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I Finally Found Some Side Pork

Side Bacon 05

I started smoking food about 2 years ago and I love it. However, I wanted to make bacon. Not back or buckboard bacon. Just bacon. It is known as side bacon here in Canada and Streaky Bacon in England. Bacon.

The problem was, I couldn’t find side pork (some call it belly pork) here. Occasionally, they have some sliced in the supermarket but a slab couldn’t be found. A couple of weeks ago, I asked the butcher behind the counter and he cut me a 3 pound slab!

I started by cutting the skin off the slab.

Side Bacon

Then I weighed the pork. It just came in at just over 1.2 kilogram (2.7 pounds). You need to use a curing agent. I used a product called Morton’s Tender Quick. A curing agent is a mixture of salt and sodium nitrate. It stops bacteria from creating toxins in the pork during the long curing and smoking process. You must use exactly the right amount. If you use too little, botulism may form in the meat. Use too much and the excess nitrates can make you sick.

Tender Quick is meant to be used at 30 grams per kilogram of meat or 1/2 ounce per pound. For metric users like me, just multiply the number of kilograms of meat times 30 and you have the number of grams to use. My pork was about 1.2 kilograms times 30 so I needed 36 grams.

If you are working with pounds, just divide the weight of the meat by 2 and you have the number of ounces by weight to use.

I measured out the amount of cure I needed and added 10 ml (2 teaspoons) of brown sugar per 500 grams (1 pound) of meat to the Tender Quick. As I had 1.2 kilogram of meat, I just rounded up to 25 ml of brown sugar.

I put the pork on the plate and rubbed the mixture all over the pork. I put the pork in a Ziploc bag and made sure to put any mixture that fell off the plate into the bag.

Side Bacon 01

I put the pork in the fridge for ten days. Every day, I turned the pork over and rubbed the juices back into the pork.

After ten days, I rinsed the pork off. Then I soaked it in cold water for 2 hours, changing the water every 20 minutes. I dried it with paper towels. Then I put it on a rack in the refrigerator overnight, uncovered.

Side Bacon 02

The next morning I took it out and made sure the surface was totally dry and felt a little tacky. If it is damp at all, put it in front of a fan until it is dry.

I put it in my Bradley Smoker with no heat turned on and just hickory pucks creating smoke. Whatever smoking system you have, you want it smoked for at least four hours at the coolest setting possible. Then I increased the heat to 160 F and smoked for 2 more hours. You don’t want the internal temperature of the bacon to go over 150 F. If it gets to 150 F. Stop smoking the bacon and consider it finished.

Side Bacon 03

Cover the bacon and put it in the fridge for 2 days. Put it in the freezer for 2 hours to make it easier to slice.

I used a ham slicer knife to cut my bacon. One of these days, I will ask She Who Must Be Obeyed if I can get an electric slicer. However, I did a decent job of slicing the bacon with my trusty knife if I do say so myself.

Side Bacon 04

I took some of the shorter slices from the end and fried them up for a bacon sandwich.

Side Bacon 06

The Verdict

This is way better than commercial bacon. There is a nice salt taste and a deep hickory flavour. I loved it but the next time I think I will do it as pepper bacon to kick it up a notch.

The Old Fat Guy

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8 Responses

  1. I absolutely LOVE side pork. When I was young my mom cooked it all the time. My uncle raised pigs…so getting the stuff was not an issue. It has been many many years since I have had side pork, but last October we were at a restaurant and my husband ordered a salad that had pork belly on it. As soon as I tasted it I immediately remembered my childhood and my mom cooking it. AWESOME!!

    1. Thanks for the comment! Pork Belly is a truly underused meat. I love cooking with it but it has become difficult to find. I will definitely search out more.

      The Old Fat Guy

  2. Congrats Disco

    There is nothing finer than home made bacon. I continiously find new places that a piece of it will made a huge different. I cooked a couple a slices in a pan of melted butter and split whole garlics. I then keep it and just brush on french bread for garlic bread. The little bacon hads that smokie hint. You’ll find all kinds of little things to add it to and you’ll love it!

    Once you’ve made your own you’ll be miserible with even the greatest store-bought bacon.

    It’s a curse! But you’ll love it. Make friends with your butcher.

    Welcome to the addiction.

      1. This will sound stupid but…… The bacon flavor (ok, the grease) sort of cuts the richness of the butter and mellows the taste. The cooking of the garlic very slowly also reduces the harsh garlic taste assoc.’d with garlic bread.

        Its becomes a gentle smoky garlic flavor with just an idea of bacon lingering in the background. I use the prepared butter on loads on things now with this bacon I can see many more places will need it….LOL Coonazz’s like garlic!

        Awww…… you can’t steal what is freely given. Seems I owe you for a rye bread anyway.

    1. Thanks, Little Kitchen. If you were raised by a family that made fresh food from scratch, you were very lucky!

      The Old Fat Guy

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