|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 60g||77%|
|Saturated Fat 22g||110%|
|Total Carbohydrate 11g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
|*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.|
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.
Rinse the pork belly under cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels or a clean dishcloth.
Combine the maple syrup, salt, pepper, and curing salt (if using) in a small bowl.
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.
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.
Rinse the bacon and again pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels or a clean, dry dishtowel. Roast the cured bacon in a 200 F oven until the internal temperature reaches 150 F. This should take about two hours. 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.
Use 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 apple wood shavings for the best flavor.
Skip the roasting described above and smoke the cured bacon until it reaches an internal temperature of 150 F, which should take one to two hours.
Use Liquid Smoke
If you opt for this version, be sure to buy liquid smoke made from natural (usually hickory) smoke and not one of the harsh-tasting synthetic versions. Roast the cured bacon in a 200 F oven until the internal temperature reaches 150 F. This should take about two hours.
Baste the cured and roasted bacon with the liquid smoke. Use a pastry brush to evenly coat all sides.
Place the bacon on a rack over a pan (to catch any liquid smoke drippings) and air dry for 30 minutes.
Transfer to a tightly sealed container or bag and refrigerate for up to a month or freeze for up to a year.
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.
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:
- Charcuterie: The Art of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
- Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages by Stanley Marianski
- The River Cottage Smoking & Curing Handbook by Steven Lamb
- USDA’s Processing Procedures: Dried Meats
- Cut the bacon into several pieces and freeze them individually.