How to Make Homemade Bacon - Recipe
How to Make Homemade Bacon
Learn how to make Homemade Bacon with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.
What Is Bacon?
Bacon is classically a pork belly that has been cured by smoking, salting or pickling. After curing it can be cooked by pan frying, boiling, baking, microwaving or smoking. In American cuisine, it is typically eaten for breakfast or added to other dishes to add a savory flavor.
There are two popular ways to cure bellies at home, pickling which is also often mistakenly referred to as brining and injecting. Brining is using just salt, pickling is the correct term for using an actual cure.
Before you prepare your injection there are a few things we need to point out about the water you are going to use. At the time of mixing the water needs to be between 40 and 45°, it cannot be hard water and must be potable so very low microbial levels. If you can aerate the water that is preferable, if not then put the water in a cooler and hold it overnight.
To prepare your injection you are going to dissolve 2 lb of Blue Ribbon Maple Bacon Cure and 6 ounces of bacon taste booster in a gallon of water. Bacon Taste booster helps impart the classic bacon taste while using modern curing techniques and it helps fight off rancidity in the freezer. Then you want to pump the bellies to 10 % of their green weight. Green weight is simply what the bellies weighed before you injected them.
Since the Blue Ribbon Maple Cure for Bacon has Sodium Erythorbate in it you only need to hold this product overnight in a cooler at 38° before moving them to the smokehouse. While you are holding them you want to cover them in a 50% strength solution of the pickle you used. The easiest way to do this is to take the remaining pickle that you did not inject, weight it and add that amount of water to the pickle.
Next hang your bacon on 9-inch bacon hangers, making sure that there is sufficient flesh above the hooks to prevent them ripping through the top of the belly and hang them in the smokehouse.
If you want to pickle we recommend you use country brown sugar cure, you just have to modify the usage a little to get the correct parts per million. You will want to use 1.52 pounds of the cure to a gallon of water to get 120 PPM of ingoing nitrite. Fill the container with the cure before you put the bellies in, this will allow the bacon to suspend and cure evenly. Make sure to stack the bellies meat side to meat side and fat to fat. Once your bellies are covered move them to a cooler at 38° degrees and hold for 3-5 days. After it has sat for 3-5 days fill a meat lug with clean cold water, let the bacon sit in that for 20 minutes, empty that and fill it up with more cold water and let it sit for another 20 minutes to rinse off any excess salt. If you try and skip this step your bacon is going to be WAY too salty. If you are wanting a less salty product then repeat this step a 3rd time.
The smoke schedule is the same for Pickling as it is for Injecting.
Thermal Processing & Smoking
Stage 1 - 120° for an hour with no smoke
Stage 2 - 135° for an hour with smoke
Stage 3 - 150° for an hour with smoke
Stage 4 - 165° for an hour with smoke
Stage 5 - 180° with no smoke until internal temperature reaches 132°
If your smokehouse has a shower cycle you should run it for 20 minutes with no heat and no smoke. If you do not have a shower cycle in your smoker then fill a meat lug with ice and water and leave it in there for 15-20 minutes to bring down the internal temperature. Allow your bacon to sit out at room temperature for 2 hours.
Bacon is one of the most commonly cured meats in America, being able to make it at home is really not very hard but it is a little time-consuming. One of the nice things about making bacon is all you need is the Cure a Meat Lug a cooler and a Smoker!
- If injecting, make sure you inject evenly throughout the bacon.
- If pickling make sure you add the pickle before adding the bellies.
For either pickle or injection make sure your water is 40°-45°F, it can not be hard water and aerate it or hold in a cooler overnight.
Watch WaltonsTV: How To Make Homemade Bacon
KARLHEIDOLPH last edited by
i need help with bacon so i tried to make bacon out of a wild boar it was a small one so i figured i would be ok because the rest of the meat teats good but when i tried to make the bacon it did not turn out i injected it as even as i could then let it sit over night in refrigerator in a haft brine then next morning i cooked using the walts cook time to 145 internal and then cooled in a ice bath till internal got to under 100 then let it sit out for 2hrs and when i cooked it , it turned out bad it had right color but very salty and fat did not cook out ether what did i do wrong? does it mater what cut of meat i use? did i miss a step please let me no if you can help
@KARLHEIDOLPH What cure and how much of it did you use? What was the weight of the belly before you injected it? It could be a combination of any of these things. From what else you said your process sounds good so I dont think it was anything to do with that. There can be some problems when making bacon from wild hogs as they rarely have enough fat content to make proper bacon, so that might have been an issue as well.
Let me know about the cure and I will see what I can figure out!
KARLHEIDOLPH last edited by
I used the maple bacon cure and the bacon booster I used 1 pound to a gallon of water it distilled and I used 3oz of booster the water was at frigerator temperature the start weight was 4 lb and I injected it till it got 8 pounds or very close to it it wieghed 7.5 lb when I let it sit overnight I did like they said and I covered it up with the left over solution I am wandering it it was that there was not enuff fat like you said let me now if that sounds s right
@KARLHEIDOLPH That’s the issue, if your bacon was 4 lb you should have pumped it to 4.4 lb and it sounds like you added almost 3.5 lb to the belly. I am surprised you got the belly to take that much of the solution without it all leaking back out. The rest of your process sounds like it was correct but just injected too much cure into it!
Let us know if you need anything else.
bart last edited by
can i use the blue ribbon maple bacon cure in a brine “pickling” situation in a vac tumbler?
@bart Yes, you can use Blue Ribbon Maple Bacon Cure if you are vacuum tumbling, it is formulated for tumbling or injecting. Since it has sodium erythorbate included you do not need to add any, and you can go directly from Vacuum Tumbling to the smokehouse. If you want to hold it overnight that is fine as well but straight to the smokehouse after tumbling will work.
When Vacuum Tumbling I would recommend you use Bacon Taste Booster as it helps impart an old world taste when using modern curing methods.
exotic1 last edited by
Is this bacon on the salty side? If not and I want to make it a bit saltier what would you change and also do you also have instructions on how to make a nice maple Canadian bacon?
I do it all the time. Still remember my mom saying it’s not a good idea. I’m sure if you are buying a nice steak and intend it eat it as a grilled T-bone you might notice some flesh cell break down (texture change). If you are going to use it in sausage you will not notice any difference. Made brats last night. Once frozen pork and elk. Refroze the brats. I do it time and time again.
Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.
Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??
Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your input. Pulling the meat at 152 will make a big difference I bet! Thanks again.
@Kinger Thanks for the information. Your process, other than going to 178, is on in my mind. The only thing I do differently is an ice bath for 20 minutes. Showering for 10 minutes, if you are running a cycle and a fan in your smoker can work, but I still think an ice bath would bring it down faster and more. Last time I did thick summer sausage it was down to 110 in 20 minutes, I also tried showering it at 2 minutes on 2 minutes off for 20 minutes and it was only down to 136 (ish) but i did not have a fan running on them.
One more thing you might want to try, if you are stalled towards the end you can finish them up by putting them in a vacuum bag (I have done then hot, right from the smoker, some condensation in the bag but it still gets a good vac) and get some water going at around 165, it should get up to temp in under an hour depending on the thickness.