Bacon is an absolute must-have for all meat lovers and Applewood Smoked Bacon is definitely our favorite way to have it. The perfect combination of sweet aroma with fun ingredients and savory adds an incredible flavor to any dish you like. After you make homemade bacon from scratch, you’ll never go back to store-bought again!
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This type of applewood smoked bacon recipe is made by curing pork belly in a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices, then smoking it over apple wood chips or pellets.
The result is bacon that is packed with flavor and perfect for adding a delicious smokey twist to your favorite dishes.
Applewood Smoked Bacon has such an incredible smokey and sweet flavor that complements a huge variety of dishes.
Whether it’s eaten in strips with eggs for breakfast or placed delicately on top of a Smoked Burger, this smoked bacon complements just about any dish.
After preparing your bacon this way, you’ll never buy store-bought again again. Follow this quick and easy recipe at your next brunch or cookout to WOW all your guests.
How To Make Applewood Smoked Bacon
Mix the Curing Ingredients
In this step, you will mix together the ingredients for the cure. In a medium bowl combine the following ingredients to create the cure: salt, black pepper, brown sugar, Prague Powder #1 (curing salt or sodium nitrate), maple syrup or dark maple syrup brine, and red pepper flakes.
The cure is used to flavor the pork belly, preserve it, and prevent any harmful bacteria from growing during the curing process.
Cure the Pork Belly
Once you’ve mixed the cure, it’s time to apply it to the pork belly even rub all the remaining curing mix . Place the skinless pork belly in a large ziplock bag and rub the cure all over the meat, making sure to cover every inch of it.
Seal the bag, remove as much air as possible, and refrigerate the pork belly for 6 days. It’s important to flip and massage the pork belly every day to make sure the cure is evenly distributed.
Rinse and Pat Dry
After 6 days of curing, remove the pork belly from the bag, rinse it under cold water to remove the cured film, and pat it dry with paper towels. Rinse it very well to remove any excess salt so that you don’t end up with overly-salty bacon slices.
Form the Pellicle
Next, you’ll season the pork belly with fresh cracked black pepper and place it back in the refrigerator on a wire rack above a shallow baking dish, uncovered, for 12-24 hours to form a pellicle.
A pellicle is a thin, tacky layer that will help the smoke adhere to the meat. This step is important because it helps the smoke flavor penetrate deeper into the smoking meats and results in a better smoky taste.
Preheat the Smoker and Fill the Hopper
Preheat the smoker to 165°F and fill the hopper with applewood pellets. The applewood pellets will provide a unique, smoky flavor to the bacon and it’s where the applewood smoked bacon gets its name!
Smoke the Pork Belly
Once the smoker is preheated and ready, place the pork belly directly on the smoker grate and smoke it until the internal temperature reaches 155°F.
This should take around 6 hours. Make sure to check the internal temperature regularly to ensure that you don’t overcook it on this step!
Chill and Slice
Once the pork belly reaches 155°F, remove it from the smoker and let it chill in the refrigerator before slicing. Chilling the bacon will make it easier to slice and will also help the flavors deepen and develop.
Slice the Pork Belly
Slicing the pork belly is the final step before cooking. Slice the pork belly as thick or thin as you’d like your bacon strips.
Fry the Bacon
When you’re ready, fry the applewood-smoked bacon in a cast iron skillet until it’s crispy and delicious. The cast iron skillet will give the bacon a crispy exterior and will also help it cook evenly.
Serve the bacon with your favorite breakfast items or use it as a topping for a salad, burger, or sandwich.
Our favorite way to enjoy homemade smoked bacon is on top of a cheeseburger, chopped up in a Ceasar salad, or on top of mac and cheese. The options for using this bacon recipe are truly endless so use your creativity!
Tips For Making Applewood Smoked Bacon
Cooking homemade applewood smoked bacon can be a bit intimidating for a beginner, but with a few tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way to becoming a backyard BBQ hero! Here are a few important things to keep in mind when making your own bacon:
Use the Right Cut of Pork Belly
When it comes to making bacon, you want to start with a high-quality piece of pork belly. Look for one that is evenly thick and has a good amount of fat.
This will ensure that your bacon has the perfect texture and flavor. Also, you can try to purchase a pork belly that has the skin removed already. Otherwise, you will have to remove it yourself.
Don’t Rush the Curing Process
Curing the pork belly is a crucial step in the process of making bacon. Make sure to give it enough time in the cure (at least 6 days) so that it can absorb all of the flavors and properly develop its texture.
Use Applewood Pellets
Applewood has a mild and slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with the bacon, giving it a delicious smoky taste.
Make sure to use applewood pellets for the best results. If you don’t have applewood chips handy, you can try maple or hickory.
Be Patient with the Cooking Time
Making homemade bacon takes time, but trust us, it’s worth it. Be patient and don’t rush the process. After you’ve cured your pork belly it should take around 6 hours to reach an internal temperature of 155°F. Keep an eye on the temperature using a meat thermometer because you don’t want to overcook it at this step!
Best Beer To Pair With Smoked Bacon
When it comes to enjoying your delicious homemade applewood smoked bacon, it’s all about the perfect pairing. A great beer can bring out the smoky and savory flavors in the bacon and enhance the overall dining experience.
Below, we’ll explore the top 3 types of beer that are known to complement the flavors of smoked bacon.
A nutty, caramel flavor with a slightly sweet finish, the Brown Ale’s undertones of toasty malt and nuttiness complement the smoky and salty flavors of the bacon.
India Pale Ale (IPA)
With their bold and hoppy flavors, IPAs are a great choice to cut through the richness of the bacon and bring a refreshing balance to the taste.
Porters have a rich and roasty flavor, making them a great match for the smoky flavor of the bacon. The notes of coffee and chocolate in a Porter also help to enhance the bacon’s natural sweetness, making for a delicious combination.
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Applewood Smoked Bacon Recipe
- BBQ Grill Accessories (Tongs)
- Applewood pellets (applewood chips)
- Medium-large bowl
- Cast iron skillet for frying
- 5 lb Pork belly (skinless)
- 1 tbsp Cracked black pepper
- 1 ¼ tbsp Prague Powder #1 (curing salt/sodium nitrite)
- 4 tbsp Kosher salt
- 3 tbsp Cracked black pepper
- 5 tbsp Brown sugar
- 3 tbsp Maple syrup
- 1 ½ tbsp Crushed red pepper flakes
- Mix together curing ingredients (salt, black pepper, brown sugar, curing salt, maple syrup, red pepper flakes) and rub all over skinless pork belly.
- Coat the pork belly with the curing paste and place it in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator for 6 days, flipping daily.
- After 6 days, remove the pork belly from the bag, rinse it under cold water to remove the cure, and pat it dry with paper towels.
- Season with fresh cracked black pepper and place it back in the refrigerator on a wire rack above a baking sheet, uncovered, for 12-24 hours to form a pellicle.
- Preheat the smoker to 165°F and fill the hopper with applewood pellets.
- Smoke pork belly until internal temperature reaches 155°F (around 6 hours).
- Chill smoked pork belly in the refrigerator before slicing it to desired thickness.
- Fry slices in a cast iron skillet until crispy. Serve and enjoy!
Smoked Bacon FAQs
Applewood smoked bacon has a natural wood-smoked scent with a perfectly balanced sweet yet smokey flavor.
Prague Powder #1, also known as Tinted Cure or Pink Curing Salt, is a curing salt that contains sodium nitrite and is used in this recipe to preserve the pork belly and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria during the curing process. It is a key ingredient in this recipe to ensure food safety.
While you can use any type of wood pellets, applewood is recommended for its mild and sweet flavor that pairs well with bacon. Other popular options include maple, hickory, mesquite, and cherry.
It typically takes around 6 hours to smoke the bacon on a pellet grill, but the exact time will depend on the thickness of the pork belly and the temperature of the grill. You want to smoke the bacon until it reaches an internal temperature of 155°F before slicing and frying on the cast iron skillet.
Yes, you can use any type of smoker or grill that you have available, but a pellet grill is recommended for its ease of use and consistent temperature control.
A pellicle is a thin, tacky layer that forms on the surface of the meat after being refrigerated uncovered or “air dried”. It helps the smoke adhere to the meat and results in better smoke flavor and color.
Yes, you can use a different type of cure, but it is important to use a cure that contains sodium nitrite to ensure food safety.
Yes, you can use different seasonings in the cure mixture, such as garlic powder or thyme. Experiment with different flavor combinations to create your own unique applewood-smoked bacon.
You can slice the bacon as thick or thin as you prefer. If you like crispy bacon, slice it thinner, and if you like chewy bacon, slice it thicker.