One of the pieces of meat my brother brought me from Love's in Vaigreville was a nice piece of side pork (I believe Americans call it the belly). I was out of side bacon so I pulled it out of the freezer.
I started by taking the skin off.
I weighed the skinned piece so I knew how much cure to make. There was 1.766 kilograms of pork (3.899 pounds). I have a set recipe for curing. I mix the following for each kilogram of pork:
I put the pork on a tray so any loose curing mix would fall in the tray and rubbed both sides of the pork.
I put the pork in a plastic bag and made sure to get all the curing mix from the tray in the bag.
I used Bearcarver's formula to determine how long the pork would need to sit in the cure. It is 2 days for every 1/2 inch of thickness of the thickest part of the pork and then add two days. The thickest part of the pork was 1 1/2 inches. So, 2 times 1 1/2 plus 2 gave me 8 days in the cure.
I put the pork in the fridge for eight days, turning and rubbing it daily.
I took it out and rinsed it under cold water.
Then I put it in cold water and let it soak for an hour, changing the water twice.
I put it on a rack to let it dry. I patted it dry with a paper towel and let it sit for an hour. About every 15 minutes, I would pat it down with a paper towel again. By the end of the hour, it was nice and tacky and dry.
I put it in my smoker without turning it on but with my A Maze N Tube smoker filled with hickory pellets. Normally I don't worry about keeping it too cool but it was a very hot day so I kept some ice cubes in the chamber as well.
After 5 1/2 hours (I changed the ice a few times), the tube smoker had run out of pellets. I took the bacon out and put it in the fridge overnight.
The next day, I preheated the pellet smoker to 200 F with hickory pellets and hot smoked the bacon to an internal temperature of 120 F.
I took it out and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
The next day, I sliced it up with my trusty ham slicer.
The finished product.
Of course, I had to cook up a couple of the trim pieces to test them.
It has taken a few smokes to get the salt amount just the way I like it in the bacon. My curing mix gives a nice cure taste without being very salty.
The double smoking gives it a a nice hickory flavour.
The small amount of berbere spice was perfect. You don't really taste it as a major flavour, there is just some nice undertones and a touch of something approaching heat. Even She Who Must Be Obeyed said it was very good.
This will be made again but I will try other seasoning blends in future bacon smokes.