How to Smoke Bacon

Everyone loves to enjoy brunch, especially on the weekend. There are a lot of recipes that you can add to your weekend brunch, like pancakes, French toasts, bagels, and waffles. Yet, one of the best recipes you can add to your brunch is tasty smoked homemade bacon. Smoking bacon strips will be the best addition to your balanced and healthy diet.

Don’t worry, here you will get the best recipe for smoking bacon in electric smokers, some tips and answers to FAQs like how to smoke bacon without a smoker? And why smoke bacon to 150?

The Ideal Meat for Smoked Bacon

If you want to enjoy tasteful smoked bacon, then you must pick the ideal meat. The best meat for smoked bacon is pork belly but don’t use the pork belly of pigs raised artificially using medications. For a meatier, stronger, and unique flavor, use pig breeds such as Duroc, Berkshire, and Kurobuta.

The organic pork belly meat will not be just tasty but healthier as well. When you know which meat to buy to smoke bacon, let’s ensure that the pork belly you are getting is skinless. But what if the butcher didn’t remove the skin?

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How to Remove Skin of Pork Belly?

A skinless pork belly absorbs the taste and smokes better as compared to the one with the skin. The pork bellies come with the skin most of the time, but you can ask the butcher to remove them. No worries if you forgot to ask him to remove the skin, as you can do it independently.

Removing the rind (pork belly skin) is a bit harder than removing skin from chicken breasts, but it is not impossible. You just need to use a thin yet sharp knife and the right angle. You can also use a small and sharp cleaver to remove the rind. Here is a step by step process to remove the skin from a pork belly at home,

  • Rinse the pork belly with tap water to remove any bloodstains.
  • Place the pork belly on a chopping board.
  • Take a sharp knife or cleaver and keep your other hand on the upper side of the pork belly.
  • Using a little force, slowly start sliding the knife into the pork belly angling the knife towards the other end, and firmly keep your other hand on the belly.
  • Cut the skin from one corner to the other until it is separated from the pork belly.
  • Cut any piece of skin if left on the belly during cutting.

There is no need to discard the skin as you can easily make crispy grilled or roasted pork rinds from it.

Woods for Smoking Bacon

Apart from choosing the right meat, choose between the types of wood as there are different woods that you can use for slow-smoking bacon. For an enhanced and bold flavor, you can use either hickory or oak wood for cooking bacon in a smoker. And to give a little sweet and soft fruity flavor to smoke bacon, use one from maple wood and applewood.

Method for Curing Pork Belly

For cooking bacon in a smoker, you first need to cure it to perfection. Curing is an essential step as it helps the pork meat to absorb each flavor and smell completely. A perfectly cured pork belly will give the yummiest taste to smoking bacon in electric smoker. Follow the given method to cure pork belly ideally.

What Ingredients Do You Need?

A skinless pork belly (1-1.5 inches thick) 3 pounds

Black pepper powder 4 and a half tsps.

Kosher salt 4 and a half tsps.

Brown sugar  3 tbsps.

Maple syrup  ½ cup

Prague powder number 1 (curing salt)  ½ tsps.

Water  3/4th cup

How to make the curing mixture?

First, we will prepare the brine, and then we will marinate the pork belly in the mixture. To prepare the curing mixture, take a bowl and start adding all the ingredients one by one.

First, mix all the dry ingredients, including kosher salt, black pepper, and Prague powder number 1. After giving a good mix to them, add dark brown sugar, maple syrup, and water. Make sure to use a good quality maple syrup. Give the mixture a thorough mix to blend the ingredients, leaving no lumps behind. The curing brine is now all set to cure pork belly in it.

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How to cure meat?

Now place the pork belly in a large zip lock bag that easily fits a 3lbs pork belly. Ensure that there are no holes and leaks in the zip lock bag. Now pour the curing mixture into the zip lock bag. And zip the bag removing as much air as possible, and try to coat the pork belly in the marinade while you do so.

Shake the bag for at least a minute or two, not only continuously but also slowly. Place the bag in a large tray and put it in the refrigerator for four to five days. The curing time depends on the thickness of the pork belly, and 4-5 days are ideal for curing a 1.5 inches thick pork belly.

Don’t forget to flip the pork belly each day to evenly distribute the taste of salt and spices onto the pork belly. Remove the pork belly from the refrigerator after 4 or 5 days, and the pork belly is now completely cured and ready for slow smoking bacon in the electric smoker or without a smoker.

Note: You can use the same recipe for curing a pork belly of less than 3lbs; you only need to change the measurements. For instance: If you want to smoke 1 pound pork belly, divide all the measurements by three and follow the rest of the process. Make sure to cure it for the same time frame only if the thickness of the pork belly is 1.5 inches.

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What Is The Best Preparation Method For Smoked Bacon?

Now you have perfectly cured pork bacon, and you can use it for cooking smoked homemade bacon and smoking bacon strips. There are many ways to smoke bacon, but we will give you a detailed method for smoking bacon in electric smoker. Here is the absolute best method to prepare slow-smoking bacon.

The first step: Wash the pork belly

The very first step towards making smoked bacon is rinsing the pork belly. Rinse the cured pork belly with running tap water. Ensure to use gentle hands while rinsing the pork belly, and don’t go hard on it. Slowly rub your hands on the pork belly while the pork belly is still under tap water.

This step will help remove any large quantities of salt and spices from the pork belly and spread it evenly. Dry the cured pork belly by tapping with a paper towel before you place it on the grill.

The second step: Heat the Smoker to Ideal Smoking Bacon Temperature

Plug the electric smoker in and add pellets/charcoal and a few wood pieces in the smoker box. Add applewood or hickory wood to give either mild or strong flavor as per your preferences. Close the smoker’s lid and let it heat up to 225F degrees (the perfect smoking bacon temp for such large and thick bacon) before you place the pork belly in the smoker.

The third step: Smoking bacon in the electric smoker

Now you can start cooking bacon in a smoker when it reaches a temperature of 225F degrees. Open the lid of the smoker and place the cured pork belly on the grill pan or tray. Make sure to wear gloves in your hand to prevent your hands from getting burnt with the smoke.

The fourth step (optional): Use a leave-in thermometer

If you have a leave-in thermometer, attach it with the pork belly before closing the lid. Be certain to embed the thermometer into the thickest part of the pork belly and close the lid leaving the bacon to cook in smoke. The leave-in digital thermometer will help you detect the accurate temperature of the pork belly. This step will definitely make slow-smoking bacon a breeze.

The fifth step: Wait For the Internal Temperature to reach 150F degrees

Let the bacon cook in the smoker for nearly 2 hours, and keep an eye on the digital thermometer to check the smoking bacon temperature. If you don’t have a leave-in thermometer, you can also use a meat probe thermometer to check the internal temperature of bacon. Once the internal temperature of the bacon reaches 150F degrees, open the lid and remove the smoked bacon from the smoker.

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The Final Product

As a result of following the above method, you now have tasteful homemade bacon smoked to excellence.

Refrigerate the smoked bacon for around 30 minutes to make it easy to use, cut, and slice. You can use this smoked bacon in many ways; two of them are as follows:

  • Slice the refrigerated smoked bacon into thin slices using a sharp knife. Roast these bacon slices on a nonstick frying pan to make crispy fried smoking bacon strips. Or spread the smoked bacon slices on butter paper.
  • Slightly brush the bacon strips with butter or cooking oil, place the tray in an oven, and bake them. Here you have less oily yet crispy smoking bacon strips on your table.

  • Cut a piece of the smoked bacon and mince it. Make a patty from the bacon mince and fry it on the frying pan. Place a slice of cheese on the patty when cooked completely and remove it from the pan. Put them between hamburger buns and enjoy the richest homemade bacon & cheeseburger.

FAQs

How long to smoke bacon in electric smoker?

The time needed to smoke bacon depends on the temperature of the smoker. The smoking time may vary from 30 minutes to 3 hours. Many people like slow smoking bacon that takes more time than normal. You can preheat the smoker up to 225F degrees for smoking bacon in electric smoker in 2 hours.

What temperature to smoke bacon?

You need an internal smoking bacon temp of 150F degrees, and you can use the smoker temperature depending on when you want the smoke bacon ready. Cooking bacon in a smoker at a high temperature will surely help reach 150F faster than low temperature. But good things take time, so give your bacon 2 hours to smoke on 225F degrees for the strongest taste and smell.

How to smoke bacon strips in a smoker?

Place a pan or tray on the smoker’s grill and increase the smoker’s temperature up to 300F degrees for smoking bacon in electric smoker. Place the bacon strips on it and close the lid for 5 minutes. Then flip the bacon strips on the other side and smoke it for 7-10 minutes. Open the lid, and you have the best crunchy and tasty smoking bacon strips.

How to smoke bacon without a smoker?

If you don’t want to smoke bacon in a smoker, you can also smoke it in an oven. For that, first, you need to preheat the oven at 200F degrees. Now place a baking sheet on the baking tray and place the dry and cured pork belly on it. Let it bake for 1 to 1 and ½ hours to smoke completely. Or wait until the internal smoking bacon temperature reaches 150F degrees, and the smoked bacon is ready.

Why smoke bacon to 150?

The reason behind smoking the bacon to 150F degrees internal temperature is that it is safe to eat bacon at a temperature range of 145-155 F degrees. And it can be a risk to eat bacon that is cooked below this temperature range.

Conclusion

There is no way that you will not add this amazing recipe of smoked homemade bacon to your menu. Follow the recipe step by step and use all the tips given to get the best results of cooking bacon in a smoker. Make smoke bacon following this recipe to treat yourself and amaze your family and friends with the extraordinary taste at home.

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