How to Make Your own Bacon

This article first appeared on artofmanliness.com . When I sat down to write this, I found myself questioning why I ever endeavored to make homemade bacon in the first place. But then I realized… duh, it’s bacon.

My whole family loves bacon, but of course it’s not the healthiest thing for you, nor is it cheap. Upon doing some research, I came to find that making your own bacon can turn out to be tastier, slightly healthier, and much cheaper than the store-bought stuff. And, you know, instant bonus points on your Man Card to subtly grunt, “I make my own bacon,” into a conversation.

Making your own bacon is fun while also a bit challenging; most of all it takes a bit of elbow grease and patience. In the end, however, you have a product that’s better than anything store-bought, and is personally satisfying to boot.
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-Lost in WV

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2 Responses to How to Make Your own Bacon

  1. haha@luis says:

    I start by growing a pig.

  2. David Bowman says:

    I’ve made both beef and pork bacon over a number of years and I disagree with a number of things he says here. I agree about using the Tenderquick, though I have made my own rub without the nitrites and it isn’t hard.
    I have found the dry cure to be the best for me, just be sure that you coat the meat well. When the meat is coated put it in a ziplock bag and put it in a refrigerator. Walmart sells 2 gallon bags that work well. I cure the meat for about 2 weeks, flip the meat over every day. The salt will pull moisture from the meat, I just leave the fluid in the bag until the cure is done. The best time and temperature for me is 2 hours at 200 degrees in the smoker just as he suggests. I see no need to add more cure everyday, I see it as unnecessary work, use enough cure to begin with and leave it alone. I have not had a problem with “hot” or “cold” spots.If you are using thick chunks of meat,use a wet cure and an injector as the dry cure gets a bit more involved then.
    As far as the meat choice, belly meat is not available at a reasonable price in my area. English bacon is made from the cut we call Boston Butt which is a front shoulder cut. There is a section of meat below the level of the bone that can be sliced off the length of the roast, it tends to be somewhat less fatty than the belly, but there is still plenty of fat in it. For the best curing I try to get it about 1&1/2 inches thick. It won’t be as big a piece as the belly, I do about 3 pieces at a time. The rest of the roasts are used however you like your fresh pork,
    Something I started doing years ago is beef bacon. If you can get side meat from a cow, that is ideal, but I usually end up with the brisket. I get the untrimmed brisket and split it lengthwise to keep the thickness below 2 inches. Treat it like the pork above and you’ll be surprised at how good it is. A long term girl friend is a member of a sect that doen’t eat pork and she missed bacon and find this to be a great substitute.
    On the subject of beef, both brisket and chuck or english roasts make great corned beef by the same basic method. Just add the corned beef spices to dry rub. The dry cure gives it a somewhat different texture, but boiling or pressure cooking the meat tenderizes it just fine.

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