Introduction: Bacon

About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.

Bacon is the foodstuff of the gods. The Spirit of All Things decided that humans needed something to keep them going every day and decided that the pig was the best thing for it. And, oh, we have rejoiced and created several odes to the delicious meat. It's absolutely amazing and we should all say a little "thank you" every day because it exists.

Or so everyone kept telling me. Others would find salvation in what I found to be a salty, crunchy piece of noise in my food. So bacon and I went our separate ways. It wasn't the bacon, it was me. Bacon took it well and hung out with its billions of fans while I left on other gastronomic adventures which took me through vegetarian fields, a shady vegan nook, and even a brief holiday in the land of the raw.

Then it all changed. A man showed me how to make dry cured bacon from pork belly and the heavens opened up. A tiny bite and time and space would stumble about and forget who was who. I once again tried regular bacon from the store and the signal went back to black and white so it looks like this is the only way for me.

Here is that recipe.

Step 1: Ingredients

Basic Dry Cure
1 lb. (450g) kosher salt
8 oz. (225g) sugar
2 oz. (50g) pink curing salt

Basic Bacon
3-5 lbs. (1.5-2.25 kg) slab pork belly, skin on
1/4 cup (50g) Basic Dry Cure

As you can see, you'll be making a lot more Basic Dry Cure than you'll need for one piece of bacon, but you'll be doing this more than once anyway.

From the amazing book, Charcuterie.

Step 2: Salt the Pork Belly

Spread the dry cure out over a baking sheet or the bottom of a container.

Trim the edges of the pork belly neat and square and then press it into the dry cure to give it a thick uniform coating.

Step 3: Seal It Up

Place the pork belly in a ziploc bag. You can leave it as is or add more ingredients to add some flavor. In this picture, maple syrup, brown sugar, and some spices have also been added.

Refrigerate the belly for 7 days, flipping the bag every other day.

Check the belly for firmness. If it feels firm, it's cured. If it's still a little soft and squishy, let it cure a couple more days.

Bacon can keep for 1-2 weeks refrigerated or 3 months frozen.

Step 4: Cook!

Once the bacon is cured, rinse it and pat it dry.

You can bake it at 200F for a couple hours or you can smoke it then pan-fry it. I prefer the pan-fry myself. It's up to you.

The smoker we used is the Cameron Stovetop Smoker. You can sort of see it in the last picture on this step.

Step 5: Eat!

Let the bacon briefly cool and eat it as soon as it isn't going to scorch your tongue.

Now start thinking about what flavors you're going to be adding to your next batch.



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    118 Discussions

    While that bacon does look tasty, i much prefer English bacon which has more meat and less fat :) (bacon on the top left of photo)

    19 replies

    It depends upon the bacon - you can get good stuff with a lot of fat. I wouldn't have fat content as being an English thing (historically anyway). I think the lean-aspect is a supermarket thing - e.g. when was the last time you saw bacon with rind on it? L

    English rashers are just back bacon I believe, I don't see any difference other than the fact that it can be a cut from any part of the body and still be a rasher I believe bacon with the rind on it is called ham. But in all seriousness, I think that peameal bacon has rind, and we're talking about the same thing.

    There's also "middle" and other cuts, I think bacon has been slanted towards a popular "back" product by large retailers. L

    FYI - The USDA defines bacon as "the cured belly of a swine carcass"; other cuts and characteristics must be separately qualified (e.g., "smoked pork loin bacon").

    My dictionary defines bacon as:
    n cured meat from the back or sides of a pig. Belly would be "streaky", and what is pictured above (=SMART=) is "back". If that is what USDA says what do they call what I know as "back" (=SMART=)?


    Honestly, I personally don't care what it is called. I WANT TO EAT IT!!!! :)

    Bacon with the rind (the belly skin) on it is called "bacon". Bacon and ham are both cured and optionally smoked, but they're completely different cuts: bacon is the belly (the flesh outside the ribs -- sometimes sold in Asian markets with the ribs included), while a ham is made from a hind leg portion (shank or butt). Peameal bacon, called Canadian bacon in the US, is made from yet another cut, the loin.

    Exactly right! There is also something called Canadian Bacon that is more lean. A great way to cook a lot of peameal bacon for a special breakfast or brunch is to cook it like a roast in the oven on a rack. I glaze mine when I do it this way.

    In England bacon comes in many types including Back Bacon (as shown above) and Streaky Bacon (like American bacon) which is a cheaper cut and used for cooking more than Back Bacon which is used for sandwiches.

    Looks tasty *slips in a puddle of drool* but how do we GET english bacon here in fatland-um... America?

    Go to a British foods shop. We have one in San Carlos, for example. Check Google or your local yellow pages.

    Do you know what part of the pig exactly to ask for? We have a FANTASTIC meat shop/butcher in town that can do the job perfectly if I just know what to ask for. Also, will the process above cover the back bacon too?

    Those aren't my hands. I was taking pictures. The chefs were wearing gloves because they were making food for a crowd of people

    Fungus, your pictures are fantastic. They look very professional. And the bacon looks delicious too!