Homemade Smoked Maple Bacon

Homemade Smoked Maple Bacon

The Spruce / Ali Redmond

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Curing and Drying Time: 240 hrs 30 mins
Total: 242 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
630 Calories
60g Fat
11g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 630
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 60g 77%
Saturated Fat 22g 110%
Cholesterol 82mg 27%
Sodium 2247mg 98%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 11g
Calcium 25mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Homemade smoked maple bacon is easy to prepare. Just remember that bacon is always cured with a sweet and savory mixture of sugar, salt, and pepper. You can use a smoker for the finishing touch. If you want to take your bacon from good to great, use real maple syrup instead of sugar. 

Why make bacon at home? You get to decide what goes into it (meat from pastured organically-fed animals) and what does not go into it (nitrites, which are added to most commercial bacon).

Nitrites are sold to the home cook in blends called "curing salt" or "Prague powder." They preserve the bright pink color of the layers of meat in bacon and similar meats. They also help to eliminate bacteria. In very small amounts they are considered safe to consume, but they are a potential health hazard.

If you opt to use nitrates, remember that the finished bacon will not keep as long in the refrigerator as bacon made with curing salt. Freeze any that you plan to keep for longer than a week.

Here is the basic method for curing maple-flavored bacon. The instructions include tips for getting the smoked flavor just right.

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 pounds pork belly
  • 1/2 cup grade A or B maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon curing salt, optional
  • Liquid smoke, for basting

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Homemade Smoked Maple Bacon ingredients

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  2. Rinse the pork belly under cold water.

    Rinse the pork belly under cold water

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  3. Pat it dry with paper towels or a clean dishcloth.

    pat pork belly dry with paper towel

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  4. Combine the maple syrup, salt, pepper, and curing salt (if using) in a small bowl.

    Combine the maple syrup, salt, pepper, and curing salt in a bowl

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  5. Rub the seasoning mixture into all sides of the pork belly, using your scrupulously cleaned hands. Spend a couple of minutes massaging the seasoning/curing mixture into the meat.

    Rub the seasoning mixture into all sides of the pork belly

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  6. Place the pork belly, along with any leftover curing mixture, into a plastic bag and seal it shut. Store it lengthwise in the refrigerator for 10 to 14 days, turning the bag over occasionally. The bacon should be fully cured at this point, with a firm texture and no soft spots.

    seasoned pork belly in a ziplock bag

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  7. Preheat oven to 200 F. Rinse the bacon.

    rinsed pork belly on a wood board

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  8. Again pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels or a clean, dry dishtowel.

    pat pork belly dry with paper towels

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  9. Place the bacon on a rack over a pan and roast the cured bacon in a 200 F oven until the internal temperature reaches 150 F. This should take about two hours.

    pork belly in a roasting pan

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  10. Remove from oven and baste the cured and roasted bacon with the liquid smoke. Use a pastry brush to evenly coat all sides and allow it to set on the counter to air dry for 30 minutes.

    basted pork belly in a roasting pan

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  11. Store the bacon in a tightly sealed container or bag in the refrigerator for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to a year.

    Homemade Smoked Maple Bacon in a plastic bag

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

Curing Meat Warning

Curing meat requires specific expertise and failure to cure meat properly may result in sickness or death. If you have no experience in this area, we advise you to consult an expert to teach you proper techniques and applications.

Tip

  • Cut the bacon into several pieces and freeze them individually.
  • After cooking the bacon, make sure to save the bacon drippings to use; there are so many ways to use the bacon fat. Just make sure to let the drippings cool down before putting in a glass jar and placing in the refrigerator. It can be used for up to a month.

Recipe Variation

  • If you don't have kosher salt, you can use other coarse, non-iodized salt in its place.

Variation with Real Smoke

  • If you have a smoker or want to make a simple smoker, you can use it to smoke your bacon. Use hickory or applewood shavings for the best flavor. 
  • Skip the oven roasting described above and smoke the cured bacon until it reaches an internal temperature of 150 F, which should take one to two hours. No liquid smoke is needed with this method.

Great Resources on Curing Meat

Since curing meat requires such a specific skill set, otherwise, it can lead to illness or worse, we highly recommend consulting with an expert to teach you proper techniques. We found that the following four publications are super helpful guides and go in-depth about just such processes, procedures, and techniques:



Where can you buy pork belly?

Pork belly can be found in your grocery store or local butcher shop. You can get it in a whole slab, or it can also be found pre-sliced.