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Homemade Maple-Espresso Bacon

Homemade Maple-Espresso Bacon

Ingredients

5 to 6 pounds skinless pork belly (make sure the pork belly is trimmed to an even thickness and doesn't taper at the ends)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons insta cure salt # 1, also known as prague powder #1 or curing salt #1
1-1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup water

Cooking Instructions

Rinse and pat the pork belly dry. Trim any edges so the belly forms a neat rectangle.

In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, espresso powder, curing salt, pepper, and enough water to make slurry. Using your hands, slather the mixture all over the pork belly, turning to coat all sides. Slip the meat into a large resealable plastic bag and seal it. Fit the belly, in its bag, into a baking dish and refrigerate. Refrigerate for 7 days, making sure to turn the bag and massage the liquid that accumulates in the bag into the pork belly once a day.

After 7 days, remove the pork belly from the bag, rinse it thoroughly with cool water, and pat it lightly dry. Set up your smoker for hot smoking.

Smoke the meat, making sure to keep the temperature at 200 F, until the internal temperature of the bacon registers 150 F, roughly 3 to 4-1/2 hours, give or take some time depending on the size of your pork belly and the exact temperature of your smoker. Remove the bacon from the smoker and let it rest until it's cool enough to handle.

Cut the bacon to suit your dishes and appetite. Tightly seal the rest with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze it for up to 2 months.

Makes about 5 pounds of bacon.

Recipe used with permission. Homemade Maple-Espresso Bacon recipe © 2014 David Leite, Leite's Culinaria [http://leitesculinaria.com/]. All rights reserved.

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