How to brine & smoke pork belly

Written by a.j. andrews Google
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How to brine & smoke pork belly
Cured and smoked pork belly takes on flavours redolent of the hardwood used to smoke it. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The technique for curing and smoking pork belly entails a three-day brining process, which preserves the pork, and an eight-hour smoking session, for flavouring and further preservation. Curing and smoking pork belly at home typically produces a higher quality of bacon than that of commercially available products, and does not rely on the addition of nitrates and nitrites for preservation.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 4-gallon stainless steel pot
  • 1/2 gallon apple cider (optional)
  • 227gr. molasses (optional)
  • Plastic or glass storage container
  • Wire rack
  • Sheet pan
  • Fan
  • Smoking hanger
  • Hardwood chips for smoking, such as maple, apple or cherry

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Add 1 gallon of water, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup kosher salt to a 4 gallon stainless steel pot. Stir to incorporate. Options for the basic brine include substituting 1/2 gallon of apple cider for an equal amount of water and adding 227gr. of molasses.

  2. 2

    Bring the brine to a boil and stir. Remove the brine from heat, allow it cool and place in a plastic or glass storage container in the refrigerator. Allow the brine to cool to 4.44 degrees Celsius.

  3. 3

    Distribute 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper over a pork belly chilled to 4.44 degrees Celsius and press to incorporate. Place the pork belly in the brine and refrigerate for three days between 2.22 degrees Celsius and 3.33 degrees Celsius. Turn the pork over daily for even curing.

  4. 4

    Rinse the pork belly with water and dry with paper towels. Place the pork on a wire rack placed over a sheet pan. Air-dry the pork further with the aid of a household fan for 30 minutes on each side. Pellicle, a thin, sticky membrane composed of protein, will form on the pork's surface when adequately dried.

  5. 5

    Hang the pork belly on a smoking hanger and cold-smoke it at 26.7 degrees Celsius in an outdoor smoker. Types of wood commonly used to smoke pork include maple, hickory, apple, cherry and mesquite.

  6. 6

    Smoke the pork for approximately eight hours or until its surface reaches a golden-brown colour.

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