Everybody loves bacon. Not the water soggy, preservative injected stuff you buy at the mega mart, but real bacon made my yourself at home.

This time we decided to try dry curing. I asked a local place that butchers hogs once a week to save me a pork belly as otherwise they just make it all into bacon. I stopped back the next week and they had saved me a 10.5 lb belly and only $2.19/lb.

We have a local butcher that sells black pepper bacon that everyone loves so I decided to take a twist on that and use my smoked chipotle powder, kosher salt and brown sugar for a rub.

I started by sprinkling a light coating of the chipotle powder, then about twice as heavy sprinkling of salt and finally brown sugar. Flip and do the same on the other side.

I put a layer of parchment paper on a sheet tray and lay another on top just to protect it from anything spilling on it and put it in our extra fridge for 8 days flipping every other day. I know some people do 10 days but I was afraid of it getting too dry.

I fired up the smoker with a fairly small amount of coals and wood chunks and after rinsing the rub mix off the pork, smoked at the lowest temp I could hold – about 200 degrees for a little over 2 hours. Let cool and put back in the fridge to make slicing easier.

I like to slice it fairly thick and an electric knife makes the cuts nice and consistent.

I fried a couple slices just to try and then froze the rest in 1 lb batches. The flavor is much deeper than you get with store bought bacon and I think it’s because it doesn’t have water injected to bulk up the weight and also the dry curing.

As good as the slices are, one of my favorite ways to use this is to cut a couple of slices into 1 inch long pieces and fry up as lardons and use to make bacon / cheddar bagel halves for a late nite snack or for breakfast create a ring of cheddar and bacon ladons and then drop an egg in the center to fry, then cover. The steam from the cheese melting and bacon heating causes the egg to cook perfect easy over without having to flip.

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