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The Hirshon Pastrami-Style Peppered Bacon

The Hirshon Pastrami-Style Homemade Bacon


Peppered Bacon Image Used Under Creative Commons License From


Units Scale
  • 5 lbs. skinless, boneless pork belly – preferably from an heirloom breed
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. pink curing salt
  • 1/4 cup acacia honey
  • 1/4 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


  1. Spray/mist the belly all over with bourbon, coat the belly with the honey and pat the cure all over.
  2. 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.
  3. After curing, rinse with a gentle stream of water and dry.
  4. 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.
  5. Mist with bourbon again, VERY lightly brush on maple syrup and coat with mixed pastrami spices.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
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