How to make Homemade Maple Smoked Bacon
Jared from BBQ and Bottles shares one of his favorite recipes.
This recipe is what got me obsessed with BBQ. Bacon is a star ingredient in so many dishes because it adds such a big punch of flavor. From savory bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers to salty and sweet bacon glazed donuts to bacon wrapped scallops, everything is better with bacon.
Consequently, most people just can’t get enough bacon and the below recipe takes bacon up a notch. Before reading on, we warn you that store bought bacon will never be quite the same and if you make this, your family and friends will start bothering you about when you’re making a new batch. Luckily it freezes really well and even though this recipe takes time, it’s not that much more effort to make tons to share and save in the freezer.
Follow these steps to get some meaty smoky bacon that will delight your taste buds. We also have tips to minimize mess and make the process as simple as possible because no one likes cleaning up. Finally, this is a versatile recipe so you can play with different herbs and spices as long as you have enough pink salt and sugar to preserve it. We’ve tried many options and always come back to thyme and maple syrup as our favorite!
How to make Homemade Maple Smoked BaconPrint
- Author: Jared Waldron
- Recipe type: Homemade Maple Smoked Bacon
- Prep time: 5 minutes prep, 5-12 days curing time Cook time: 3-4 hours depending on the size of your bacon pieces
For every 5 lbs. of Pork Belly with the skin removed
- ½ cup Kosher Salt
- ½ cup Brown Sugar (packed)
- 1 tbsp. Coarse Black Pepper
- 1 tsp. of Insta Cure #1 or Pink curing salt #1
- Maple Syrup to taste
- 4 Sprigs of a herb like Thyme or Rosemary to taste (about 2 full sprigs with the stems removed for your dry rub and 2 spigs with the stem for each freezer bag)
- Temperature probe
- Large container with edges to store the bacon in the fridge
- Large freezer bags
- Smoker (ideally with apple wood)
- Order full pork bellies from your butcher asking your butcher to remove the skin (which you can save for crackling)
- Mix all of the dry ingredients with the exception of the 2 sprigs of herb with the stems
- Carve the pork belly into smaller sections of 2-3lbs so that each section can fit into a large freezer bag
- Trim a little bit of fat off each section
- Coat the pork in real maple syrup
- Evenly apply a generous layer of the dry ingredients onto the pork
- Put 2-3 large springs of herbs for extra flavor in each freezer bag
- Slide each piece into its own freezer bag and seal tightly trying to remove as much air as possible
- Place the freezer bags only a tray that can catch the juices that will inevitably come out of the freezer bags over the curing process
- Leave in the fridge and flip the bacon every two days. You’ll notice that juices and moisture will come out of the bacon as time goes by
- The bacon will stiffen when it’s ready to be smoked (between 5-12 days)
- Rinse the pork bellies leaving behind a bit of the rub and herb
- Smoke with hickory or apple pellets at a low temperature to ensure the internal temp of the bacon stays below 160F to keep the fat in the bacon instead of rendering it (3-4 hours in the smoker at 180-200F should be more than enough)
- Move around the bacon pieces halfway through the smoke to ensure an even layer of smoke permeates the bacon
- Remove the bacon early if the internal temp reaches 160F
- Rest the bacon for at least 30 minutes. Place in fridge overnight.
- In the morning, slice your bacon and either cook it up as you normally would or put it in the freezer for future use! This bacon freezes exceptionally well.