Have you ever wondered how to make bacon at home? We have attempted to make bacon numerous times over the past year, most of these attempts have failed. We’ve struggled to get the correct sugar/salt ratio or it over cooked as we can’t control the temperature on our Weber Kettle (time to upgrade to the next model up perhaps!). It has taken some time to perfect the process however we think we have found a pretty easy method to produce delicious, smoky bacon in the oven which is quickly finished on the Weber. To safely cure the pork belly it requires a week in a dry rub followed by very precise cooking process. Below is my recipe for maple coffee bacon, I have made this a few times and it has been the most requested flavour among our friends. The great thing about this recipe is that you can make it whatever flavour you like however the salt/sugar ratio and the cooking temperatures must remain constant.
Preparation Time: 1 week to cure / Cooking Time: 1-2 hours / Makes 2kg of bacon
- 130g brown sugar
- 130g sea salt
- 2kg pork belly, cut into 2 x 1kg slabs
- 40g ground coffee
- 5g coarsely ground pepper
- 70g maple syrup
- 10g spice rub. One of my favourites is African Volcano’s Medium Strength Peri-Peri Rub
- Mix together the brown sugar and salt.
- Pour half of each mixer into two large plastic zip lock bags.
- Place 1kg of pork belly in each bag.
- Add your flavour combination of choice into each bag. On this occasion I made one batch with coffee/maple and one batch with spice rub.
- Massage the pork belly with the spice rub.
- Remove all air from the bags and seal them.
- Place the pork belly in the fridge. Once a day for 7 days, the pork belly must be turned so that both sides of the meat have time to bath in the curing liquid released by the pork.
- After the curing process has been completed. Thoroughly wash the pork belly to remove excess salt.
- Pat dry the pork belly.
- Preheat your oven to 100°C fan forced.
- Place the pork in a baking tray, skin side up, and bake between 1-1.5 hours. The bacon is ready once you can place a thermometer into the thickest portion of the bacon and the temperature is around 70° C.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature or continue to the optional smoking process below.
- Cut into thick pieces and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Use in any of your favourite recipes or eat it simply pan fried in the same way you’d pan fry any other bacon.
Optional Smoking Step:
- Mid way through baking the pork, heat up about 20 pieces of charcoal.
- Soak a handful of apple wood or hickory wood in water.
- Place the charcoal in the base of your BBQ.
- Once the pork has reached 70°C, add the wood without the water directly onto the charcoal.
- Place the pork above the charcoal and close the lid.
- Smoke for 5-6 minutes.
The pork belly must reach at least 65° C to kill any bacteria and be safe for consumption. It is really important that the internal temperature of the meat is accurately checked. You can cook the pork belly on a BBQ or smoker for the entire process if you are able to regulate the temperature. Lastly, I do not use a nitrate based curing agent. from the research I have found that a straight salt/sugar mix is still a good way of preserving the meat however the importance of achieving the correct temperatures can not be stressed enough.