Who doesn’t love bacon? Smokey, salty, crispy – it’s one of the best things to ever happen to a pig. But lately I’ve not been very impressed with the quality of the commercial brands, or the price of the specialty bacon, so I decided to try my hand at making it myself. I wanted something a little leaner than American streaky bacon, so I started with a small 7-pound pork butt (shoulder roast) and a 5-pound loin instead of the more traditional belly meat.
First I needed to cure the meat. I went with a combination of a 1/2 cup plain white sugar and a 1/2 cup Morton’s Sugar Cure. This made up the dry cure. I put the butt and loin into their own large freezer bags and coated them with two tablespoons of the dry cure for each pound of meat – so the butt got 14 tablespoons and the loin got 10.
I sealed the bags and stored them in the refrigerator for 7 days, flipping the meat over once a day. After the first day, liquid began to collect in the bag – this was a good thing as it indicates that the cure is working. After 7 days, I removed the meat from the cure and soaked in covered in cold water for 2 hours to remove some of the salt. I dried off the meat and let it rest in the fridge for an hour while I got the smoker fired up.
I set the Big Green Egg up for indirect cooking. When the temperature stabilized at 225°F I added a couple of chunks of hickory and put the bacon-to-be on.
I smoked the meat at 225°F for 2 hours, and then raised the temperature to 300°F and held it until the loin hit 165°F internal and the butt hit 145°F.
The loin turned into some of the best Canadian-style bacon we’ve ever had. Much smokier and sweeter than most commercial products.
The butt became what they used to call buckboard bacon – kind of a cross between country ham and Canadian bacon. It’s safely cured, but it still needs to be cooked. I like to broil it until crispy.