How to Cure Bacon at Home

side of uncooked bacon with rosemary on a table

Making your own bacon is very easy and affordable, especially because fresh pork belly is a relatively cheap cut of meat. And when you make it yourself, you get total control over the quality of the meat and the ingredients it is cured with!

So, if you have time and some space in the fridge, you can enjoy the wholesome, chemical-free goodness of homemade bacon right from your own kitchen! So, here’s how to cure bacon at home, (and have it taste even better than store-bought!)

Nitrites and Food Preservation Safety

There is one main concern when curing and preserving meat, and that is botulism. While botulism is usually related to improper canning procedures, food-borne botulism also occurs in meats that have been improperly cured. (See the USDA Food Safety website for guidelines on safe handling of bacon.)

To prevent this, commercially preserved meats contain sodium nitrite (sometimes called “pink salt”), which acts both as a preservative and a color fixer. This is what gives store-bought bacon that bright red color.

Sodium nitrite is toxic in high quantities, and has been linked to migraines in some people. Some organic “un-cured” bacon brands use celery juice in lieu of pink salt, but celery juice can often contain even more naturally-occurring sodium nitrite than the curing salt! This won’t help migraine sufferers much.

But the main concern with sodium nitrite (or even high levels of naturally-occurring nitrites from celery juice) is that when it is exposed to high heat in the presence of protein (like a piece of fried, nitrite-cured bacon), proteins in the meat bond with the sodium nitrite to produce toxic nitrosamines—and certain nitrosamines have been proven to be deadly carcinogens.

Basically, frying and eating nitrite-cured bacon presents the perfect scenario for nitrosamines to enter your system.

That sounds pretty bad, right?

Unfortunately, the sodium nitrite (or naturally-occurring nitrites from celery) is necessary in a large industrial setting, where many different people, machines and industrial processes are involved in getting the meat from the feedlot to the store, free of botulism and other harmful bacteria.

But the home cook can better control the variables and handling procedures involved in curing bacon, and can get those assurances without the addition of nitrites. And your bacon will taste much better than anything you’ve purchased in a package.

Selecting Your Pork

If you eat a lot of pork, then you should know how important it is to get it from pigs that haven’t been tortured in industrial feedlots, fattened on GMO soy and corn, shot up with pharmaceuticals and antibiotics, and then processed with chemical additives and nitrites.

This means you need to buy pork from organic sources—or better yet, from a farm that raises their pigs naturally on pasture and forage. If you can get pork belly from a heritage breed like Berkshire, Duroc, or Kurobuta, it will have a richer, meatier, more distinctive flavor than conventional pork bellies.

When shopping, choose a fresh, unfrozen, unsliced, organic or pasture-raised pork belly from your butcher or local farm that is between 1–2 inches (3–5 cm) thick and 6–8 inches (15-20 cm) across. Look for pork belly that has about a 1:1 ratio of muscle to fat. You might need to special order it.

You can get pork belly with skin (sometimes called the “rind”) or without. Ask your butcher to remove the skin but save it for you so you can make fried pork rinds, chicharrones, or “cracklins,” if you like.

As soon as you get your pork belly home, start the cure because raw pork fat goes rancid after just 4 or 5 days.

Smoked or Unsmoked?

The process of “curing” anything simply means using salt to draw the moisture out, so that the food lasts longer. And that is what you are going to do with your pork belly to make it into bacon.

After curing, almost all commercial bacon in the United States is smoked, whereas bacon in other countries is cured, but not smoked. With bacon, the smoking step is more about adding flavor than it is about preserving the meat. 

This recipe gives you the choice to use a smoker or to gently roast the bacon in the oven. For the smoker version, hickory, cherry or applewood chips will give you the best flavor.

If you want that smoky, American bacon taste, but don’t have access to a smoker, you can “cheat” by using a natural liquid smoke during oven-roasting. Small bottles of liquid smoke can be found near the barbecue sauce on grocery store shelves. Read the ingredient list on the label carefully to make sure it contains all natural ingredients. 

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Bacon Recipes You’ll Love

side of uncooked bacon with rosemary on a table
3.90 from 78 votes

How to Cure Bacon

When you cure your own bacon, you control the quality of the meat and the ingredients it is cured with! Here's how to cure bacon at home.
CuisineGAPS, Gluten Free, Keto, Paleo
Makes4 pounds
Prep Time 20 minutes
Curing Time 5 days
Total Time 5 days 20 minutes
This recipe may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


For a sweet cure, add one or more of the following:

For a savory cure, add one or more of the following:


  • Cut your pork belly into a nice square, bacon-like block. Rinse it and pat it dry.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl until they are uniformly combined.
  • Mix the wet ingredients (if using) in a separate bowl until they are uniformly combined.
  • In a glass dish, use your very clean or gloved hands to slather the meat all over with the wet ingredients (if using) until thoroughly coated everywhere.
  • Place one half of the dry cure mixture in the bottom of the glass dish.
  • Place the wet pork belly into the dish and press it into the salt/sugar mix.
  • Carefully pour the rest of the dry mixture across the top of the meat and press it in uniformly all around, using your hands to thoroughly massage the cure mix into every nook and cranny of your pork belly. Use up any excess mixture in the dish to make sure both sides are thoroughly coated.
    side of pork belly coated in sugar for curing bacon at home
  • Place the dish in the refrigerator for 5-10 days, until the meat feels firm throughout, with no soft spots. (5 days is a good average for a thin belly about 1-1/2 inches thick, but check to be sure. The longer you cure it, the saltier it will be.)
  • As the cure dehydrates the bacon, liquid will accumulate in the dish. It’s supposed to. Think of it like brine. Turn the bacon over every day, and slosh the brine around it.
  • After 5-10 days curing, thoroughly rinse the salt/sugar brine off of the pork belly.
  • Pat the bacon dry with a clean towel and set it on a rack over a baking pan. Allow the bacon to air-dry uncovered in the refrigerator for 24 hours. It will develop a pellicle, or protective skin, on the surface of the meat. Without the pellicle, the smoke won't stick to the meat and you won’t get that bronzed surface that looks and tastes so good.
  • If oven-roasting, preheat the oven to 175–200 degrees F. If using liquid smoke, baste the cured pork belly with a pastry brush to evenly coat all sides. Roast for about 2 hours until bacon reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F, the minimum safe temperature for pork. The meat should be cooked a bit on the outside, but not all the way through.
  • If smoking, smoke over hickory, cherry or applewood chips at 175–200 degrees F for 2–3 hours, until meat reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F, the minimum safe temperature for pork. The meat should be cooked a bit on the outside, but not all the way through.
  • Let the bacon cool to room temperature on a wire rack over a baking pan, tightly wrap in parchment paper, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. (This sets the flavor and texture.) 
  • Slice off the ends of the cold bacon, which may be very dark and more salty than the innards. Fry and eat if you like.
  • With a long, very sharp knife, slice your bacon across the grain, thin or thick, as desired. Use hard-to-slice pieces in pots of beans or soup. Cut bacon into cubes to make lardons and use them like bacon bits in salads, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, baked beans, sauces, etc. If you put the bacon slab in the freezer for 15 minutes, it becomes easier to slice.
  • Fry bacon pieces/slices in a skillet, or crisp them in the oven. Save the fat for up to a month and use it to fry. 
  • Homemade bacon will keep for a week in the refrigerator and several months in the freezer.


Calories: 1018kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 18gFat: 100gSaturated Fat: 37gCholesterol: 136mgSodium: 4777mgPotassium: 378mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 85IUVitamin C: 2.9mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1.4mg

Updated October 2021


111 thoughts on “How to Cure Bacon at Home”

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  1. I 100% disagree with your opinion of traditional raised hogs! They are in no way torturing these pigs in any way shape or form, how does that help them make any money? Apparently you’ve never actually been to a hog farm for a visit to see first hand how they actually operate. I think it would be very beneficial.

    1. The crowded, indoor conditions and the vast hog manure lagoons you can smell miles away throughout the South (where I grew up) make industrial pork operations an environmental, economic and humanitarian nightmare. SFF will not ever recommend eating meat from such places. If you can find a good source of pork where the hogs are raised outdoors, on pasture, ideally in carbon-sequestering holistic grazing systems, it will be worth it on every level.

  2. Hi
    I forgot to remove the skin from the pork ! Is it going to cause a problem for the curing process?
    It has been in the fridge for almost 2 days.

  3. Hi we just recently bought a whole pig and the bacon and ham are already sliced and in bags . How do i do this now? Still soak in fridge but how do i do the smoking ? Lay strips on grate in smoker and ham slice on other grates in bags

  4. 5 stars
    Hello there!
    I’ve been using your recipe for a year now. Best ever!
    But now I would like to make my own natural cured kielbasa sausage…..
    Have you? And can you enlighten me please?

  5. Hi Dawn,

    For the curing process- do you leave the pork open in the fridge or covered? I currently have mine suspended on a rack in a dish, open in the refrigerator. I’m a little confused as to the process for this step.. Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    hi dawn,
    just want you to know that i have been looking on how to make bacon at home nitrate free and i stumbled on your channel by chance, followed your directions almost to a T, rinse my bacon after only 4 days, placed in the fridge overnight to dry, checked in the morning ( of course ) and my boyfriend can’t help but slice a couple of pieces to try and it was absolutely great,… not salty at all, i will be making some more and i can’t THANK YOU enough….. again thank you for sharing?!!!!

  7. Hi Dawn
    My bacon from this recipe is just stunning, particularly after smoking with apple chips in my Weber. After cooking, however, its sadly as tough as leather. Could this be because I am slicing it the wrong way – i.e. along the grain – and if so, how do I tell which way to slice it?

    1. I’m so glad the cure turned out well. You’ll want to cut against the grain, which you can see if you look at the lines of fat and meat in the pork. In other words, cut it so the slices look like the bacon in the store. Cut as thin as possible and fry it up!

      Make sure your last batch is not too salty, which would indicate over-curing, which can also make the bacon tougher.

  8. Avatar photo
    Jessica Smith

    Hi Dawn,

    My 8 Steps

    1. Choose the right pork belly. 
    2. Remove the skin.
    3. Prepare the cure. 
    4. Cure the pork belly. 
    5. Rinse and dry the belly. 
    6. Smoke the bacon. 
    7. Chill and rest the bacon. 
    8. Slicing and cooking.

  9. I have thick sliced uncured bacon from a local farm. Is the process still the same or do I need to tweak it? If so, I’m open to suggestions as I find the uncured bacon very unpalatable after cooking.

    1. Because it is sliced already, there is greater surface area on the bacon for the salt to penetrate, so you will need to use much less salt to cure the meat. How much less you will have to experiment with a bit.

  10. Why do you insist on sea salt instead of rock salt? I can understand this if you are trying not to use iodised salt. But salt is one of (along with sugar) the most highly refined chemicals on earth. Therefore, the finished sea salt or rock salt is the same, sodium chloride, the origin is immaterial. The flavor is the same and he properties are the same assuming grist size is identical.

    1. Most sea salt (including from ancient sea beds) is significantly less refined than standard table salt. Because of this, it contains a complete profile of trace minerals which changes its taste and the level of saltiness you get from using a teaspoon of it. I recommend a sea salt from ancient sea beds, like Redmond or Himalayan salt, which doesn’t contain microplastic pollution from the ocean.

  11. 5 stars
    Hi Dawn, I used some honey and coffee as a wet rub for the meat, I didn’t drain off the excess but left it in the pan, put part of the dry ingredient in the liquid then put meat in and covered the top and sides with the rest, should I drain that off? And or flip the meat so both sides get in the liquid? Any advice would be great.

    1. When you get to the smoking stage, you’ll want that meat to be dry, so at some point you will need to drain off the liquid and let it rest. In the meantime, flip the meat to make sure all sides get coated.

  12. Hello Dawn
    I’m not sure if I missed it, but why do we need to dry it out in the fridge for 6-24 hours? Can I skip that step and put it directly in the smoker after patting it dry?

    1. You need time for the water to come out of the inside of the meat, not just the outside. I wouldn’t skip that step.

    2. Allowing the pork to air-dry in the fridge creates kind of a tacky substance on the surface of the meat. This helps some of the smoke flavor to penetrate a little deeper and stick to the meat easier. I’ve done both methods and it always tastes better when I let it air-dry in the fridge for a day

  13. 5 stars
    I have to share my success. Organic, pastured pork bellies can be a little pricy and hard to find. I was able to get some organic and pastured pork jowl instead. It is cheaper than he belly since it is considered to be offal. It came out amazing! Best bacon I ever had.

  14. 5 stars
    Hey Dawn, I like your recipe, very similar to the 3 batches that I’ve done so far.
    My main issue is the tenderness of the final product. When I fry it, it just doesn’t seem to be as tender as I would like. Is that just inherent to the process of being nitrite free? Store bought nitrite-free bacon seems to be more tender.

  15. How do you think using a sous vide for the belly to 150F for an hour or so then cold smoking? Or smoking to your particular taste?

    1. A sous vide will be more accurate and cook the belly through more evenly, but the technique will be different, as will the end product. This link will show you how to cure your bacon with a sous vide.

  16. I trie out this recipe, I had 4 4lbs pieces of side pork to work with. I did two with the more savory flavoring and two with the sweet. Then tried two with the oven method and two in the smoker. It was fun to experiment and play with different options. I left it in the brine for 5 days and we found it to be very salty. I ended up soaking it in water and doing a few rinses to get out some salt. Next time I would try leaving it for only 3 days in the brine and perhaps adding less salt in the original recipe, but I am not sure if that is bad to add less salt.
    Anyway it was a good first try!

  17. 4 stars
    I just tried this recipe, except instead of plain salt I used mixture of 1/4 lapsang souchong tea to 3/4 himalayan salt (saw this tip on another website) to make it taste smoky since I don’t have a smoker. It totally worked! It was done in about 3.5 days. I’m actually surprised at how good it is. Thanks 🙂

  18. Thanks for this! I’m aware Grade B maple syrup is higher in nutrative value, but I’m thinking Grade A would work for this recipe just as well. Any reason it wouldn’t?

  19. I picked up some pork belly from my local farmers’ market and was looking for instructions on how to make it into bacon. Looks pretty easy, but I do have one question on the smoking process: If I smoke it to an internal temperature of 150 degrees, isn’t the meat essentially cooked at this point? (When I cook pork loin, I pull it from the oven or grill at an internal temp of 135, otherwise it gets overdone!) Is commercial bacon normally smoked to this same temperature?

    1. Yes, you want to smoke at a very low temperature and indirect heat till the meat reaches 150-degrees Fahrenheit inside. The meat should be slightly cooked on the outside/rind. Commercial bacon is made using chemical curing salts and smoke flavors, and is very different from the home-cured stuff!

  20. Hi Dawn!
    SO Loving this recipe and the idea of making my own bacon as I’m realizing that even the “uncured” products carry their own dangers, such as 2 x or more of the sodium than the cured variety! Ouch! A couple of questions: 1) I’m thinking you could do this with fresh pork side vs the belly? 2) Thoughts on sugar, can the amount be reduced as long as it still covers the slab? 3) Thoughts on using celery powder to reduce the sodium level or will there be the same dangers as mentioned in your post? And 4) Do you think adding a little liquid smoke to the process could acheive the smoked taste without smoking–Maybe rubbing the slab with the liquid smoke first? I’m thinking that without a smoker I might be able to achieve that smokey flavor by doing that? I used to do the same with brisket when cooked in the oven. Look forward to hearing your thoughts. Great post!

    1. I’ve never used fresh side or liquid smoke, so you’ll have to let us know how it goes. You can certainly reduce the sugar a bit, but I wouldn’t replace the salt unless you were certain about what you are doing. It’s vital to safe curing.

  21. i am new to bacon. under the savory section i added all except juniper berries. Hubby says it should have been only one of the list. Oh well. will let you know the results. thanks

  22. I just made this and it has been 3 days since the meat has completed the “uncured” process. Sliced the meat and fried it. The taste is heavenly. I definitely will do this again maybe with lesser salt but my first try was already almost perfect. I use homemade celery powder to “uncured” it.

    1. I’m guessing you prefer a smoky bacon taste. To get the smoked taste, you need to smoke the bacon instead of putting it in the oven.

      1. Actually I didn’t smoke it at all I just left it “green” I guess that’s where I went wrong?
        Thank you so much for replying to me. I don’t even get that at home. 😉

  23. when backing to do wait until the temp gets to 150 then wait for another 90 minutes or do you mean it takes about 90 minutes to get to 150 degree?

  24. Quick question- have you ever added celery salt to help with cure? Also if it comes out too salty with sea salt does soaking after rinsing help? If so, how long do you soak?

    1. Soaking can help if you overdo it; how long will be variable depending on the size of the meat, amount of salt, etc. I am allergic to celery so I have not used it, but I’m sure it would be great.

  25. Hi! Made this last night- do you drain off the liquid at the cure continues? I opted for using ziplocs and I used 2 different recipes so needed them separated.


    1. Sometimes a particular cure will give off more liquid than others. I don’t usually drain it off unless there is a very large amount of liquid.

  26. Is it better to use coarse salt or a fine ground salt? Also, would Himalayan pink salt work instead of sea salt. If one was going to use apple juice what amount would you recommend in the recipe above?

    1. The finer the ground of salt, the saltier your cure will be and will likely need less time to cure, so pay attention. If you accidentally overcure the bacon, you can wash some of the salt out by rinsing the bacon several times before smoking. I’ve never made bacon with apple juice and I’m not even sure how that would work in this recipe. Let us know how it works out for you.

  27. Do you know of ANY book out there that is dedicated to teaching their readers, about the HOW TO’s of making our own SAUSAGES/KIELBASA, PEPPERONI, BACON & HAM products-ORGANICALLY?(Like what you just did here)

    If so,
    Does that book you know of have RECIPES and does it speak to CURING, SALTING & Smoking??

    The “expert” books have knowledge of these things BUT they use NON-Organic methods.
    Also…one other thing…

    WHAT other TYPES of salt can we use? (Pink Himylayan?, Kosher? COARSE or FINE?)
    WHAT other types of Sugar (Besides the Rapadura)-can we use? (Organic white? Or Org Brown? Muscavado? )

    So Curious…
    Which is why i’d like BOOK on this subject that is a healthy alternative to Michael Rulman & Brian Polcyn’s book (Charcuterie)

    Thank you in advance for answering ALL my questions : )

    1. I do not know of any book that teaches all of these subjects without using chemicals. I’ve been looking for a while. There are some good smaller books just on sausages, or ham, plus tons of internet resources. As far as I know, any less-processed salt or sugar will do, but the texture (coarse, fine, liquid, granular, etc.) will depend on what you are making and the flavor you are trying to get.

  28. You separate your ingredients into ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ but at one point you assume that the sugar is a dry ingredient. I used maple syrup and first lathered it on the pork belly and then mixed all the other ingredients (including the salt) and pressed it into the pork belly. Is this going to mess the curing process? Today is day 1 of the curing process.
    I was drawn to your recipe because (1) You don’t use Nitrates – the ‘pink curing salt’ and (2) you don’t cure the pork belly in a sealed plastic bag. Other recipe sites tell you to wrap the pork belly in a plastic bag while curing it and I don’t use plastic. What is the advantage of sealing versus leaving it open to dry in the fridge. Thanks!

    1. Your cure should be fine, but do note that maple syrup will come out less sweet than sugar. The plastic is for convenience, to keep the cure close to the meat and easy to mix around and turn over daily. Just make sure to keep your meat covered in the cure every time you rotate it.

  29. Trying to find a pink salt free recipe for Canadian Bacon. Any help??? The latest research indicated the nitrates are really not good for you.

  30. At the end process now,a couple of things I did different though,I used homemade Apple Pie moonshine and Maple syrup and then salted for 5 days then rinsed and let air dry and the last thing I have done before roasting is covered it with more Apple Pie moonshine and syrup but I also added brown sugar and am letting it sit for another cpl hours,will let you know how it goes. As I am writing this I am fearful that it may be too sweet,although I only coated the fat side of the belly mmmmmm…. interesting dilemma. Will let you the outcome.

  31. I smoked my bacon 150 cooked it but the taste was not there cool but did not taste like bacon what did I do wrong??

    1. Since I wasn’t there, I couldn’t tell you. Maybe it was your cure? Homemade bacon won’t taste like the commercial, chemical-laden stuff, more like the expensive, thick cut “nitrate-free” bacon you get at a natural food store.

  32. Avatar photo
    Erin @ Texanerin Baking

    This looks great! I can’t wait to try it. Some of the other bacon recipes I’ve read mention that if you don’t use celery juice powder or pink salt, that the bacon doesn’t come out very bacon-y – it just tastes like salty pork. I’m hoping that’s just true for their recipes and not this one. 😉 So does this one have that nice cured taste? Sorry for the dumb question! It’s quite an ordeal to get good quality pork around here so I wanted to make sure first. Thanks so much!

    1. I think you will find the bacon to be more traditionally flavored if you smoke it instead of leaving it “green.”

      1. Avatar photo
        Erin @ Texanerin Baking

        Thanks for the reply! I’ll definitely do that. It’s now on day 2 and all of the sea salt has dissolved. I used the maple syrup option, which I guess help dissolved it. Since I poured away the liquid that accumulated, the maple syrup is also gone. So it’s just sitting there without any sweetener or salt. Do you think it’s still doing its thing or should I reapply a little more? Sorry again for all the questions!

        1. I would hesitate to add any more salt or sugar because you could make it too salty, which would be bad. (I’ve done this, and its heartbreakingly inedible.) It should still be doing its thing. However, if you cut a tiny piece off on day 3, cook it up, and test for saltiness/sweetness (it will taste green, but you are testing for cure), you will know if you need to add more and then let it cure a few more days, or not.

          1. Avatar photo
            Erin @ Texanerin Baking

            Thanks for the speedy reply! It was good I didn’t add salt because it was extremely salty, like the other commenter who used maple syrup (although he used table salt, which I think would explain his problem). I wonder if it has something to do with all the maple syrup being poured away after the first day. I rinsed the pork off in step 11 and rinsed it off again before frying, but it was still inedibly salty so I rinsed it off again after frying and that made it better. I think I’ll cut it into slices and blanch it before frying next time. Or maybe my pork belly was oddly shaped. I roasted it at 225F (with an oven thermometer to ensure my oven wasn’t off) and after an hour, the outside was pretty cooked looking and the inside wasn’t anywhere near 150F. I let it go another 30 minutes, anyway, and it’s almost cooked completely through. Oh well. I’ll try again with sugar. 🙂

          2. Blanching is the PERFECT solution to an overly salty bacon. It happens. I’ve done it once or twice myself. 🙂 I usually recommend smoking over oven roasting because the thickness of your pork belly can affect how it comes out in the oven. But, even if it is a bit over-roasted, you should be able to eat it. Just slice and, if needed, cook the rest of the way through in a pan.

          3. Avatar photo
            Erin @ Texanerin Baking

            I can’t reply to your last comment so I’ll reply here. I blanched it and it worked out wonderfully! 🙂 You couldn’t tell that it was over-roasted in the oven and it wasn’t too salty. I’d love to have smoked it but we live in an apartment but as soon as we move to a house, I’ll definitely use a smoker. Thanks again for all your help!

          4. That ‘tiny piece to test’ seems to be a very good idea, at 3 and 5 days. I left the liquid in the pan when curing, and will be trying a ‘liquid smoke brush on’ during the 1 day drying phase. then plan on oven baking. I have had very good success making my own hams this way, liquid smoke in the brine, with pork loins.

  33. If a local garden plant supplier sells stevia plants (a lot do now) you can actually pick a handful of leaves, leave them on a window ledge for a day or so until they’ve dried out a bit, then finely chop and/or food-processor them into tiny particles, similar to those in jars of dried mixed herbs. Then add that to the other ingredients in your dry cure rub. Absolutely no sugars of any kind (beyond the miniscule amounts that virtually every plant has – no avoiding it) but will still impart a sweet cured bacon taste.

  34. Great blog. I like that you present very good reasoning for the steps of the process on curing bacon. Even the profession sites like Food Network are not thorough in explaining the “why” of the steps. Thanks. I’ll bookmark this site and look in periodically.

  35. So I made this recipe, and love how it came out. EXCEPT it is salty, in the extreme. Not sure if it’s because I left it cure for a full 7 days, or because I used table salt instead of Sea Salt. I will say that 3/4 of the water that came off the pork did so within 48 hours. So next time, perhaps I’ll only cure for 3 days instead of 7. I also left the pork sit it a porcelain dish. I might put it on a stainless rack, so it doesn’t sit in the liquid brine it creates. I used Maple syrup, instead of sugar. Then smoked it with applewood on the grill for a couple hours. Great taste, consistency, just too salty.

    1. photo of Dawn Gifford
      Dawn Gifford

      I’ve also had too salty batches as I worked on this recipe. Table salt definitely has a much saltier taste than sea salt since it is refined. Putting the bacon up on a rack never hurts!! So glad you enjoyed it. I’m sure your next batch will be perfect.

  36. I use sodium nitrite, not only to preclude botulism, but because it does add a tang to the bacon. Nitrosamine are not such a concern for me since I do not cook my bacon over high temperatures until it charred. Slow cooking it over moderate heat works pretty well and microwaving it works even better. That said, I plan to try making bacon without nitrites for the experience, not due to any particular fear.

    But I share my nitrite-cured bacon with friends, many over 60 and with varying health problems. When dealing with “at risk” populations – any infection or food borne illness can be devastating. So nitrite free bacon is not something I would share.

    I like the additions you mention for flavor and will try those. I do want a sweeter bacon and some of your additions are new to me. Thanks for sharing them.

  37. Avatar photo
    Marshall Grossman

    I am interested in your opinion about why you do not smoke it (or cook it or that matter) to the full internal temperature of 165? Are there benefits (flavor, preservation, etc.) to not fully cooking it until its time to slice and fry? Or is your method just out of personal practice, and fully cooking it before intended use is an optional choice with equal success? Any information regarding this would be great!

    1. Avatar photo
      Marshall Grossman

      Additionally, I noticed your directions to not state flipping the product during the curing process. Is there a reason to your method?

      1. I did not need to flip my bacon to have it cured through because I coated it on both sides thoroughly, but it doesn’t really matter if you do or don’t.

    2. I found that smoking it in advance actually cooked the meat completely, whereas I prefer my bacon uncooked similar to store-bought bacon, which I can then fry.

      1. How can i cure the pork belly without smoking it at all or can it be done? first time processing my hogs i raise we ussualy just make breakfast saisage and throw the rest of the hog on the grill and have a big bbq

  38. I recently got sliced bacon from our local farm. Is there a recipe for curing one pound of sliced bacon at a time. I assume it will take less seasoning and less time but, having never cured bacon before, I want to be sure I am doing it right. Thanks for your help!

    1. You will definitely need less salt and time, but I have not cured bacon presliced before. Try cutting the seasoning in half (at least) and let us know how long it takes!

  39. Avatar photo
    Nicole @ Working Kansas Homemaker

    We recently started buying our meats and dairy from a farmer nearby and I picked up some bacon last time and didn’t even know about cured/not cured until the daughter mentioned it! LOL Thanks for this tutorial, because I’m clueless! 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  40. I cure my bacon with “pink salt” (sodium nitrate) but I cure it German-style, so it is fully cured and smoked. Additional heating is not necessary.

  41. Is frying at a medium temperature (about 350F) still bad? We use nitrite-free (I am aware of the celery juice problem) pastured bacon. Can’t find uncured pork belly.

  42. Avatar photo
    Sarah @

    Wow, I had no idea it’s so easy! Will definitely be trying this one, as we looove bacon (and bacon grease!) at our house!

  43. Hi what will it be called if I don’t use anything with sugar? Not side pork ?!

    I want absolutely no sugar! Some seasoning ok I have cayenne pepper here! How about cayenne and nutmeg?

    1. Bacon requires sugar, honey, molasses or some other sweetener to be bacon. You can cure it with just salt and spices, and use it as “salt pork” in beans, but it won’t technically be bacon, just salt pork.

      1. Thanks for this comment. I am on whole 30 diet, and no sweeteners are allowed. So I’m trying to find acceptable bacon without sweeteners or added nitrates and it’s quite difficult.



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