During the first 2 weeks of our Whole30 adventure Price kept lamenting that the missed bacon. I wanted chocolate chip cookies. But that’s another story.
The issue with store-bought is that it tends to have a bunch of ingredients that are not Whole30 complaint. Lovely. And even if you find uncured bacon the issue is sugar. Man, sugar is in everything.
So, I had to get around this to be able to enjoy some bacon while we were doing Whole30.
I turned to Pinterest and found a few different recipes that I could refer to for the process in making homemade bacon without having to smoke it (as our smoker is currently covered but like 6′ of snow…). Once I had a game plan I talked to the butcher at my local grocery store and he said they did have pork belly in back and they could cut it for me so I was getting closer and close to pigging out on some bacon.
Overall the process was so easy and I am happy with the end result. I asked Price what he though and he said that it was good, but missing something. I asked what. He said sugar. Well, I should have seen that coming…
Honestly, I can totally tell the difference between the store bought bacon and my homemade version, but I think that is because I normally get a Maple bacon and the texture. The homemade bacon is thicker and, therefore, has more of chew to it. But I don’t have a problem with that.
I read in several recipes to leave it unwrapped in your refrigerator so I did just that but I did notice every time I came home that our house smelled a bit of the curing meat. Again, not bad but slightly noticeable.
And even then the ‘effort’ of making the bacon is so worth it as the cost per pound of pork belly is so much more affordable that your average store-bought bacon. Plus by making it yourself you know what exact is in it and you know it is Paleo, or Whole30 compliant. I just paid $3.99 a pound of my pork belly, so way more affordable than the $6.99-$8.99 pound a bacon I normally get.
I made this Whole30 compliant so it doesn’t have any sweetener in it, but if you just want some sweetness then use some maple syrup as that is still paleo.
This was such a fun experiment. I can’t wait to try it again with different spices next time. Love this!
Homemade Paleo Bacon
Makes 4 pounds of bacon
- 4 pounds of pork belly (fat back), skin removed
- 3 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flake
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (I used Hickory from Wright’s)
- Put the pork belly in a baking pan. (I used a 9×13 pan.)
- Mix together the salt, pepper, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes. Preferably use a mortar and pestle to blend together.
- Thoroughly rub the pork belly with the spice blend, garlic, and liquid smoke. Return to the baking pan.
- Place the pork belly in refrigerator uncovered for 5-7 days. Flip the bacon and pour off any liquid every day.
- Thoroughly rinse off the pork belly removing the spices. Pat dry.
- Preheat your oven to 150 degrees. Place the dried pork belly on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, flip over, and bake for another hour.
- Divide and wrap up the bacon to refrigerator or freeze.