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Traeger Kitchen


Home-Cured Bourbon Bacon

Prep Time

30 Minutes

Cook Time

6 Hours

Effort

Pellets

Cherry

This recipe will cure all of your bacon cravings once and for all. Next time you need to wrap something in savory bacon, you'll want the homemade stuff on hand.

Ingredients

Units of Measurement:

main

  • 1 (2-1/2 lb) pork belly, skin removed, well-chilled

  • 1 Cup bourbon, divided

  • 1/4 Cup kosher salt

  • 1 Teaspoon pink curing salt

  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar

  • 3 Tablespoon coarse ground black pepper (optional)

  • 1 Teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 Teaspoon onion powder

Steps

  • 1

    Using a sharp knife, "square off" the pork belly until you have a rectangular piece roughly 12 inches long and 6 to 7 inches wide. (You can cure and smoke the trimmings alongside the bacon or use them to flavor beans, soups, collard greens, etc.)

    Ingredients

    • 1 (2-1/2 lb) pork belly, skin removed, well-chilled

  • 2

    Lay the pork belly on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper. Brush or spray on all sides with some of the bourbon, reserving the rest.

    Ingredients

    • 1 Cup bourbon, divided

  • 3

    Make the Dry Brine: In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the kosher and pink curing salt. Stir in the brown sugar, black pepper (if using), garlic powder and onion powder. Sprinkle the dry brine on all sides of the pork belly and massage it into the meat.

    Ingredients

    • 1/4 Cup kosher salt

    • 1 Teaspoon pink curing salt

    • 1/2 Cup brown sugar

    • 3 Tablespoon coarse ground black pepper (optional)

    • 1 Teaspoon garlic powder

    • 1 Teaspoon onion powder

  • 4

    Transfer the pork and any remaining brine to a large resealable bag. Put the bag on the sheet pan (in case the bag leaks) and refrigerate for 7 days, flipping the bag each day to redistribute the brine and accumulated juices.
  • 5

    On Day 7, rinse the pork well under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Refrigerate until ready to smoke.
  • 6

    When ready to cook, set Traeger temperature to 180℉ and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes. For optimal flavor, use Super Smoke if available.

    Grill180 ˚F

  • 7

    Spray or brush the pork belly with the reserved bourbon and put it on the grill grate. Smoke for 3 to 4 hours, maintaining a temperature between 70℉ and 100℉. Periodically reapply the bourbon.

    Grill180 ˚F

  • 8

    Increase the Traeger temperature from 180°F to 200°F and continue to smoke the pork for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the pork when read on an instant-read meat thermometer is 150°F.

    Grill200 ˚F

    Probe150 ˚F

  • 9

    Transfer the bacon to a wire rack to cool completely, patting any beads of fat off of it with paper towels. Enclose in a new resealable bag.
  • 10

    Chill overnight, then slice with a long sharp knife or a meat slicer. Repackage the bacon, then refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months. Cook before eating. Enjoy!

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