By / Photography By Jennifer Bakos | March 01, 2016

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds pork belly, trimmed into a neat rectangle
  • 1/4 cups maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pink curing salt
  • 12 sprigs fresh thyme

About this recipe

Making your own bacon gives you bragging rights.  But making your own bacon safely requires time, for sure, and nitrates in the form of curing salt, for some. Curing salt, also known as Pink Salt or Prague Powder #1, is a mixture of table salt and sodium nitrite, which inhibits the growth of bacteria and prevents botulism. Curing salt should not be consumed directly or substituted for any other kind of salt in any recipe. It is very different from Himalayan pink salt which can be consumed directly as a finishing salt. Curing salts can be purchased in specialty food shops and on-line and should be stored separately from all other kitchen salts.

Instructions

Pat pork belly dry and slip it inside a gallon sized Ziploc bag.

Combine maple syrup, black pepper, kosher salt, pink curing salt into a small bowl.  Use a spoon to combine.  Carefully dump the curing mixture into the bag with the pork belly. Add thyme. Push the air out of the bag and seal it. Rub the outside of the bag so that the cure is massaged into all parts of the pork belly.  Place the bag into the refrigerator.  Let it sit for seven days, turning the bag and redistributing the cure across all parts of the bag daily.

After seven days, removed the cured pork belly from the bag.  Rinse it thoroughly with cold water and use paper towels to pat the meat dry.

At this point, you can smoke the cured pork belly – either in a stovetop or full size smoker or on a cool side of a grill where woodchips are burning – until the bacon reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees. If you do not want a smoky flavor, you can roast it in a 200 degree oven for about an hour to reach that same internal temperature. Cool the bacon to room temperature.  Then wrap tightly and refrigerate or freeze it.  Slice off strips of bacon and fry them as needed.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds pork belly, trimmed into a neat rectangle
  • 1/4 cups maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pink curing salt
  • 12 sprigs fresh thyme
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