DIY Bacon - Super Simple Charcoal Grill Method
This week I wanted to show everyone just how easy it is to cure and smoke your own bacon at home. And when I say "easy" I mean REALLY easy. And cheap. No fancy equipment, no hard to find ingredients. Just simple stuff, most of which you may already have.
What you'll need for a small batch (this can be multiplied as many times as you want but I like to make only a couple pounds at a time):
- Pork Belly, Skin-on (2.5 lbs)
- Salt (1/2 Cup)
- Sugar (1/4 Cup)
- Peppercorns (optional) (16 each)
- Gallon Ziploc Bag
- Charcoal Grill
- A Few Bricks or Rocks
- Hardwood Charcoal and Wood Chips
- Meat Thermometer (I suggest THIS ONE)
- 7 Days
Dry pork belly on a rack in the fridge overnight. (Put a plate or sheet pan under it to catch any liquid.)
Combine Salt, Sugar, Peppercorns (crack peppercorns with the side of a knife first) in a bowl and rub over all surfaces of the pork belly. Place the belly, with any extra salt/sugar mixture into the Ziploc bag trying to press as much air out of the bag as possible. Place in the fridge for 5 days, flipping the bag over everyday.
On day 5, take the belly out of the bag, rinse it with cold water and dry it on a rack in the fridge overnight again.
Set up your "smoker". Using bricks or rocks, build a wall in your charcoal grill about 1/3 of the way over from the side. The idea here is to block most of the heat because we're going for a very low heat smoke. Get some natural wood lump charcoal started and wait until its really white - we don't want very much charcoal smoke taste so really let it burn down. Put your presoaked wood chips or chunks on the coals (I used applewood chunks) place your thermometer in the thickest part of the belly and close the lid. (See pics below.)
**TIP: Watch the heat. You want a really slow cook here. You're trying to get the temperature up to 140F over a few hours. Mine got there in around 90 minutes, and it was good, but I think it could've been better if it had taken 3 hours to get to temp.
That's it! Once you've achieved an internal temperature of 140 degrees and a caramel-y brown exterior you're done. Let it rest at room temp for maybe an hour, then put in the fridge. (It's easier to slice when it's very cold.)
Special thanks to Travis Stewart for allowing me to pay him in bacon for use of his old charcoal grill and backyard.