Homemade Applewood Smoked Bacon

Slicing the homemade applewood smoked bacon.

Have you ever wondered How to Cure Pork Belly? Or How To Smoke Bacon? And what is Pink Salt, anyway? Get the answers and tips on making your own Homemade Applewood Smoked Bacon with this simple recipe.

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pork belly

Any excuse for homemade applewood smoked bacon

Scott is my grill-master.  I give him due credit for just about everything prepared on the Weber.  This bacon is no exception.  In fact, it was his idea.  He’s made his own bacon before and was jonesing for some thick, hand-cut slices of cured and smoked pork belly.  I admit, I liked his thinking, but the only way I was going to give-up valuable refrigerator space for a week, was if I got to share the process with you.

He agreed to my terms and a few days later I came back from Costco with a 10-pound slab of pork belly.  OK – it was a little more than we needed, so we trimmed it to about 7 pounds and saved the rest for another recipe…   Making your own bacon might seem like a daunting prospect — and unnecessary when you can get some pretty good bacon at your local market, but there is really nothing that compares to from-scratch, applewood smoked bacon.  Nothing.

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Prague powder or curing salt

What Is Pink Salt or Prague Powder?

  • Prague powder is a curing mixture of 93.75% table salt and 6.25% sodium nitrate.
  • Salt acts as a preservative and through the process of osmosis, it not only pulls the water out of the cells of the meat it also pulls out any bacteria and kills it.
  • Sodium nitrate prevents the growth of bacteria, so this double whammy will keep this traditional St. Patrick’s Day treat, a safe meal to enjoy.
  • Prague powder {affiliate link} is also known as curing salt, pink salt, tinted curing mixture, TCM or tint cure.
  • The pink coloring is added so that it won’t be confused with table salt, but that color is also responsible for giving our corned beef it’s distinctive hue.
curing bacon

How To Cure Pork Belly:

  1. Mix the ingredients for the cure.
  2. Massage it into the pork belly until it’s completely coated.
  3. Put the belly into a large zip-top storage bag, pressing out as much air as possible.
  4. Seal the bag.
  5. Refrigerate for a week, flipping it once every day.
bacon in a plastic bag to cure
bacon after 1 week of curing

After hanging out for a week in the fridge, rinse the pork belly with fresh water to remove all the cure and use paper towels to dry it completely.   Set a rack over a sheet pan and place the pork belly on the rack, uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to 24.  Then get ready to smoke!

smoking bacon

This is where Scott really took charge…  He’s got a pretty good handle on how to keep the smoker going low and slow and that’s key.

checking temperature

How To Smoke Bacon:

Set up your charcoal grill or smoker.

  1. Light the charcoal in a chimney starter.
  2. Place a drip pan in the center of the grill and divide the hot coals on either side of it.
  3. Place drained wood chips on each mound of coals.
  4. Place the grilling rack over the coals and drip pan.
  5. Place pork belly on the rack over the drip pan.
  6. Cover the grill.
  7. Keep the temperature of the grill between 160°-180° and no more than 200°.
  8. You may need to add a few more coals after about an hour to maintain temperature.
  9. Cook the pork belly to an internal temperature of 150°. (About 3 hours total).
  10. Let the bacon cool, then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it until ready to use.
a smoked pork belly for bacon.

Scott tended to this bacon for the better part of 3 hours –  and it was a dark mahogany when he finally pulled it from the smoker.  But it was beautiful.  And it smelled so good.  For that matter, Scott smelled like bacon too — which isn’t a bad thing.  We wrapped it up for slicing the following morning.

slicing the smoked bacon.

To slice the bacon, you either need your own industrial Hobart slicer – or a long, thin, sharp knife.  We cut enough to feed our brunch guests and cooked it my favorite way – in the oven, to avoid the spurts, spatters and the perils of hot grease.

frying applewood bacon on a rack in the oven.

One thing you’ll notice, is how flat the strips are — that’s due to the smoking temperature — the bacon is actually completely cooked when you pull it from the smoker, therefore, it doesn’t get that crinkly look you’re used to from supermarket bacon which is cold-smoked and not fully cooked.

fried applewood smoked bacon on paper towels.

In any case, this bacon is outrageously good!  It’s smoky and meaty and exactly what you want next to your eggs in the morning – or on your BLT!  So clear out some space in the fridge and hop to it!  YOU WANT THIS!

If you want to dive deeper into curing, smoking and salting meats, I recommend Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn (affiliate link) They break it down the “how” and the “why” behind all the mysteries of of meat.

More homemade smoked favorites: 

bacon on a board

What to serve with applewood smoked bacon:

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4.08 from 27 votes

Homemade Bacon

Ever Cured and Smoked your own BACON? Get the easy step-by-step instructions and wow your family and friends! You’re on your way to porky nirvana!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword bacon, pork belly, smoking
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 7 hours
Servings 30


  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons curing salt Prague powder or Insta Cure
  • 5-7 pounds pork belly

Special equipment

  • 2 gallon zip top storage or freezer bag


  • In a medium bowl combine the brown sugar, kosher salt, honey, cayenne, paprika, cumin, and curing salt, stirring until well mixed.
  • Rinse the pork belly with cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Place the belly in the plastic bag and add half of the curing mixture to the top of the belly. Use your hands to rub it into the flesh, evenly coating. Flip over and rub the remaining curing mix onto the other side of the pork belly. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Place the pork into a shallow baking dish, to catch any leaks and refrigerate. Flip the belly once a day for the next 7-10 days.
  • Remove the pork belly from the cure and thoroughly rinse the pork. Use several paper towels to COMPLETELY dry the pork belly on all sides. Place a rack over a baking sheet and rest the pork belly on the rack. Refrigerate uncovered for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.
  • Now at this point, the bacon has cured. It can be sliced and cooked and will be absolutely delicious, but it won’t have that smoky flavor that we all associate with bacon. To achieve that flavor, you have to smoke your pork belly.
  • Add 3 cups of wood chips (apple, cherry, hickory) to a large bowl and fill with water. Submerge them in the water by placing a plate or some other weighted surface on top of the chips — pressing them into the water. Soak for an hour.
  • Meanwhile prepare the smoker according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Preheat the smoker to 170°. Add wood chips according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Place the pork belly directly on the grate and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 155° – this will take 3-4 hours depending on how large of a pork belly you have. Steve Raichlen recommends using an instant read thermometer and inserting it into the side of the pork belly to take the temperature reading.
  • When the bacon is cooked, transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • To cook, preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top of it. Set aside.
  • Use a long, thin, sharp knife to slice the bacon. Lay the slices on the wire rack next to each other, but not touching. Bake for 15-20 minutes (maybe longer depending on how thick your slices are) or until crisp.
  • Transfer to a platter lined with paper towels. Serve.



Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 968mg | Potassium: 155mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 265IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.5mg

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Looking for a good smoked bacon recipe? My Homemade Applewood Smoked Bacon is it! Learn "What is pink salt" "How to cure pork belly" and How to smoke bacon" with step by step photos. #homemadebacon #bacon #applewoodsmokedbacon #smokedbacon #curedporkbelly #porkbelly #pinksalt #curingsalt #smoker #applewoodchips #woodchips #weber #baconfromscratch

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  1. Do i put in smoker fat down or does it matter getting ready been in cure for 4 days waiting on 7 to come.

    1. Great question! I asked my smoke-master and he says he does it fat-side-up — that way if some of the fat melts, it goes into the meat! #flavortown!

  2. 5 stars
    I have two slabs of pork belly in the fridge, tomorrow is smoking day. In addition to the bacon I’m also do a whole chicken and pork butt. This is my three time making bacon, it is so good. I’ll have to try your recipe, i also agree with Andrew to use the prauge powder.

    1. I have the prague powder on order because it’s time to smoke more bacon here too! I love smoked chicken — but boston butt is my ABSOLUTE favorite! I have a recipe on this site for Carolina Pulled Pork which feeds a crowd and is one of those low slow smokes! I wish I could stop by to taste your smoked specialties! Enjoy!

  3. No problem Lisa, when I first started making bacon I was confused by this also. I had to research it. I recommend amazon for your prauge powder #1 it is really cheap and comes fast. A good book to check out is: Charcuterie by Michael ruhlman is absolutely amazing not only do they give you recipes for every imaginable thing they explain the history of Charcuterie and the importance of each ingredient. It is a great read I recommend it.


    1. I will definitely get a copy of it! Thank you for sharing this with me!

  4. Hi Lisa, your bacon looks really good. If I may be so bold to offer some advice I noticed your recipe called for 2 teaspoons of curing salt, you said you used pink Himalayan salt. That is not a pink curing salt it is just pink colored salt, using Himalayan salt can be potentially harmful and compromise the safety of your food. You should be using pink curing salt, aka: Prague powder #1 or insta cure #1. It is 93.75% salt (sodium chloride)and 6.25% sodium nitrite. The purpose of this salt is to kill harmful botulism causing bacteria, extract moisture, keep the fat from going rancid, and keep the beautiful Rosie red pink color to the meat. That is the reason for the brown hue to the meat. With that slight adjustment you will notice a huge difference in the quality and it will enhance the bacon flavor.

    1. Andrew, thank you so much for sharing this. Funny, because the books we’ve consulted have actually called for Himalayan Pink Sea Salt. I will look for Prague Powder at my local supplier and give this a go on our next batch of bacon! I appreciate the heads up!!

  5. I loved your comment about him smelling like bacon. I always used to joke that I had the ultimate perfume when I worked in kitchens – garlic and grill smell!

    I love that this homemade version removes the need to add nitrites to your bacon! It looks so gloriously perfect, and I love the dark color!

    1. Thank you, MacKenzie — I think Eau De Bacon is very sexy!!!

  6. This is amazing!! I really wish I had a smoker now! This is absolutely incredible… I’ve always wanted to make my own bacon! Pinning this so I can come back to it 🙂

    1. Believe it or not a basic smoker is pretty inexpensive. Get yourself a good cookbook on smoking — preferably by Steve Raichlen (he’s the king) and go for it. Incidentally – the bacon is really easy — it just takes some time.

  7. sastry1411 says:

    Nice Info… Thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re not too far away — you’ll just have to come up for a taste!

  8. Oh my heavens this just looks and smells (imagination at work) so delicious! I had no idea you could make bacon at home!

    1. Surprisingly, it’s not that difficult. Now I want to make my own pastrami…

  9. Impressive that you made your own bacon.. I get what your saying about needing to share or you weren’t game. I have a Scott also and I finally, finally got him to take over grilling duties freeing up a little more of my time 🙂

    1. My Scott really started to get into grilling and smoking when I bought him Steve Raichlen’s book, How To Grill. It changed everything!

  10. Ok so, in all seriousness, even though I don’t actually eat red meat (bothers my stomach), IF I were going to eat bacon—- I would eat THIS bacon! Bacon makes me almost as nervous as sausage- and homemade, where you know where it comes from- is the BEST

    1. Thank you! I’m sorry it bothers your tummy, though. That stinks!

  11. Bintu (@recipespantry) says:

    I’m impressed that you cured and made your own bacon. Bet is was the best

  12. Andrea @ Cooking with Mamma C says:

    I wish I had a smoker now! This looks fabulous! Homemade is the best.

  13. vegetarianmamma says:

    Saw this on facebook and had to come over to check it out! Love your photography as well!

  14. John @PreppyKitchen says:

    I love your photography in this post. The way you style your process shots is very nice

  15. Natalia Lilly says:

    Wow!!!! I can only imagine how much better this is than buying your typical store bought bacon! Looks delish!!!!

  16. We were just talking about bacon last night. (of course, I’m guessing that more than half of your readers might say that!) This looks like a fun project. I’ve pinned it to try soon. I love “porky nirvana” by the way! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Debi – I’m sure your right, most people are talking about bacon at some point during the day!

  17. Wow… that’s all I can say… Wow

    1. Yep – you should have been at our brunch!