How to Make Bacon

Bacon recipe

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.”

The World’s Best Bacon

The World’s Best Bacon

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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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Prep time

15 min.

  • 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
Mix Morton salt (make sure it’s Morton—different brands have different weights) and all spices and rub all over pork belly. Wrap belly in plastic wrap and set it in container. Cover with lid and transfer to fridge for 5 to 6 days to cure, turning once each day.
After bacon is cured, take it out and rinse well with cold water. Pat bacon dry with paper towels and set on a wire rack to air-dry for a few hours at room temperature or overnight in fridge. Slice or cube as much as you plan to use within 10 days. Wrap remainder in plastic, then foil, and freeze.