Making bacon at home takes a little time, but once you try your own, you’ll only use commercial bacon when you’re in a pinch. You can change the spice profile any way you’d like—just keep the pink salt and kosher salt ratios in order with the weight of the raw belly (keep reading about this dish here).
Makes 2 pounds
1 teaspoon pink salt (also called Prague Powder No. 1)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
¼ cup freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ 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 degrees 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.