Yield: Yields 4 to 6 lb. bacon
Servings: 25 to 30
You won’t believe how much better the flavor and texture of homemade bacon are compared to its store-bought counterpart. The process is simple: you brine a fresh pork belly to season it inside and out, then smoke it gently on your grill. You can experiment with different flavors (see the variations below), or play around with the type of hardwood sawdust you use to smoke the bacon; apple and hickory are two favorites, but feel free to use whatever wood you like best.
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Bourbon variation Barley malt syrup and bourbon add an earthy sweetness to this twist on the master recipe: Substitute 2/3 cup (6 oz.) packed dark brown sugar for the light brown sugar. Add 1 cup barley malt syrup and 1 cup bourbon (such as Maker’s Mark) once the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the pork belly and brine as instructed above. Try smoking this bacon over oak sawdust because bourbon is aged in oak barrels, so the flavors go well together.
Maple variation Fenugreek enhances the flavor of the maple sugar and syrup in this brine: Substitute 1 cup (about 6 oz.) maple sugar for the brown sugar. Add 1 cup maple syrup, 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract, and 2 tsp. ground fenugreek once the salt and maple sugar are dissolved. Add the pork belly and brine as instructed above. Maple sawdust is a natural fit here, but cherry would work, too.
You can order different varieties of hardwood sawdust (prices and woods vary) online at barbecuewood.com.
The premise behind this recipe is sound. However the temperatures are far to wide. If you want cold smoked raw BACON you need a separate cold chamber. I have one and used this recipe and I had to hot smoke my bacon to save it. It is not what I wanted but I saved it from what was going to happen.What needed to be added was that the ambient temperature needs to be cold. So that offsets the heat, Also salt number two is the best cure. Fresh and pure bacon can be done with this recipe.
You get one or the other when cold smoking; use of nitrites, or use of salts (brine). These are both preservative ingredients, prolong shelf life and allow for cold smoking without compromise to food safety or value of flavor. So, the reviewer who talked about food safety 101, is almost correct, but not completely so. There is so much more science that just a temperature safety zone. This process is safe.Also, the author mentioned infusion with different flavored liquids such as bourbon...brilliant idea! Smoke this belly, use a bourbon based brine, grill some peaches, and make a BPL themed cobb salad (bacon, peach, bib lettuce, and a beautiful Gorgonzola. Oh my, oh my, oh my! take me to heaven now!Cheers,Trina (retired chef)
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