Homemade Maple Bacon
Homemade bacon is one of the biggest flexes you do. Whenever I tell people I make my own maple bacon people get that look of shock and awe in their eyes. Here’s the big secret though. It’s really not difficult and it’s don’t take much specialized equipment.
While not difficult it does take a fair bit of time. You’ll need about 9 days from start to finish. The good news it that during that time it only takes about 10 minutes of work. Once your finished though, you will be rewarded with some of the best tasting bacon you have ever tried. Homemade bacon is meatier and just tastes more like bacon should be.
Curing Tips for Maple Bacon
- Weight Out Ingredients – You will need to measure out the pork belly and ingredients to ensure a successful cure. A kitchen scale is a must and it doesn’t need to be anything special.
- Curing Salt – I have personally used this one to make bacon and pastrami. A little goes a long way and thankfully it lasts and long time.
- Daily Massages – After sealing and storing the bacon and cure in the fridge, you will need to massage the belly everyday and then turn over onto the other side.
- Moisture in the bag – As the days go on during the curing process, you will notice more moisture in the bag. This is completely normal as this is the salt pulling water out of the pork belly.
Tips For After The Cure
- Rinse the Excess Cure – After removing the belly from the bag, rinse it under cold water.
- One Day More In The Fridge – After rinsing, place the pork belly back in the fridge on a wire rack for one day to dry out the exterior. You’re so close to tasting the maple bacon.
- Hot Smoke To Perfection – In this case, a “hot smoke” is smoking the pork belly at 200 degrees. The maple bacon is done when it hits 155F internal.
- Chill to Slice – A cold piece of bacon is much easier to slice. After smoking stick it back in the fridge for a few hours before slicing.
Other Recipes You Can Make With Maple Bacon
- 3 pounds pork belly skin off
- 34 grams kosher salt 2.5% salt
- 13 grams brown sugar 1% brown sugar
- 13 grams maple syrup the good stuff (1%)
- 3 grams pink curing salt #01 0.25% curing salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper optional
- 1 teaspoon paprika optional
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- The recipe above is an example. Please use a kitchen scale and measure out ingredients to your size pork belly.
- Weigh your pork belly in grams then do the following calculations:Kosher salt = 0.25 * pork belly weightBrown sugar = 0.01 * pork belly weightMaple syrup = 0.01 * pork belly weightCuring salt = 0.025 * pork belly weight
- Add the pork belly, kosher salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, curing salt and optional spices to a freezer grade plastic bag or vacuum seal bag. Massage cure into the pork belly. Seal tightly and place in a refrigerator.
- Once a day, for seven days, massage the pork belly for about a minutes and then flip over when placing back into the fridge. As the days go on you will notice more liquid in the bag. This is normal.
- After 7 days, remove from the bag and rinse to remove excess cure. Place on a wire rack over a baking sheet and place back into the fridge, uncovered, for another 12-24 hours.
For the cooking process
- Set up a smoker for a "hot" smoke around 180°F – 200°F.
- Place on the smoker and cook until the internal temperature reaches 155°F.
- Remove from smoker then seal and refrigerate. Once the slab of meat has cooled completely it will be easier to slice. You can then slice and you so or slice and vacuum seal and freeze.