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Whiskey brined bacon

I recently took up making bacon as a hobby since bacon is awesome, and homemade bacon is super duper awesome. The two recipes described below are the second iteration in making a whiskey themed bacon.

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For both recipes, I start with 3 pounds of pork belly obtained from a local meat market. Pork belly is usually available at a large butcher though you may want to call ahead and make sure they have it or will get it for you on a particular date. Upon arrival at home, I salted the pork with a light sprinkling of kosher salt. I do not use nitrates on the pork because after the brining and smoking, I freeze the pork slicing it prior to use. If you will be storing without refrigeration, consider nitrates. If you do not like to eat pig skin, you might want to remove that now since the whiskey will penetrate more thoroughly without it.

Whiskey brined bacon

  • 3 lb pork belly in a single slab
  • ½ c kosher salt
  • 2 c Jim Beam Bourbon

Combine all ingredients in a sealed plastic bag — a zip-lock or vacuum sealed bag can work if you are careful. Agitate the bag for a minute and make sure you have a good coverage over the meat.

Whiskey brined molasses bacon

  • 3 lb pork belly in a single slab
  • ½ c kosher salt
  • 1½ c Jim Beam Bourbon
  • ½ c molasses

Combine the salt, whiskey, and molasses in a mixing bowl and stir until you get a uniform mixture of whiskey and molasses. This can take a while depending on what equipment you have to do the mixing. Put the mixture and the bacon in a sealed plastic bag.

Put both of the bags in the refrigerator, agitating and rotating once a day for four days. At this point. the bacon is cured and ready to fry up and eat. Try it! Maybe you’ll like it more than smoked bacon. I like the texture and flavor of smoked bacon so I smoke it.

Before smoking, rinse with fresh water and dry the bacon. Let the bacon sit for a few hours on a rack in the open air to allow a pellicle develop. A pellicle is a formation as the water soluble proteins in the meat are pulled to the surface and form a crust which will absorb the smoke much better.

To smoke bacon, you will either need a smoker or a large grill. I have access to a large grill where we placed  enough briquettes to make a small pile in a cast iron skillet. That skillet is place on one side of the BBQ and the meat is placed as far away as possible from the heat. We soaked hickory chips in water – consider beer if you don’t mind sacrificing some suds for your dead piggies – and placed a small handful on top of the coals once they were going.

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Check the chips every 30 minutes and replenish the supply if needed. If the coals go down add a few more as needed. Once an hour, rotate the meat and change its position in the grill if it is especially full. After four hours, the meat is smoked and you can remove it.

Slice off some healthy slices of your delicious smoked bacon and fry it up right away and enjoy!

This recipe works great though I think I will reduce the salt to ⅓ c the next time I try the recipe. The salt level is good though probably saltier than it needs since I do not require the same kind of curing levels need by little house on the prairie scenarios where you need to keep the bacon for most of a year without a refrigerator.

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  1. November 27th, 2016 at 11:11 | #1

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