Bacon - Dry-Rub Cure & Cold Smoke Method


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12 lb - 7.5 oz
11 lb - 9.1 oz lb pork bellies. I buy them with the skin already removed:


You will need kosher salt, sugar and cure #1 A.K.A. prague powder, instacure or pink salt.
Its easiest to work in grams and I just found the 2nd of the two calculators below and its much simpler and cleaner than the first one plus it has a conversion calculator as well.

Dry Cure Bacon Calculator

Better Dry Cure Bacon Calculator

I have found that for me 2.5% salt and 1.5% sugar is about perfect.
I also stay between 156-160 PPM Sodium Nitrite (the USDA says it must be between 120 ppm & 200 ppm for dry cure skin off bacon).




Combine the ingredients and mix well. A large canning jar with tight fitting lid works well. Shake the ingredients until the pink color of the Cure 1 is evenly distributed throughout the cure mix.

Measured and mixed cures, I marked it with a sharpie to divide the cure into thirds and marked the slab weight so I could keep them with the proper slabs:

Rub about 1/3 of the mix evenly/predominantly on the meat side(s) of the bellies.


Loosely wrap in plastic wrap and lay flat in a carboy tray or other plastic tray with the meat side up and refrigerate at 38º to 40º:

Wait 3 - 4 days and repeat applying the 2nd 1/3 of the cure to the meat side only. Do not dry the bacon at this point just drain any liquid trapped in the plastic wrap and on the bottom of the lug.
Let the curing bacon sit another 3 - 4 more days and repeat adding the balance of the cure mix to the meat side. You may also add any extra salt, sugar or spices at this stage. 3-4 days later rinse the bacon with fresh water and pat dry with a clean towel.

At this point you may want to do a taste test for salt by frying a small piece. If too salty, soak in fresh water for an hour and repeat taste test. You can repeat the process until the salt in the bacon is where you want it but this recipe and procedure seldom produces bacon most would consider too salty. I don't bother to do the fry test anymore at these percentages.

Now you just need to determine when you have access and time to do your cold smoking. I have left the bacon in the refrigerator mellowing out for up to 3 additional days after rinsing, but the bacon is now fully cured and ready for the smoker.

Make sure the bacon is dry by hanging in front of a fan or in the smoker with a low heat but no smoke. There are Bacon Hangers commercially available or you can just put them on the racks but I find I get a more evenly smpked product and no marks by hanging the slabs.

You want to develop a pellicle that will hold the smoke on the bacon. The bacon should be dry but slightly tacky to the touch when properly dried.

After pellicle was formed, I brushed one with maple syrup and the other was coated with dark muscovado sugar:

Ready for cold smoking: (2 pork loins for Canadian bacon on the right)

Cold Smoking: I have gone as little as 8 hours and as long as 36 hours with cold smoking. I usually burn 3 or 4 A-MAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKERS (AMNPS) full of pellets (I like a blend of Hickory & Apple), I suggest you smoke the bacon until you get the color you like & the smokiness you are after. I like a nice mahogany color and more smoke than what you find in commercial bacon's.
Remember to try keep your smoker below 100 degrees. Fat starts to render out somewhere around that temperature. I have had my chamber temps get as high as 135º and still had delicious bacon. Ideally I like to keep my chamber temperature between 35º and 80º but its not always possible if its real hot out unless you add trays of ice above your smoke source.

It was 0º the morning I put this these in the smoker, I lit two AMNPS just to keep my chamber temp above freezing.

3 AMNPS and 20 hours later:

Let the newly smoked bacon rest in the fridge for several days to mellow and let the smoke distribute itself evenly and the flavors develop. Then slice and package your bacon:







It can be kept in the fridge for several weeks in this stage or frozen.

A few slices didn't make the vacuum sealer :)



Great, informative post! Easy to follow.

Those calculator links will be a great tool for anyone who's dry curing.
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The best and most comprehensive bacon how-to post I've seen! Thank you for taking the time to post this for us!!

Big Poppa

I just got three pork bellies and have been threatening to make bacon forever...In in now....We are putting this in hall of fame but Im seriously thinking of a makin bacon sticky and everyone can post their favorite recipes and techniques


New member
I just got three pork bellies and have been threatening to make bacon forever...In in now....We are putting this in hall of fame but Im seriously thinking of a makin bacon sticky and everyone can post their favorite recipes and techniques

That's an excellent idea BP! Great post Tundra!


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I've been threatening to do the same thing.... Looks like now is a good reason :) But I am thinking getting some of the Jallaulah or Money into the smoke stage will be happening... or need to look at impact to the cure, if I lessen salt and add rub for additonal flavor profile.


New member
If you wait till the 3rd stage of the cure it shouldn't hurt anything, just pick the rub with a lower salt content of the two.
If you want to add allot of rub drop the cures salt content down by 1/2 of a percent to like 2%.


New member
Getting ready to try this one.

I have a question for you about the maple syrup brush down. How much did you use for the bacon? I also have a question about using things like Bourbon that are more liquid. I want to do a bourbon bacon possibly with a bit of molasses . I was thinking that it would be best to do that AFTER the last cure applications and 3-4 day wait, and then then add (maybe in a ziplock) and hold for another 3-4 days...


Also your statement about 3-4 Amazing Tube Smokers being used. Am I to understand that you run one smoker until its finished, and then refill and run again until empty for a total of 3 or 4 cycles? The other way to interpret is that you run 3 or 4 tube smokers all at the same time, which doesn't make much sense to me.

Thanks for the instructions! And by the way, that is a killer meat slicer and vac sealer you've got.



New member
Bacon is cured and smoked. I have a question about the final part of this process, which says to store in the refrigerator for a few days before slicing to mellow. Is it better to enclose in a plastic bag during this phase? I think my bacon got a little cooked. Smoker temps rose about 40-45 degrees above ambient temp with two amazin smoker tubes running. Ambient temps were in fifties, dipping below fifty overnight. Highest temp I saw on my grill probe just above where bacon was hanging read 104. Mostly in high 80-90s. That's the best I can do in chilly Florida weather.



Dick, unfortunately FrozenTundra hasn't been on for almost two years.

It's important to understand that there are two distinct and different methods describe in this thread:

1) Dry-Rub Cure method (this is NOT dry-curing; true dry (or air) curing involves hanging the bacon/ham in the air).

2) Cold Smoke method (Smoking at temps generally below 100° F)

These two methods are independent of each other and do NOT have to be used together.

You can use a dry-rub cure, then hot-smoke. Or... Brine Cure and then cold smoke.

Since your bacon was cured, the temps you got were fine. Even if your bacon got to 104° it's not cooked. After cold-smoking for a few hours, I prefer to hot-smoke and take my bacon to 150° (it sets the color better) and don't have any issues.

After smoking, I always store my bacon for a minimum of 48 hrs to allow the smoke to permeate throughout the bacon before slicing. You can wrap it, if you like, or just put it in a lidded container. I have done both and the results are the same either way.

Hope this helps.
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Readying for the next round of Bacon!

I have been ordering meat for the last few months, nearly exclusively from a restaurant supplier. Quality is better, especially the beef to steaks. Also a reliable source for bellies! I have two bellies (totalling 36 pounds! More than I thought I'd end up with!) from a specialty pork farm, Vande Rosse. If its anything like their pork chops, this should be great bacon.

I have a cheap slicer from amazon and it struggles to do the long slices without endangering myself. I cut each belly into 6 pieces so that each would easily fit into a 1 gallon zip lock bag for the dry-cure process. I'm going to do the standard dry-cure as described in this post (even if its technically not true dry curing as TentHunter points out) the last batch turned out GREAT! I decided that I'm going to use some Jack Daniels Honey Whisky that a friend left at my place to spike the bacon with. I thought it had a GREAT flavor in the finished bacon.

I'll try to post a few photos. Today is day one...

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