Making bacon at home is insanely easy, requires minimal ingredients, and little time commitment. Long story short you should be making it, and I'm going to show you the easy way. All it takes is some pork belly, salt, sugar, and a little bit of patience for curing and maybe some smoking.
Prep Time: 15 minutes plus 7-day cure time
Cook Time: 2 hours
Yield: 2 pounds bacon
Large Batch Dry Cure
2 cups (400g) Kosher salt
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
6 1/2 teaspoons (60g) pink curing salt (Prague powder #1)
3 pounds (1.4kg) skin-on pork belly
2-3 rosemary sprigs, crushed and bruised by hand (optional)
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed with skin-on (optional)
1-2 tablespoons toasted and crushed Juniper berries (optional)
34g dry cure mixture
For The Large Batch Dry Cure
In a large bowl, whisk together the salt, sugar, and pink curing salt. Store in a large air-tight container in your pantry until ready to use.
For The Bacon
Calculate the amount of curing mixture you will need. My preferred method is to cure the pork belly at a 2.5% cure. You can get the ratio of cure to pork belly by multiplying the weight of the belly in grams by .025. The number you get will be the amount of dry cure you need to use on the bacon. So, in other words a 1,360 gram pork belly would require 34 grams of dry cure.
Take the measured dry cure and spread it all over the entire pork belly. If you don’t have a scale, you can sprinkle a generous layer of cure on all sides of the pork belly, about 1/3 cup of cure for a 3-pound pork belly. This is less accurate and could result in slightly salty bacon but works in a pinch if you don’t have a scale and don’t plan on getting one.
Once the pork belly is thoroughly coated in the cure, rub with the bruised rosemary, crushed garlic cloves and toasted and crushed juniper berries if desired.
Label a 2-gallon zip top bag with the day you start the cure and then seal the pork belly inside with the crushed aromatics, if using. Place in the refrigerator to cure for 7 days, flipping the pork belly over halfway through, or 4 days in. Liquid will release from the pork belly and accumulate in the bag which is normal and will help cure the pork belly. Make sure when you flip the bag, the liquid is evenly distributed over the belly.
Once fully cured, rinse off the cure thoroughly with water and pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat the oven or smoker to 200°F / 93°C. Cook the pork belly until the internal temperature reads 150°F / 65°C. This will take approximately 2 hours, but this time can vary depending on the size of your pork belly. If you are using a smoker, use a mix of wet and dry wood chips and add more wood chips every 45 minutes or so throughout smoking. Once the pork belly is done, remove from the oven or smoker.
While the fat is still warm, but the belly is cool enough to handle, remove the skin using a sharp knife. Let the pork come to room temperature and then refrigerate it overnight or for at least 8 hours to solidify the fat. Once cold, thinly slice the bacon and cook in a pan until crispy or keep as a large piece of slab bacon to cut into cubes and fry until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The bacon will hold in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks or in the freezer indefinitely.