Makes 2 pounds
1 teaspoon pink salt (also called Prague Powder No. 1)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup pure, grade A maple syrup
6 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tablespoon crushed juniper berries
10 sprigs fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1 (2-pound) piece raw, uncured pork belly, skin removed (ask your butcher for the thickest piece available)
In a bowl, stir together the pink salt, kosher salt, pepper, nutmeg, maple syrup, garlic, juniper, and thyme and mix well to make a paste. Place the pork belly on a cutting board and massage all over with the paste, making sure that the paste covers the entire surface of the pork belly. Place in a zip-top bag, seal, and refrigerate for 7 days.
Preheat your smoker or grill to 225°F.
Remove the pork belly from the bag, rinse off the curing paste, and pat dry. Place the pork belly in the smoker or grill and cook until it registers 155°F on a meat thermometer, 90 to 120 minutes, then remove and let cool. Your bacon is ready to eat. You can slice it and fry it like store-bought bacon, happy in the knowledge that yours is better. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3 months.