First Bacon!

This week's science project: Home-cured bacon!

This week’s science project: Home-cured bacon!

We’re getting ready for this year’s Salute to Meat. About 35 guests are coming and we’ve got home-dry aged steaks, KC- and Memphis-style St. Louis ribs, smoked briskets and burnt ends, pulled pork, kielbasa and lamb on the menu. But I’ve been wanting to cure and smoke my own bacon and so that’s what I did this week.

I got 11 lbs. of pork belly at my favorite butcher in Philadelphia, then cured it with Morton’s TenderQuick salt, brown sugar, maple syrup and some cracked black pepper. I cut the belly in half and stuck it in two, 2-gallon bags and put it in the fridge, turning it every day.

What you see above is half of the slab. I’m pretty pleased, although next time I think I’ll add more syrup and smoke it harder.

After 7 days I smoked them on the Big Green Egg at 200 degrees direct (one on a raised grid since they were too big to fit at the same level). I used hickory chunks. They were up to temp in less than three hours

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