Peppered Bacon Image Used Under Creative Commons License From jesspryles.com
- 5 lbs. skinless, boneless pork belly – preferably from an heirloom breed
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 2 tsp. pink curing salt
- ¼ cup acacia honey
- ¼ cup Bourbon-smoked vanilla sugar
- 1 tbsp. crushed bay leaf
- 2 tbsp. Urfa Bieber pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp. smoked sweet paprika
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds, wrapped in a paper towel and rolled over a few times with a rolling pin to lightly crush the seeds
- Bourbon in a clean spray bottle
- For pastrami seasoning:
- 6 tbsp. black peppercorns
- 3 tbsp. white peppercorns
- 4 tbsp. coriander seeds whole
- 2 tbsp. nigella seeds
- 1 tbsp. ajwain seeds
- maple syrup to barely coat the bacon
- Spray/mist the belly all over with bourbon, coat the belly with the honey and pat the cure all over.
- Close the bag and refrigerate 7 to 10 days, flipping once a day, and with a weight on top until the pork belly feels firm. It should take 7 days for a thin belly that is about 1 ½ inches thick, longer for a belly that’s 2 to 3 inches thick.
- After curing, rinse with a gentle stream of water and dry.
- Gather the pastrami seasoning spices and lightly roast them separately in a dry hot skillet until fragrant. Grind the ajwain and nigella until fine, the others grind fairly coarse.
- Mist with bourbon again, VERY lightly brush on maple syrup and coat with mixed pastrami spices.
- Let it sit over night in fridge on wire rack then smoke at 250F for about 3 hours or until internal temp is 135F. I like to use Peach wood smoking chunks to give it a sweet, smoky taste.
- After you smoke the bacon, wrap it up and cool it in the fridge until the next day – then slice and eat. Cook it in a cast-iron skillet over low heat and enjoy!