Mix the salt, sugar and nitrite of choice (pink salt OR celery powder – NOT BOTH) (This keeps perfectly in an air-tight container for months, so make extra)
Coat (sprinkle) the pork belly on all sides (Top, bottom, and sides) with your cure (for a 6-8 lb pork belly you probably only need about 5 tablespoons of cure total for the coating)
Place on a rack, above a non-reactive dish and place uncovered in a refrigerator for 5-7 days.
Drain off any accumulated liquid. Don’t let the belly sit in the liquid, the whole idea is that the belly will dry out – this drying inhibits bacterial growth.
Once no more liquid is being released – at LEAST 5-7 days – rinse off any cure left on the surface (You can go longer but it won’t matter)
Place on a clean rack and dry in fridge for at least 6 hours up to 24 on an open rack – OR go straight to the smoker.
At this point if you don’t like smoked bacon you’re done! You can slice, cook and eat the bacon and it is delicious.
Smoke COLD pork belly (helps smoke adhere) at 185˚F for 6 hours or until internal temp is 152°F. (You can bump up the temperature, it’s ok to go to 200˚ F or 225˚F, if needed)
My probe goal is set for 150˚F.
I smoke with apple wood but you can use hickory as well.
Dry in fridge for at least 6 hours up to 24 on an open rack.
Smoke COLD pork belly (helps smoke adhere) until internal temp is 152°F.
Remove and let rest and chill uncovered in fridge before slicing on meat slicer. If you can’t wait, hand slice and fry according to your taste.