Pork belly is cured for a week, then smoked with apple wood and hickory in this cheaper, homemade alternative to overly salty store-bought bacon.
- 5 pounds skinless pork belly
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 3 ¾ tablespoons non-iodized salt
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 3 tablespoons red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons pink curing salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
- applewood chunks
- hickory wood chunk
- Rinse pork belly and pat dry. Mix brown sugar, salt, paprika, red pepper flakes, black pepper, curing salt, and cumin seeds together. Add maple syrup. Spread the cure mixture evenly over pork belly.
- Vacuum-seal the pork belly or place it into a resealable plastic bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for 7 to 10 days.
- Remove pork belly from bag and rinse thoroughly. Pat dry and refrigerate while preheating your smoker to 220 degrees F (105 degrees C) according to manufacturers' instructions.
- Place pork belly, fat-side down, onto the wire rack. Place the rack into the smoker. Add 1 fist-sized chunk of applewood and 1 chunk of hickory wood to the smoke pan according to manufacturer's directions. Smoke for 1 1/2 hours; add 2 more chunks of applewood. Continue smoking until pork belly reaches an internal temperature of about 150 degrees F (66 degrees C), about 1 1/2 hours more.
- Remove pork belly from smoker and slice as desired. Store in the refrigerator for roughly 30 days. You can also portion out the finished bacon and freeze whatever you don't plan to consume right away, as you would any other meat product. To use, simply thaw in the refrigerator and you're good to go with little loss of texture.