What could be better than making your own bacon at home?
Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site
To construct a home made bacon smoker you'll need the following items:
To make the bacon you'll need raw pork bellies and the ingredients for the cure. (The recipe is listed below.) You'll also need some aromatic hardwood chips or shavings, like maple or hickory.
How it Works
The smoker is made up of two main parts: the hot smoke box and the cold smoke box. The hot smoke box contains an electric hot plate that heats up a skillet. The wood shavings are placed in the skillet and this is what generates the smoke. The smoke travels through the duct into the cold smoke box. The small electric fan is used to help draw the smoke through the duct and into the cold smoke box. The cured meat is hung inside the cold smoke box.
Constructing the Hot Smoke Box
The hot smoke box must be large enough to accommodate the hot plate and allow for enough clearance between the top of the hot plate and the top of the box. Start by cutting a four-inch hole in one side of the box. One end of the flexible duct will be inserted into this hole.
For fire safety reasons, the inside of the hot smoke box should be lined with aluminum foil.
Constructing the Cold Smoke Box
The beauty of using a wardrobe box is that it's very sturdy and comes with a metal bar that spans the top of the box. This is perfect for supporting the weight of the pork bellies.
To install the fan in the cold smoke box, measure the size of the fan housing and cut a hole to match that in the side of the box. Insert the fan so that the direction of air flow goes from outside the box to inside the box.
Secure the fan on the inside of the box using duct tape as shown in the photo below.
One end of the flexible duct should be attached the hot smoke box. The other end of the flexible duct is attached the the outside of the fan housing of the cold smoke box. The duct can be secured to the fan housing with duct tape. With this connection, the fan will draw the smoke from the hot smoke box, through the duct, and into the cold smoke box.
Drying the Cured Pork Bellies
Before the meat can be placed in the smoker it must be dried for about 30 minutes on each side.
Firing Up The Smoker
Once the smoker is assembled, place the tin can or skillet on the hot plate, place some wood shaving into the skillet, and turn on the hot plate. The shavings need to be replaced periodically as they get used up.
The cured meat can be hung from the support bar using skewers and coat hangers.
Once the meat is in, close up the cold smoke box. While the smoker is operating it's important that the temperature in the cold smoke box stays below 75 or 80 degrees F. A vent on the cold smoke box can be used to help regulate the temperature.
The meat should be smoked for six hours. After that time it's ready to eat!
(Placing the finished bacon in the freezer for a while will make it a lot easier to cut.)
How To Make The Cure
2 cups sugar
This recipe is good for 12 - 15 lbs. of pork belly. We cut ours into three equal pieces (and make sure to remove the skin). Place each piece into a zip top bag and add enough brine to cover completely. (Bags may leak so put them in something leak proof.)
Store in the refrigerator for three days before smoking.