One of the hit menu items for the CFOX, Jeff O’Neil Grills Gone Wild Tour 2016 will be the back bacon sandwiches. Making bacon, that is, curing your own bacon at home may be easier than you think and BBQ Brian goes through the steps to cure and smoke your own bacon.
Three Steps to Cure Bacon
There are three steps to making bacon, The first is to cure the bacon in a brine liquid that includes nitrates. This may sound daunting but it’s pretty easy if you follow the instructions below. Note however that you shouldn’t substitute the nitrates or skip them. They are a critical element for the “cure” and making the pork into bacon.
The second step is to air dry, add some more flavour to the outside with a rub if you choose then smoke the pork to set the cure. Again, this sounds daunting but think of this process as simply cooking! Then you got it!
The last step is of course slicing it all up and finding which way you find best to eat it!
How to Cure and Smoke Bacon
- 2 L Water
- 2 L Beer – Kolsch, Lager or a Pilsener work best about 6 bottles
- 3./4 Cup Kosher salt
- 1 Cup Honey or Brown sugar
- 6 ts Curing nitrates -Prague Powder* see notes below
- 4-6 lbs Pork loin
The Curing Process
- Start by adding the water in a large bowl or stock pot. Add the salt, honey or sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the beer and then the curing powder. Once all dissolved add the pork loin. For ease, it might be easier to cut a whole loin into two or three pieces so it fits in the pot.
- If you do not have a stock pot, use food grade plastic bags (not garbage bags please) and place the pork and brine into the bag. Push all of the air out of the bag and then tie off in a knot or with a twist tie. Here’s the tricky part…. use cardboard boxes, wash bins or whatever you may have to make sure the liquid is covering the pork… it won’t work if it just “sits” in it.
- The pot or bag needs to now remain very cold for a few days. Ideally a week however BBQ Brian has cured pork loins in as little as two or three days. During this process the liquid needs to remain cold – below 40 F.
The Smoking Process
- Once cured, remove the pork from the brine and discard it. Prepare your smoker for low temperature smoking and add you choice of smoke wood. BBQ Brian usually uses hickory, maple or apple as the best woods for bacon.
- Cook the bacon until the internal temperature reaches 145-150 F. This could take up to 4 or 5 hours if the pork loin is rather thick in size.
The Eating Process
- Once cooked, slice thinly, place on buns, add the limited edition Jeff O’Neil Rock’n Red BBQ Sauce and that is the House of Q Bacon Sandwich served at Grills Gone Wild.
- If you make lots of this bacon, it freezes well, reheats well and once sliced thinly, it can be pan-fried for endless recipes.