Simple Oven-Smoked Bacon

On my foodie bucket list is making Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon. I did make it last winter and it was amazingly tender and flavorful. It lived up to all my expectations and more. I can't wait to make it again and blog about it. I wanted to give myself an extra challenge by making the bacon required by the boeuf bourguignon recipe. I know people will think I'm crazy. However, learning the art of charcuterie is also on my foodie bucket list. I usually try to make recipes a few times before I blog about them. I'm ready to share my homemade version of pork belly bacon. There is so much more that I need to learn about making bacon, but I was thrilled to find out that I do not have to have a smoker to make my own bacon. I owe a lot to these two posts for my success "Ventreche, French Bacon" and "Oven Smoked Bacon Recipe." I call this recipe "Simple" because I didn't think it would be possible to make bacon without a smoker.

Simple Oven-Smoked Bacon
2 - 4 lbs pork belly (I used a 2 lb cut and I would go bigger but I haven't found a bigger cut)
3 oz of sea salt (I used Real Salt's Kosher Salt)
1 tin of trial size Weber wood chips (Someday I will probably have a wood preference but in my experimental phase this worked perfect for me)

1. Day 1 - Sprinkle both sides of the pork belly liberally with salt, place in a plastic bag with zipper seal, and keep in the refrigerator.

2. Day 2 - Flip the belly to the other side.

3. Day 3 - Flip the belly to the other side.

4. Day 3 - Several hours after the last flip, rinse the pork belly, pat dry, and leave on a rack at room temperature for 1 hour.

5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Wet the wood chips and put them back in the tin. Turn on your hood fan and place the wood chip tin on medium high burner until it starts smoking.

6. Carefully remove wood chip tin from heat. Set aside. I find it's best to have a cookie sheet already prepared with to large strips of tin foil. Big enough to create a tent with the wood chips and pork belly.
Place the wood chips on the foiled lined sheet pan, add the pork belly (with rack) on top of the chips. Crimp the foil creating a tent.

7. Place the belly in the oven 1 1/2 to 4 hours depending on the size of the pork belly until it reaches 150 degrees. (NOTE: the two pound belly was done in 1 1/2 hours)

8. Cool to room temperature, wrap in plastic and cool in refrigerator overnight before slicing.

9. The good news is that you can cut super thick slices and make big bacon bits (lardons).


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