Applewood Smoked Bacon
Applewood smoked bacon is fantastic. Best of all, it’s available at most grocery stores, but have you considered making your own? Like most things, bacon is even better when you make it yourself. Homemade bacon is possible with pork belly, pink curing salt, a few spice rack staples, and a Z Grills pellet grill. Let’s get started!
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons pink curing salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 3 pounds pork belly, with skin removed
- Combine the kosher salt, brown sugar, black pepper, curing salt, and garlic powder in a bowl to make the cure mixture.
- Pat the pork belly dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.
- Apply the cure mixture to all sides of the pork. Firmly pat it into the meat, then transfer the pork belly to the food-safe bag with any remaining cure mixture.
- Press as much air out of the bag as possible, then seal it. Place the bagged pork belly into a small pan and refrigerate it. The pan will prevent a mess if the bag leaks.
- Leave the pork belly to cure for 6 days. Flip the bag once every day.
- After the six-day cure period, remove the pork belly from the bag, rinse the cure off the pork, pat it dry with paper towels, and place it on a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack.
- Refrigerate the pork belly uncovered for 8-12 hours.
- Preheat your Z-Grills (preferably with branded applewood pellets) or other wood pellet grill to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Transfer the pork belly to the grates and smoke for 4 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the applewood smoked bacon from the grill and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Wrap the bacon in plastic and refrigerate it for 8-12 hours.
- Cut into 1/8 inch thick slices and fry until crispy. Alternatively, cook it in the oven for 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
The thicker portion of a pork belly slab is ideal for homemade bacon. You can request this when you purchase, or you can buy a whole pork belly, use the thicker portion for bacon and save the rest for another recipe.
Serving: 116g | Calories: 580kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 58g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 1410mg | Potassium: 210mg | Sugar: 3g | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.6mg
(I go a little wild with mine), I usually do 2 5-pound pork bellies at a time. For each 5 lb. piece in addition to these ingredients, I also add 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon Honey Jack Daniels, 1/2 cup apple butter, 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon allspice. I have to assume that your recipe is for 10lbs, as I never use more than 1 tsp of curing salt per 5 lbs. of meat. Curing, prepping, etc. is the same. And for me, once you make your own, you’ll never buy the store stuff again.
I’ve had my Z Grill for about 2 years now, (another brand of smoker kicked to the curb) and have been making my own bacon for about 5 years now. I have adjusted the recipe(s) I use over time for my liking. One problem I have with this recipe is the amount of cure it recommends. The cure I use specifically to not use more than 1 teaspoon per 5LBS of meat. I have also found that using a rounded ¼ cup of salt works for me. Lastly, along with the ingredients in this recipe, I also add Maple syrup, Jack Daniels honey bourbon, cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Yep, a lot of stuff, but it sure makes it tasty! As far as wood pellets are concerned, I’ve only used Z Grill’s since purchasing my smoker. I have used Apple, Maple, their signature blend, and all give great smoke and added flavor. Last note: once you make your own bacon you will never buy store-bought again!
Looks like I have multiple replies to post, but have also received multiple emails taking me here, have fun making your own bacon, it is well worth the effort you’ll put into it.