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This Old Chef: Blog & Recipes

I. Made. Smoky. Bacon.

Posted on February 25, 2018 with 0 comments


OK, I’ll admit my obsession is not unique.

LOTS of people are addicted to bacon...

Meaty, salty, fatty, smoky... makes complete sense, right?

A strange confluence drove me to take my obsession one step further.  Years ago, during one of the periodic clean-out/give-away events at the magazine, there was an indoor smoker.  Boy, did I want it.

But in an uncharacteristically generous moment I didn’t just grab it.  Not long after, there was a second round of giveaways... and it was still there.  And still, I walked past it.

But third's the charm...

In the intervening years, I’ve smoked salt, paprika, cheese, fish, and chicken.  And with great success, if I do say so myself.  And I do.

Then, this Christmas, my friend Deb sent me a kit that included curing salt and a heavy plastic bag in which to cure pork belly.


A guest chef in the test kitchen left behind a 4-pound pork belly, which was soon placed in my greedy hands by my adored colleagues.

I rushed home... peeled off the skin... rubbed in the cure... bagged the belly... and put it in the fridge... turned it once a day for 7 days...

And on the 7th day, I did not rest.  I rinsed, dried, and let it sit in the fridge uncovered for 4 hours, then smoked it in my indoor smoker with hickory chips.  And this morning, I froze it for about half an hour.  So I could slice it easily...

Sliced it...

And, Dear Reader, I must now confess:  I have forever ruined store-bought bacon for myself.

This was a Bacon Fever Dream!  I wanted to slice the rest and eat all 4 pounds.

Don’t worry, I didn’t.

But once I'd tasted it, seriously, there was no going back.  Salt.  Campfire.  Actual pork flavor.

As they say... died and gone to heaven?