Shortly before Seth deployed – we purchased our first (electric) smoker! We were somewhat excited and ambitious about it, so we immediately smoked a giant rack of ribs and a 7 lb pork butt. Needless to say, I ate pork for weeks after he deployed.
One of my biggest frustrations/annoyances/pet peeves, whatever you want to call it, is that it’s very hard to locally source quality bacon without additives/corn/sugar. It drives me nuts. So, I decided I would try my hand at home curing and smoking pork belly to make my bacon, where I control the ingredients. I’ve always tended to buy uncured bacon, and I’d like to eventually do uncured bacon at home, however, this being my first time and for food safety reasons, I bought curing salt. After all the reading and research I did – I think I’m fine with a 1/4 teaspoon of curing salt, because it kills salmonella and you rinse the pork belly well before smoking.
That said, I followed this recipe from SlimPalate for my first attempt. I love his story and really enjoy his blog. He does some amazing, beautiful things with food. I did add the optional coconut sugar, again, because most of it gets washed right off in the rinse. I let it cure for 7 days in the fridge, and then smoked it for about 2 hours at 200 degrees. My first few fried slices = heaven. I could not believe the differences! Not only, does it not sizzle/pop as much as store-bought bacon, the grease is so much cleaner (a different color even), and the flavor is just night and day!
My second batch is now curing in the fridge, and I tried my own cure this time: Kosher salt, curing salt, black pepper, garlic, and coconut sugar.