Homemade Smoked Bacon

Ok, ok, ok, it’s not a curry (and illegal in some parts of India) but I just cured and smoked my first batch of bacon and wanted to share.  Was this an efficient means of making bacon? No, not really.  Was it cheaper? Eh, maybe a tiny bit if you don’t include costs of time.  Was it tasty? Definitely!!  Hope you give it a go!

Ingredients:

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1 kg pork belly (skin off)
3 tablespoons coarse salt (I used some Slovenian sea salt my PhD student gave me – very strong!)
1 tablespoon of table salt
2 tablespoons honey
2 shots of whiskey (or bourbon – we don’t have any in the house because we’re not barbarians)

Curing Method:

Slice the fat of the porkbelly but don’t cut the flesh. Put all ingredients into a ziplock bag and massage into the pork belly.

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Put into your fridge for a week.  At the halfway mark massage the pork again to make sure the ingredients are covering the meat equally.

After a week, your pork should be firm to the touch and ready for the smoker!

Smoking:

Everyone will have their own way of smoking but here’s how I did mine – a decent smoker is a nice little toy to keep around for the food fanatics 🙂 – start by lighting your charcoal (I’m using this oversized hairdryer called a Luftlighter, or something – it’s so much easier than using chemical fuel and avoids the chemical taste on your food).

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After about 2 mins of hot air you have a pretty decent fire going

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I’m smoking with New Zealand Manuka chips – gives a rich flavour but more nuanced than you get from hickory or apple – use whatever you can get your hands on 🙂 Make sure your chips are well soaked or you’ll just get a fire, not smoke!

DSC04751Keep your smoker at a steady temperature of about 100C or 212F – I left mine for 4 hours – I should really clean my smoker :/

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4 hours later and you have a beautifully smoked belly – now for the hard bit – cutting – yeah, I didn’t do so well!

DSC04757Nice colour on the inside! Square off the ends and flip the bacon over and cut through the meat down to the rind with a razor sharp knife.  If you have access to a meat slicer that will be far, far better!

DSC04758And here’s my breakfast – badly sliced by bloody tasty. Glad I was able to tick this off my food bucket list 🙂

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