By Traeger Kitchen
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.
|(2-1/2 lb) pork belly, skin removed, well-chilled
|pink curing salt
|brown sugar or maple syrup
|coarsely ground black pepper, optional
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper.
Using a sharp knife, square off the edges of the pork belly so you have a rectangular piece roughly 12 inches long and 6-7 inches wide. (You can cure and smoke the trimmings alongside the bacon, or use them to flavor beans, soups, collard greens, etc.) Set the pork belly on the prepared baking sheet and brush or spray on all sides with some of the bourbon, reserving the rest.
In a small bowl, thoroughly mix together 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.
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.
On Day 7, rinse the pork well under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Refrigerate until ready to smoke.
When ready to cook, set the Traeger temperature to 180℉ and preheat with the lid closed for 15 minutes. For optimal flavor, use Super Smoke, if available.
180 ˚F / 82 ˚C
Spray or brush the pork belly with more of the bourbon, then place directly on the grill grates. Insert the probe horizontally into the center of the pork belly, then close the lid and smoke for 3-4 hours, maintaining an internal temperature between 70-100℉. Periodically reapply the bourbon.
180 ˚F / 82 ˚C
70 ˚F / 21 ˚C
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.
200 ˚F / 93 ˚C
150 ˚F / 66 ˚C
Transfer the bacon to a wire rack to cool completely, patting off any beads of fat with paper towels.
Transfer the bacon to a clean resealable bag, then chill in the refrigerator overnight
Slice the bacon into strips 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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