Hot-Smoked Cured Bacon
This house-cured bacon recipe, courtesy of Fleisher's Grass-Fed and Organic Meats in Kingston, New York, was responsible for coaxing Fleisher's owner/butcher Joshua Applestone out of vegetarianism.
- 2 cups coarse sea salt
- 1 cup whole black peppercorns, ground to a medium grind
- 1 (5-pound) skin-on pork belly
- 2 cups raw apple cider, preferably organic
In a medium bowl, mix together salt and ground peppercorns; rub all over pork belly. Place pork belly in a shallow baking dish and drizzle with apple cider. Cover and transfer to refrigerator; let chill for 24 to 36 hours.
Preheat oven to 210 degrees. Place 7 cups hickory wood chips in a large metal container; ignite wood chips.
Rinse pork belly and pat dry. Fit a large roasting pan with a rack and set pork belly on rack. When wood chips are smoldering, transfer metal container to bottom rack of oven; place roasting pan with pork belly on middle rack of oven. Let pork belly smoke until it reaches 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, at least 5 hours for lightly smoked bacon, or up to 8 hours for a smokier bacon. Remove bacon from oven and let stand until it reaches 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Slice and prepare the same as you would any store-bought bacon. Bacon can be stored, wrapped in plastic wrap, and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.