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Homemade Bacon (Cured, Smoked, Cooked)

Learning how to make homemade bacon is extremely simple. You can follow this bacon recipe for a smoky, thin or thick-cut bacon perfect for breakfasts, sandwiches, or straight out of the pan.

Bacon frying up in a cast iron pan.

Why I Love This Recipe

There’s nothing better than raising and butchering your own meat and then enjoying the spoils of your labor with some homemade goodness like pork rind chips, head cheese, or delicious bacon.

There’s only one pork belly per hog, so bacon is one cut you want to ensure you cure and cook up correctly for the best flavor possible.

I like to use Jill Winger’s recipe for homemade bacon from The Prairie Homestead Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Heritage Cooking in any Kitchen. It has a great flavor and uses ingredients most kitchens will already have.

A knife cutting a slab of pork belly in half.

What Cut of Meat is Best for Bacon?

When making homemade bacon, you’ll want to use pork belly. If you get pork with the skin on, remove the skin by sliding your knife between the skin and the fat layer. This recipe works best with a three-pound slab of pork belly.

Be sure to save the skin so you can make pork rinds later on!

Cured slab of bacon getting cut into strips.

Is it Cheaper to Make Your Own Bacon?

This answer depends on how you source your pork belly and what kind of bacon you compare the cost to.

If you’ve raised and butchered your own hogs, then the cost of your pork belly will be less than what you can buy it for from the grocery store. But will this be cheaper than a pack of bacon? Maybe, or maybe not! There are some extremely inexpensive packages of bacon at the grocery store, but they’re filled with nitrates and nitrites as preservatives.

If you’re comparing the cost to a high-quality uncured slab of bacon, you might get in the same ballpark.

If you’re not raising your own pork, watch for sales or ask around at local Farmer’s Markets or friends who might be raising some extra pigs to see if you can purchase pork belly on its own or as part of a half or whole hog.

Abundance Plus

If you’d like to see a full video tutorial for curing and cooking bacon, you can sign up for a FREE seven-day trial of Abundance Plus. Anyone who signs up for A+ will also get exclusive discounts to Premier1, New Country Organics (where we get our organic alfalfa feed pellets), McMurray Hatchery, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Meadow Creature and many more.

There’s so much value, and the savings you can receive will more than pay for your membership. Be sure to check it out!

A cured slab of bacon.

Can You Make Bacon Without Curing it?

All bacon is technically cured, though the process can look very different. Store-bought bacon is cooked before being packaged and, most often, includes nitrates or nitrites as part of the ingredients.

“Uncured” bacon still goes through a curing process, but it’s much healthier for you, uses better ingredients for the curing process, and is much more flavorful.

A man behind a counter with ingredients needed for curing bacon.

Supplies Needed for Homemade Bacon

  • Cutting Board – You want to keep a nice clean working surface for this process. A clean cutting board will work well.
  • Knife – The sharper the better, especially if you need to remove the pork skin from the pork belly.
  • Bowl – A medium-sized bowl will work, this is to mix the curing rub ingredients.
  • Tablespoon – To measure out your ingredients.
  • Sealable Plastic Bag – You’ll want something air-tight for the curing process. You could also use a container with a sealable lid, but I find the plastic bag is the easiest for flipping the pork without getting your hands messy each time.
  • Baking dish – To place the bag on just in case any liquid escapes. You’ll save having to clean up a mess in the refrigerator.
Pork curing ingredients in a stainless steel bowl.

Ingredients Needed

  • 3 lbs of Pork Belly – Home butchered or store-bought doesn’t matter. Just be sure it’s about three pounds, rinsed, dried and trimmed.
  • 3 Tbs Redmonds Salt – Essential for the curing process. You can just use salt if you don’t have any of the other ingredients.
  • 3 Tbs Maple Syrup – This gives the bacon a nice sweet flavor which I think pairs perfectly with smoked bacon.
  • 1 Tbs Whole Peppercorns – Peppercorns add amazing flavor. You could also use ground peppercorns for a more intense pepper flavor. If you use ground pepper, reduce the amount to one teaspoon.
  • 1 Tbs Rosemary – This adds more great flavor. Feel free to experiment with the herbs and seasonings to find your perfect recipe.
  • 4 Garlic Cloves Minced – I used more than four cloves because mine were on the smaller size.

How do I Make Bacon at Home?

  1. Start with pork belly. You can get it from a butcher, grocery store, or your own pork you
    harvested. Read more on how to butcher a pig here.
  2. Rinse off your pork belly and pat it dry.
  3. Get a cutting board. Cut into about a 3-pound slab. You may need to cut it in half.
  4. Pork belly skin will need to be removed. Take your knife and score between the layer of
    skin and fat. Be sure to save the skin so you can make pork rinds with it.
  5. In a bowl, combine all seasoning – 3 Tablespoons of Redmond Real Salt, 2 Tablespoons of
    Maple Syrup, 1 Tablespoon of Whole Peppercorns, 1 Tablespoon of Rosemary, 4 cloves of Garlic (minced)
  6. Mix together until it becomes a paste for a rub.
  7. Rub the pork belly on all sides generously.
  8. Put pork belly flat in a plastic zip-top bag.
  9. Place in the refrigerator for 5-7 days on a baking sheet. Remember to flip it every day.
  10. If there is an excess of liquid, drain it as needed.
  11. After 5-7 days, you will want to put it on a baking dish in the oven or a smoker at 225° F for 2-4 hours until the internal temperature has reached 150° F.
  12. Once it is done, cool it off in the refrigerator so it will be easier to slice.
  13. Slice your bacon to your preferred thickness and fry it to perfection!

Now that you’ve made homemade bacon, raising and butchering your own hogs is the next step! Check out Abundance Plus for exclusive master classes on raising pigs.

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Hi, I'm Justin

I share from a love of teaching and the sustainable movement. Here, you’ll find exhaustive permaculture articles, plentiful photos, cinematic educational films and business tips and tricks.

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