Cold-Smoked Bacon

Try a new method when smoking bacon, cold-smoking will provide you with different flavors depending on the wood used.

| August 2018

  • bacon
    Just hang the bacon up if you’re going to eat it in a matter of days.
    Photo by Nick Pope
  • curing-smoking-meats
    “Curing and Smoking Made at Home” is filled with tips and tricks for curing and smoking your own homemade meats.
    Courtesy of Firefly Books

  • bacon
  • curing-smoking-meats

In Curing and Smoking Made at Home (Firefly Books, 2012) by Dick and James Strawbridge, readers will learn new ways to smoke their own meat at home. There are a variety of meats and ways to process each variety. Find this excerpt in chapter 7, “Cold-Smoking.”

Once you’ve learned how to make your own bacon, it’s a natural progression to want to smoke it. Bacon can be made from lots of different cuts of pork, and the way the meat is cured and smoked can create subtle differences in flavor. Lean Canadian (back) bacon, which comes from the cured loin, is one of the most popular types of bacon, and side bacon (regular bacon made pork belly) is an economic option, but it is also worth considering the subtlety of collar bacon and remembering that side bacon has lots of culinary uses. Just as the cuts and cures are infinitely variable, so too are the possible ways of smoking it. Different woods will make the bacon taste different, and the smoking time will also have a huge effect on the finished product.

Choosing a Cut

The most popular cut of pork for bacon used to be the boned and rolled collar joint that comes from the shoulder area just behind the head of the pig.  It used to be a family favorite. The “prime collar” weighs about 2.5 kg (5-1/2 pounds) and the smaller “end collar” weighs about 1 kg (2 pounds). There is also the “fore hock,” the front leg of the pig, which can be divided into the “prime hock,” which is a bit on the fatty side but adds amazing flavor to soups and stews of dried peas and lentils, and the “hock knuckle,” the meat of which is excellent in stews and casseroles.

If you want to be a bit adventurous, ask your butcher for a boned piece of pork that has the loin and the belly in one. It takes moments to prepare, and you then have the ability to taste both smoked Canadian bacon and smoked regular side bacon at the end of the process.

If you want to start with something simpler, try a piece of belly for regular side bacon or loin if you want to make Canadian bacon.

Curing the Meat

First you need to cure your bacon. Your decision is whether to dry-cure or to brine. Both methods will work, but if you are attempting this for the first time, a simple dry cure using a plastic container with a couple of drainage holes in the bottom and a lid is the easiest method. Keep the cure simple, as the flavor should really come from the smoke.

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