I decided to create this instructable after reading several comments in the Bacon Contest that referred to said meat as "processed" or "over-processed". Makin' Bacon was conducted with the help of my 11 yr old son who is devilishly fond of bacon.

In these steps, I will show that home cured bacon is 1) not a "processed" meat, and 2) is so amazingly delicious the biggest challenge is the patient waiting that is involved; curing takes about a week.

I am listing two recipes; both use "pink salt #1", which is a sodium chloride and sodium nitrite mixture. That said, it is not a requirement to use pink salts to cure bacon, but, your bacon won't taste like "bacon" without it. Still delicious, but the flavor will be different. Also, the nitrites give bacon a pink tint, like you will see in commercial bacon, Canadian bacon (bacon made with pork loin) and hams.

Giving meat a pink tint is not why pink salt is so named. Pink Salt is tinted  so that it is not confused with table salt. Nitrite salts can be poisonous in large doses, so be careful with the stuff and store out of reach of kids and dumb adults.

My wife prefers to not eat the nitrites, but does not turn them down. Your bacon will also not have quite the storage time without the salts. Your choice. One note, if you do not use the salts, then cold smoking becomes a must. The smoke has preservative qualities you'll need, unless eating the whole pork belly within a week.

For this article, I've made two flavors of bacon. One is a basic recipe from Michael Ruhlman; the second is a chipolte/smoked paprika bacon of my own
Last note is to be aware that the quality of your pork belly will greatly influence the final product. Due to a short turn around time, I have used inferior pork belly in this instructable for demonstration purposes only.

Step 1: Ingredients

Ingredient List
Each of the below recipes in good for 2-2.5 pounds of pork belly

Basic Home Cured Bacon

1 ounce (1/8 cup Morton or Diamond Crystal coarse kosher) salt

1 teaspoon pink curing salt  #1

2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

2 bay leaves, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 cup brown sugar or honey or maple syrup

3 cloves of garlic, smashed with the flat side of a chef’s knife

1 tablespoons juniper berries, lightly crushed (optional)

5 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)

Chipolte-Smoked Paprika Bacon

1 ounce (1/8 cup Morton or Diamond Crystal coarse kosher) salt

1 teaspoon pink curing salt #1

2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

4 tablespoons ground chipolte peppers

2 tablespoons smoked paprika pepper (ground)

5 cloves of garlic, smashed with the flat side of a chef’s knife

i voted
I was wondering how long it would take for someone to post this. Good work. I'm building a cold smoker, but it's taking a while because of lack of free time and other projects. Bradley (like in Ruhlman) sells just the smoke generator part of their set-up for quite a low price; you just have to build an enclosure. Check it out
yeah, those are pretty cool, but I'm more of a neanderthal, if i have my druthers. wooden box, fire pit in the ground, plenty of beer to spend idle hours monitoring the fire/smoke.
good instructable

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