Bacon - how to make your own

Bacon - how to make your own

Thomas Karlstein

When you have to do something, you have to do it properly. This also applies to bacon.


2.5 kg of fresh pork side (I usually smoke between 3-4 pieces at a time.)

50 g of nitrite salt (for 2 kg of pork side use 40 g)

20 g regular non-iodized salt (for 2 kg pork side use 16 g)

3 tbsp maple syrup (for 2 kg pork side use 2.5 tbsp)


This bacon is not like the bacon you are used to buying and is therefore clearly worth putting some effort into.

First of all, it's obviously smoked for real. Cold smoked without added smoke flavors or other fuss that is common in the wet sour bulk bacon you buy in three packs. If you do it properly from the start, you don't need to dress it up in crowd-pleasing names like Jägar- or Kungsbacon. Admittedly, it's still just bacon. It is not shot by hunters, or developed specifically for hunters. It is definitely not made for or just for kings. Maybe you feel like a king when it's consumed, but that's where the similarities to a king end.

For those of you who have not yet tried real bacon, I recommend doing so. There are good "artisan" bacons to be had if you go to shops that specialize in meat. Unfortunately, that road is one-way, never again will you be able to turn around and buy the sloppy flavored ordinary. It will no longer taste good. Bacon is a beautiful thing. When all the steps are completed and you're standing there with all the bacon prepackaged, you'll understand.

Quickly and simply explained, it works like this. The large slabs of side pork weighing around 2.5 kilos that will become bacon are dry salted and fed with a little maple syrup before being vacuum packed.

Then it should be refrigerated for 7-9 days. Every day, the packages are turned and massaged once a day. It is then rinsed off and dried before being left to dry for 24 hours in the fridge overnight. Then the fun begins.

The pork loin is now cold-smoked below 30°C for around 10 hours.

Afterwards the temperature in the smoking cabinet is raised to 65°C and the side pork is smoked for another 2-3 hours. After that, it is once again allowed to "dry up" nasty in the fridge for at least a day.

Then the bacon is vacuum packed again before a few days later it is sliced up and vacuum packed in bags of around 150 grams. The shelf life is then 2-3 weeks in the fridge, but what will not be used during this time is best frozen immediately. Of course, you can stress the various moments a bit, maybe win a day or two, but I simply don't think it will be as good then.

Good bacon takes time. It should do that. Bacon is so much more than when it's just served with eggs for breakfast. Perfect in pasta or on pizza. In addition to decorating the burger with a slice, the home-smoked bacon is a perfect alternative to guanciale (pig cheek) or pancetta in a carbonara. Unlike the previous two, the bacon is indeed smoked, but the smoked flavor is elegant and not harsh, which is why it fits well.

I would argue that there are similarities between home-smoked bacon and an elegant Pinot Noir, in the same comparison, the bought bacon would be epitomized by an over-sweetened unbalanced New World box wine. So for the next long holiday - plan ahead and salt up some pork sides. Then when you come back to work and people ask if you just relaxed, you can give them answers in words. -"Nah, not at all. I smoked and lived bacon for days three..."


Rinse and wipe the pork side dry with paper.

Mix the salts and then rub these into the meat. It is easiest if you put the side pork in a spacious vacuum bag already before the salt is added. Then you know that all the salt comes with it and does not end up on the counter.

Add the maple syrup to the bag. Rub this all around as well. Then vacuum pack and store in the fridge for 7-9 days. Turn the bag over at least once every 24 hours.

When the bacon feels hard and offers resistance when you press it, it is finished. Take out of the bag. Rinse and wipe dry. Place back in the fridge, but uncomfortably on a wire rack for a day. The pork must be completely dry when you start smoking. Otherwise, it will have an unpleasant taste and color. Then cold smoke the pork for 10 hours below 30°C. I use apple and maple briquettes, but al briquettes also work well. After 10h. Raise the temperature to 65°C and let the bacon smoke for another 2-3 hours. Then take out, dry and let cool. Then put the bacon back on a rack in the fridge for a day.

Vacuum pack the whole pieces and leave for another 2-4 days. Take out and slice. A cutting machine is almost a necessity. Pack in portion packs. The bacon keeps vacuum-packed in the fridge for at least 2 weeks, but can be frozen anyway.


5 Flavour Variety Bisquettes for Bradley Smoker

This variety pack contains 24 each of apple, alder, mesquite, hickory and maple for a variety of flavors.

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