home made smoked cured bacon

How to make and cure your own smoky bacon

There are few single ingredients that are so universally adored as bacon. And the only thing better than bacon is homemade bacon.


Curing your own bacon, at least once, is a great experience for any meat enthusiast. Although it’s a fairly lengthy process (at least, compared to running to the store and just buying some), it is  a wholly satisfying one, and in addition to the sense of achievement it also yields some tasty rewards. It also gives you control of what exactly is going into the bacon, the degree of quality of the pork itself and of course, the flavoring and level of smoke. And not only that, but it gives you complete control over the thickness of the slices – get as thick or thin as your heart desires!

kurobuta pork belly
Fresh boneless pork belly prior to curing
cured pork belly bacon
Pork belly after curing

There are a few things you’ll need to make your own bacon. Firstly, curing salt (aka Prague powder) which can be bought at better grocery and specialty food stores or ordered online. Second, you’ll need a smoker of some kind (because obviously that’s how you get the smoke flavor!). A pellet grill is perfect for this task because it’s fabulously easy to use, and will only take a couple of hours. I prefer fruit woods like Apple or Cherry to pair with pork, but of course you can go for something stronger like Hickory. Finally, you may want to consider investing in a great quality thermometer. I use and recommend the Thermapen, and also used a Dot to monitor the temp of the smoker.

home made cured bacon
The finished and cooked product

This recipe serves as the core foundation for a bunch of different types and flavors you can try. All you need to do is adjust some of the ingredients and experiment with additions. Brown sugar, molasses, garlic, bourbon, different wood species and a host of other options can be used to create your own signature bacon, and let’s be honest, it’s going to be one helluva tasty process of trial and error.

And of course, once you have all that bacon, you can turn it use it to create completely magical meals like this:

bacon and egg biscuit

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home made smoked cured bacon

How to make and cure your own smoky bacon

  • Author: Jess Pryles



3lb skinless, boneless pork belly

3 tablespoons kosher salt

1/3 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons pepper

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon pink curing salt (aka Prague Powder #1)

apple or cherry wood chunks/chips


  1. Start by curing the belly: In a small bowl, combine the pepper, sugar, paprika, salt & curing salt. Place belly on a foil lined tray and pat dry with paper towels. Using half of the cure mix, sprinkle evenly over the surface of the belly, and rub in gently. Turn over and repeat on other side with remaining mix. Place the entire belly and curing mix into a large zip top bag and place in refrigerator for 7 days. Each day the belly should be flipped onto the other side, and the contents (which will transform to a liquid) should be massaged around.
  2. After 7 days, remove from the bag and rinse under water. Pat dry with paper towels, and place back in fridge uncovered (on a rack over a pan to catch any drips) for 24 hours.
  3. Smoke the now cured belly using the apple or cherry wood for three hours at 200f, or until internal temperature reaches 150f.
  4. Store bacon in an airtight plastic bag or container in refrigerator for up to a week, cutting and cooking as required (if you don’t eat it all at once!).
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14 thoughts on “How to make and cure your own smoky bacon”

  1. Awesome recipe, easy to follow and it’s delicious. I use the fat cap I trim off of pork shoulder, when making sausages or pulled pork. Still plenty of fat left for both. Leave about 1/2-3/4″ of meat on it and it works great.

  2. I have used this recipe numerous times. YUMMY! I have given a bunch away and everyone says its the best bacon ever. I just added 2tbsps of brown sugar. thanks for the great recipe.

  3. I just started the cure I will let you know!! Beginner smoker here… I got a good deal on 3lb’s of Pork Belly!! wish me luck!!

  4. This might just be the best bacon recipe I have ever tried. I have been following this recipe for over a year. A dry cure is hand down better than any bacon I’ve ever bought in the grocery store.

  5. This sounds delicious and simple, but I have a question. We have just had our first pastured hog processed at the butcher and I did have the belly sliced. (First time with a “cut sheet”)

    Of course, when we pick it up, the bacon is frozen into 1lb sliced packets. I tried frying it using only salt, pepper, etc, but NOT tasty at all. My question – how do I cure, smoke, use this recipe since it is already sliced and in 1lb packages? Thanks so much

  6. I smoked this at 185 using supersmoke on my ironwood 885. Used maple wood which gave it just a hint of sweetness. Absolutely delicious!

  7. This recipe is amazing!!! I finished the cure and smoking process yesterday I used Apple wood, and my Mastercraft smoker. I have to be honest I was a little leery using sugar as I am not a big fan of sweet Bacon. but this is not to sweet at all. it just has light hints of sweetness. And I can not believe how amazing the Bacon is. So much better than any Bacon I’ve ever had. cooked some of course the first day. and this morning bacon and Eggs!! Thank you for sharing this recipe. if you have any doubts I suggest you put them aside and try this recipe!!! I would give it 10 stars. P.S I did have to order the Prague Powered #1 off of amazon! could not find it locally. Bon Appetit. I will be making this again soon!!

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