I was going to visit my brother and needed to make some bacon for him. I decided to use the opportunity to make double smoked bacon and he likes a touch of fat in his bacon so I went with buckboard bacon. I also did a video of this cook.
Regular bacon is made with pork belly. Buckboard bacon is made with slabs of pork shoulder.
To make dry cured bacon you need to understand the process of curing. You make a mixture of salt, curing salt and a sweetener.
The salt pulls the moisture out of the meat.
The curing salt is a mixture of salt and sodium nitrite that gives the bacon its cured flavour and red colour. It also inhibits bacterial growth. Bacon is cooked at low temperatures and cured for a long period of time. Without the curing salts, the meat may spoil. The curing salt usually used is called Prague Powder #1, Instacure #1 or many other names. Whatever it is called, you are looking for a product that is 93.75% salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite.
It is important that you don’t use too much curing salt as excessive sodium nitrite is bad for you. It is important to not use too little or the pork may spoil during smoking.
I started with a pork shoulder and removed the skin and the bone. I trimmed a little of the fat on the surface and cut the pork into two slabs that were about 2 inches thick.
When you are making bacon, work with one slab at a time. I weighed the first slab of pork. You use the weight of the pork to determine the amounts for your curing rub. I prefer to use a small scale and use weight for my curing salt but you can used dry measures. For 1 kilogram of pork you would use:
- 3 grams (2 ml) Prague powder #1
- 30 ml brown sugar
- 15 ml Kosher salt
If you are into US measures, for 1 pound of pork you would use:
- 0.05 ounces (1/5 teaspoon) Prague powder #1
- 2 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
I mixed the ingredients together. I put the slab on a plate and rubbed the curing rub into the pork. I put the pork into a vacuum seal bag (you can use a large resealable bag). I scraped any rub that fell onto the plate into the bag. It is important to get as much of the mixture as possible into the bag. I sealed the bag but did not suck the air out.
I repeated this procedure for the second piece of pork and sealed it in a separate bag.
I put the sealed bag into the refrigerator for 11 days. You have to let it cure for at least 3 days per inch of thickness plus one day. You can go as long as 2 weeks I usually find 10 to 12 days works fine. Flip the bag and massage every day or two.
Take the pork out of the bags and rinse them under running water. Soak them in cold water for 60 minutes, changing the water twice. Put the slabs on a rack and pat them dry with paper towels.
When you smoke bacon, you need the surface of the bacon to be very dry and tacky. This is called pellicle. I like to put it on a rack in the fridge, uncovered, overnight, to dry it.
I lit my A-Maze-N Tube smoker in my smoker but did not turn the smoker on. I put the meat in the smoker, closed the lid and smoke it without heat for 4 hours until the tube smoker went out.
I wrapped the bacon in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
I preheated my smoker to 180 F and smoked the bacon to an internal temperature of 140 F. I let it cool and refrigerated it overnight.
I sliced it to my desired thickness. I like mine about 3/16 inches thick but this is personal choice. Freeze any bacon you will not use in the next week.
Here is the video I made of this cook:
I do like double smoked bacon. It has such a deep smoke taste. If you like a lighter smoke taste this isn’t for you.
The Old Fat Guy
- 1 kg (2.2 pound) slab pork shoulder, skinned, boned and less than 3 inches thick
- 3 grams (0.11 ounces) or 2 ml (1/2 tsp) Prague Powder #1
- 30 ml (2 tbsp) brown sugar
- 15 ml (1 tbsp) kosher salt
- Mix all ingredients except pork together.
- Put the pork on a plate or tray and rub the mixture over the pork.
- Put the pork in a sealable bag and scrape any mixture that fell onto the plate into the bag.
- Seal the bag and refrigerate 10 to 12 days, turning and massaging the bag every day or two.
- Rinse the pork under running water.
- Soak the pork in cold water for 60 minutes, changing the water twice.
- Put the pork on a rack and pat dry with paper towels.
- Put the pork on a rack in the fridge, uncovered, overnight to dry the surface.
- Cold smoke the pork for 4 to 5 hours.
- Wrap the pork in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat your smoker to 180 F and smoke the pork to an internal temperature of 140 F, 3 to 4 hours.
- Let it cool and refrigerate overnight.
- Slice and freeze any bacon that won't be eaten within 7 days.