few slices at 3/16th of an inch. My three year old grandson, who is the official bacon tester in the house, took one bite and threw it at me. It was just a little too thick which made it tough to bite and chew. The next batch were cut at 1/8th inch and the little guy could not get enough.
Other Smoked Dishes
Some of our other favorite smoked dishes are:
- Homemade Canadian Bacon
- Smoked Beef Dino Bones
- Smoked Beef Short Ribs
- Pork Belly Burnt Ends
- Smoked Pulled Pork
- Smoked Charro Beans
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich on the Smoker
- Smoked Blueberry Crisp
- Smoked Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Easy Pork Recipes
Homemade Applewood Smoked Bacon
- 3 lbs pork belly skin removed
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 1/3 cup brown sugar packed
- 3 tbs black pepper coarsely ground
- 2 tsp pink curing salt Prague Powder #1
- Place the cure ingredient in a small bowl and mix well. Sprinkle the cure evenly over the entire pork belly. Place the pork belly inside a food saver bag and add the remaining cure to the bag. Remove the air and seal. Place the sealed bag in a small pan and place in the refrigerator for six days. Turn the bag over every day.
- After six days, remove the cured pork belly from the bag, rinse well and pat dry. Place the pork belly on a wire rack over a rimmed sheet. Now place the uncovered pork belly in the refrigerator overnight.
- Setup the smoker for indirect heat at 175˚F. Add a few applewood chunks and smoke for about 4 – 4 1/2 hours to an internal temperature of 155˚F.
- Remove the smoked pork belly from the smoker, let it cool to room temperature, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight. This step helps the texture and flavor.
- Cut the bacon into 1/8" strips, preferably on a meat slicer, and fry it up.