DIY Apple Wood Smoked BACON!!!!

Hey guys!  It's John the Midwest Flatlander here, and I know it's been a while since I posted.  But it is spring here on the flat land, and that means lots of work, work, work.  But today it's raining, so I thought i would try to get ya'll caught up on what's been happening.  You probably picked up on at least some of the fun we are having here on the flat land by looking at the title of this post.  And you are right, so let's get started!

So I love bacon.  I know.  Right?  And it's easy to get, and there are lots of different brands and types to choose from.  Thick cut, smoked, peppered are just a few examples.  So I went to Costco one day and was browsing the meat department, my new favorite place, and saw pork bellies for sale.  I was immediately smitten, and I knew at that moment that home made bacon would be a reality.  I searched the internet for a recipe, and I found this one.  And yes, I used the nutmeg and coffee as described, and I also used the grade B maple syrup which I'm very glad I did.  Since I cut a 10 pound pork belly in half, I made a double recipe.  So now let's take a look at what I did, because I did stray from the recipe ever so slightly.  Hey, it's me.  Right?  Here we go.

I took the pork belly I bought from Costco and cut it in half.  Then I slathered the pork bellies with the grade B maple syrup and coffee.  To do the slathering, I poured the wet ingredients into a large metal mixing bowl and dropped the bellies in one at a time coating generously.  After slathering the bellies with the wet ingredients, I then packed the dry ingredients from the above recipe (note, here is where I strayed from the recipe; I used pink Himalayan salt which is very salty tasting so next time i might try kosher salt or just cure it for a shorter period of time).  Start by mixing the dry ingredients (salt, ground black pepper and nutmeg), and then putting half the mix into the bottom of the pan (pans in my case).  Place the pork bellies on top of the dry ingredients in the pan(s).  Lay the pork bellies down on top of the dry ingredients and coat the top side of the bellies with the rest of the dry ingredients.  The instructions said to square up each cut, but I did not.  I wanted to have some "ends" to put into beans or other recipes.  Here is what they looked like.

Pork Bellies Ready to Cure
Pork Bellies Ready to Cure

I put the pork bellies into the fridge to cure for 3-7 days turning them everyday.  I turned them everyday as instructed, and by the time the curing was done they looked like this.

Pork Bellies cured after 7 days.
Pork Bellies cured after 7 days.

After I pulled them out of the pans, I rinsed them thoroughly.  Now it's time to smoke.  You can check out my smoker setup in any of my previous smoker posts, however I will say that this time I did about half of the charcoal I usually do.  I used apple wood, but you can use your favorite smoking wood.  Smoking time for this recipe is approximately 2 hours, so I only filled the coal basket half full.  Once I hung the pork bellies into the Pit Barrel Cooker, it was go time!  Here is the final product.  Outstanding!

Smoked Bacon in the Pit Barrel
Smoked Bacon in the Pit Barrel

Remember, this smoke is not designed to cook the meat.  You just want to give the meat enough time to absorb the smoke adding just the right amount of apple wood smoke flavor.  The only thing left to do now is slice the bacon and package it up for the freezer or the frying pan.  AH YEAH!!!!

Thick cut bacon!
Thick cut bacon!

The only thing left to do is taste it.  It fries up just perfectly in a cast iron skillet which is my favorite frying method.  Delicious!!!  And save that grease!

Cast Iron Skillet fried BACON!
Cast Iron Skillet fried BACON!

So there you have it.  Home made DIY apple wood smoked bacon!  I think I might change things up a bit next time I make some.  And there WILL be a next time.  That's it for this session.  Hope you got some inspiration for your next DIY food project.  I'll see you next time for more adventuring outside.  And remember leave no trace, leave a legacy.

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