With a little patience and just a handful of ingredients, you could be enjoying your very own homemade bacon at a fraction of the price that you’re paying for the store bought stuff. The best part? The endless options for customizing your bacon. But let's start with the basics. Read on, if you’re ready to take your bacon to the next level!
Crush the black peppercorns under a heavy skillet. Combine all other cure ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Place the pork belly in a large zip top bag. Add about 1/2 cup of the cure mixture to the bag, just enough to coat all surfaces. Rub the cure all over the belly. Remove the air from the bag and seal. Place in the refrigerator for 7 days, turning and massaging the contents of the bag every day. After 7 days the thickest part of the belly should be firm to the touch, and fully cured.
Remove your bacon from the bag. Rinse well with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Preheat your Yoder Smokers YS640 pellet grill to 200°F. Smoke the bacon until the internal temperature reaches 150°F. Remove from the smoker and cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator.
Our basic bacon cure consists of a few quality ingredients, including FRESH CRACKED black pepper. Yeah, the fresh cracked part is important!
In addition to the work it does in the curing process, LEM Cure (Prague powder #1) gives your bacon that nice pink color.
You might be surprised how little of the cure solution is needed to cure the belly. We’re not packing it all around, forming a thick layer. Just be sure to cover all surfaces, and every day or two turn the belly over, massaging (from the outside of the bag) the liquid into the meat.
After a week of curing in the bag, we removed the belly, rinsed everything off the surface and placed it on a wire rack in the refrigerator, overnight. This allows the pellicle to form. The pellicle is a layer of protein that is formed on the surface as the bacon dries. It allows for better smoke absorption. The next day, we smoked the belly at 200°F until the internal temperature reached 150°F and chilled it back down before cutting our slices.