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5 from 1 vote

Home Cured Bacon

Order five pounds of fresh pork belly from your grocery store, the pork guy at your farmers market, or from a local butcher shop.
—Buy a box of 2-gallon zip-top bags if you don’t have a container big enough to hold the belly.


  • 2 oz coarse kosher salt (I like Morton or Diamond Crystal)
  • 2 tsp pink curing salt
  • 4 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 bay leaves crumbled
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ cup brown sugar or honey or maple syrup
  • 5 garlic cloves smashed with the flat side of a chef’s knife
  • 2 tbsp juniper berries, lightly crushed (optional)
  • 5-10 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
  • 5 lbs pork belly


  • Mix the salt and spices together in a bowl.
  • Put your belly in the zip-top bag or on a sheet tray or in a plastic container.  Rub the salt and spice mixture all over the belly.  Close the bag or cover it with plastic wrap, and stick it in the refrigerator for seven days (get your hands in there and give the spices another good rubbing around midway through).
  • After seven days, take it out of the fridge, rinse off all the seasonings under cold water and pat it dry.
  • Let it cool and refrigerate it until you’re ready to cook it.  But I know.  You won’t be able to wait.  So cut off a piece and cook it.  Taste it, savor it.  Congratulations!  It’s bacon!
    Notes:  If you don’t have five pounds of belly, either guesstimate salt based on the above or, if you have a scale, multiply the weight of the belly in ounces or grams by .025 and that’s how many ounces or grams of salt you should use.


If for any reason you find your bacon to be too salty to eat (it happens, especially if you measure your salt by sight, which I sometimes do), simply blanch the bacon and dump the water before sautéing it.
Pink curing salt means “sodium nitrite,” not Himalayan pink salt.  It’s what’s responsible for the bright color and piquant bacony flavor.  You don’t have to use it, but your bacon will turn brown/gray when cooked (you’re cooking it well done, after all), and will taste like pleasantly seasoned spare ribs, porky rather than bacony.
If you have a smoker or a grill, you can smoke the bacon (strictly speaking, it needs to have the pink salt in the cure if you’re going to smoke because, in rare instances, botulism bacteria from spores on the garlic could grow; pink salt eliminates this possibility; but I never worry about this, you’re going to cook it again in any case).
You can also, instead of roasting it or smoking, hang it to dry, in the manner of pancetta.
There are plenty of reasons not to cure bacon: fear should not be among them.
Bacon is life itself: embrace it!