Bacon doesn’t have to be smoked, says Hank Shaw, author of four cookbooks and the award-winning blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. “Pancetta is the most obvious example,” he says. “There are a lot of places where you want some salty pig bits but don’t necessarily want smoke, which is a dominant flavor.”
This bacon recipe skips the smoke and lets the natural flavor of the meat shine through. Once the belly has cured, slice it down as you would regular bacon or dice it into lardons.
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 5 to 6 days
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- 1 (5 lb) piece of pork belly, trimmed with rind removed
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp Morton kosher salt
- 3 tbsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp crushed juniper berries (optional)
- 2 tbsp crushed dried sage
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
How to make it