Home-Cured Maple-Bourbon Bacon

March 5, 2020  •  Meat & Poultry, Technique

I love each year when I get a half hog from a local Colorado farmer. I save the shoulder roasts for making my Pork Green Chile Posole, always get the hams fresh instead of cured, and this year asked for the loin in two big bone-in roasts which I’ll save for the holidays. Every year I decide to do something different with the belly – I’ve left it whole and used it in recipes like Asian Braised Pork Belly with Pickled Radishes and I’ve made Pancetta, but this year I’m making a home cured bacon that I know is going to be fantastic.My recipe is adapted from Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’s Charcuterie, made my own as usual. It’s tough to slice this bacon thinly, so I went with thick slices. The texture is more like Canadian bacon to me, but the flavor is great. If it’s too salty for you (which I found to be the case), Ruhlman suggests blanching the bacon in boiling water before frying it which I intend to do next time.

Home-Cured Maple-Bourbon Bacon
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 5 pounds after curing
  • 6 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seed
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seed
  • 12 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pink curing salt
  • 1½ cups maple syrup (I used a bourbon flavored maple syrup)
  • ½ cup bourbon (I actually used Jack Daniels whiskey)
  • 12 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tablespoons dry thyme
  • 1 side of pork belly, cut into 3 pieces, rind removed (about 6-8 pounds)
  1. Combine the peppercorns, fennel and coriander in a spice grinder and pules to roughly grind the spices. Pour into a bowl and add the salts, syrup, bourbon, garlic, and thyme. Stir to combine well.
  2. Place the pieces of pork belly into large plastic bags and divide the rub evenly between the 3 bags. Press the rub onto all sides of the belly, coating evenly, then press the air out of the bags and lay them on a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate for a week, turning the bags each day.
  3. After a week, wash the cure off the meat, taking care to rinse very thoroughly. Pat dry with paper towels then place on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet and return it to the refrigerator to air dry for 24 hours.
  4. Roast the pork belly in a 225 degree oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees, about 90 minutes. Remove from the oven and chill completely before slicing. Wrap bacon well and freeze in 1-2 pound packages until needed. Use within 3 months.

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