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Homemade Bacon with Brown Sugar and Black Pepper

Makes just over 2 pounds of bacon
Time 171 hr
It’s easier than you think to make delicious bacon at home—worthy of the best Sunday breakfasts. Since it’s unlikely you’ll go through this much bacon in a week, slice into thirds, double wrap each section and freeze until needed. For best results, slice the pork when it’s still partially frozen.
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 pounds meaty pork belly
  • 2 cups coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
Method

Rinse pork belly and then pat dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.

Combine salt, brown sugar, granulated sugar, black pepper, cayenne and thyme sprigs in a mixing bowl. Place pork in a lidded container; cover the top of pork with a layer of the salt mixture, then flip it over and bury the meat in the remaining seasoning mix. 

Refrigerate pork, covered, for 1 week. Every two days, turn pork over and rub with loose seasoning mix, then rebury in remaining seasoning. This will “cure” the belly, creating salt pork (a.k.a. unsmoked bacon). 

Remove pork from the cure and rinse under cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Arrange pork belly on a cooling rack fitted into a large rimmed sheet pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight (or up to 3 days) to air-dry. 

Prepare the grill (or smoker) for indirect cooking over very low heat (about 140°F). Add 1 wood chunk (such as hickory or pecan) to the charcoal, or add 1 handful of wood chips to the smoker box of a gas grill, following manufacturer’s instructions. Close the lid. When the wood begins to smoke, place the pork belly over indirect heat. 

Close the lid and cook until pork is firm and slightly darker, about 1 hour (remember, you're infusing the pork belly with a smoky flavor, not fully cooking it at this point). If using a charcoal grill, replenish the charcoal as needed to maintain a steady temperature. Add 1 wood chunk to the charcoal every 30 minutes, or drain and add 1 handful of wood chips to the smoker box every 20 minutes before the old chips burn out. 

Allow bacon to cool, then cover and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or divide into thirds, thoroughly wrap and freeze for up to 2 months. Thinly slice bacon before baking or pan frying.

Note: We've provided special diet and nutritional information for educational purposes. But remember - we're cooks, not doctors! You should follow the advice of your health-care provider. And since product formulations change, check product labels for the most recent ingredient information.
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  • 2 1/2 pounds meaty pork belly
  • 2 cups coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme