DIY Bacon: How To Cure a Pork Belly

9 May

I’ve got good news! It is VERY easy to cure your own bacon. All it requires is salt, spices, pork belly, and a tray. I have some very bad news though…it requires patience, and having to stare at what will be the best bacon you’ve ever had every time you open the fridge.

So how can you emulate this mind-blowing bacon? Follow these 7 easy steps!

How To Cure Your Own Bacon

1)Obtain an uncured Pork Belly from your local farmer’s market, butcher, etc.

2)Find a local salt dealer/buy curing salts from a local food market

3)Find a local spices dealer/market and buy something to give the bacon a little flavor

4)Set your fridge temp between 35-40 degrees

5)Mix your spices and curing salts in the desired ratio and rub the mixture all along the outside of the belly

Pork belly in a tray after being rubbed with ghost pepper curing salt, next to a bag of ghost pepper curing salts

6)Place the belly on a tray in the fridge and let it sit for 7-21 days depending on the size of the cut, flipping it once every 3 days

How to cure your own ghost Pepper and paprika bacon in the fridge


Tips & Tricks For Curing Your Own Bacon

How Much Salt/Spice Do I need?

I mixed 3 parts ghost pepper salt to 2 parts paprika for the curing rub. You can adjust the ratio as you see fit. I have heard that a good rule of thumb for how much salt to use is 1:100 ratio (by weight) of salt to meat. So an easier to use rule of thumb is 1/3 tablespoon salt per lb of meat. Your eye is the best judge though, and if your 3lb belly isn’t covered in salt with 1tablespoon, add more! I ended up using almost 2tbsp ghost pepper salt because the crystals were coarse and I needed more to cover the surface area of the pig. If your salt is a finer grain you can probably get away with closer to the 1:100 ratio.

How Long Do I Need to Cure the Bacon?

After rubbing the belly, I placed it on a baking tray, skin down in the fridge. An expert would use a rack over the baking tray to promote airflow and keep the meat out of the effused liquid. I have read that another rule of thumb is to cure the bacon 2 days for every lb. of meat. I personally cured my 3lb slab for 10 days and it was perfect. This is another thing that you can judge using your senses of sight and touch.

Here comes the hard part. Stare at that beautiful creation every time you open your fridge, and resist the temptation not to eat it too early. Let it cure properly!

The Outcome of Curing Your Own Bacon

Bacon Porn, Look at that Marble!

A close up picture of home cured bacon

Baking Bacon

Home cured bacon cooking in a cast iron skillet over a campfire

Cracklins aka Chicharonnes

Cracklins, also known as chicharrones, on a cutting board



3 Responses to “DIY Bacon: How To Cure a Pork Belly”

  1. Chef Andy May 22, 2013 at 12:34 am #

    looks awesome, how did it taste? Ghost pepper salt?! that sounds spicy!!!! Did the flavor infuse well into the meat, or just the crust?
    did you cook or smoke the bacon after curing? I have made bacon at home numerous times and I am always looking for new flavors. Ghost pepper sounds a little rough LOL. I just made a Jalapeno/Poblano bacon a few weeks ago for Cinco De Mayo, it turned out awesome.

    • admin May 22, 2013 at 9:34 am #

      Hi Andy,

      It tastes phenomenal! Fat is where the flava’ is and this particular cut of pork belly was particularly fatty. I would not say that the flavor “infused” into the meat like it would with a brine cure, but the smoked paprika added a great flavor element, and the smoked salt added both a serious kick to each slice via the crust and some additional smoky flavor. I baked, fried, grilled and ate this puppy raw! The jalapeno/poblano sounds great as well. How did you do it?

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Answering "Is Bacon Healthy?" The Sad Truth, and the Happy Ending | What is Bacon? - May 15, 2013

    [...] all day outdoors- buy as much of its belly as you can fit in your freezer and cure it yourself! Curing the pork yourself allows you to control the salts you use, customize the flavor, and minimize nitrite [...]

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