Home Cured Bacon

Folks today we are going to show you how to make your own bacon at home, its going to save you time, money and best part is: No Artificial Ingredients.

Two Ways To Cure

Now there are two ways to cure bacon, Salt Cured or Smoke Cured. today we will focus on smoke cured. This will last 4-6 Months if you freeze it, but I ain’t never had bacon last that long in my life.  This is a quicker way and an easier way of bringing out all of those delicious flavors.

A lot of curing methods will call for pink nitrate powder. Folks this is for long term curing and a lot of old timers down here used celery salt because it has naturally occurring nitrates int it. While our method today won’t keep as long, you’re getting an easier curing method with great flavor!

Pork Belly

You need to start with pork belly. You can’t go into the grocery store asking for bacon because this is the stuff that’s bacon is made out of.

Get the skin off pork belly. I also like to trim the fat rind off. You can leave it on there if you’d like, but I like to get some of that fat off because you need to remember there’s fat within the bacon as well.

Let’s Make Some Marinade

Let’s mix up some kosher salt, brown sugar, applesauce, maple syrup, coarse black pepper and y’all know I’m gong to add some Red River Ranch Mesquite (see substitution below) along with warm water. 


Let it Sit

Place the belly on a flat baking sheet and pour half of the marinade on the pork and rub in with a spatula  onto the Flip it over and pour the remaining marinade over and rub in well. Cover it with plastic wrap and let is set in the icebox for 3 days.

After the first day and half I want you go in there and turn this meat over. Now, don’t go into shock, but after that 3 days..,

I want you to go wash all that marinade off!

I’m not talking about scrubbing it off of there, I’m talking about just giving it a good rinsing. Now you may say, “Kent, why are you getting rid of all that flavor?” Because if we leave all that sweetness on there, it’s likely to burn while we are smoking it.

After rinsing the pork belly, place it onto a wire rack onto that baking sheet and let it sit about 45 min to warm up.

Slap it on Some Smoke!

Today I’m using a mix of mesquite and apple wood. You can use any wood blend you like, for instance hickory. But I do suggest blending in some fruit wood as it gives a great flavor for pork.

Indirect Heat

You want to place your coals on one side of the smoker and the bacon on the indirect side of the heat. Try to maintain a smoker temperature of 170 to 180 degrees F. We are going to leave it on here about 2-3 hours to make sure we get the internal temp up to 145 to 150 degrees F, which we will check with a probe. After about an hour and half we are going to check it and flip it over to get both side some smoked love.

Let Those Flavors Incorporate

I know at this point it looks real tempting to just take a bite of it right here, but we want to place it back on the wire rack and bring it inside and let it sit about 45 min. Then we will cover it and place it back in the ice box for at least 4 hours, but I prefer overnight. It slices a whole lot better cold than it does hot.

Bacon It Is

Now that we have let it sit, you can go ahead and square up the belly and save the ends for some beans. Slice it against the grain and throw it in a good old cast iron skillet.

Folks, that is better than any store bought bacon you will ever find and you did it! 

Ya’ll be sure and check out the how-to video for even more tips and tricks.

Home Cured Bacon - Cowboy Kent Rollins

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 3 days 6 hours 10 minutes


  • 3 to 4 pound uncured pork belly skin off
  • cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup apple sauce
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Red River Ranch Mesquite seasoning *see substitution
  • ¼ cup warm water


  • Trim excess fat from the pork belly. You can keep or trim off as much as desired.
  • Place the pork on a flat baking sheet.
  • Place the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well.
  • Pour half the marinade over the top side of the pork and rub all over with a spatula. Flip the pork over and repeat with the remaining marinade.
  • Cover and place in the icebox for 3 days. After 1 ½ days, flip the pork over, recover for the remaining 1 ½ days.
  • Remove the pork from the icebox and rinse all the marinade off.
  • Place the pork on the counter for about 45 minutes before smoking to let it warm.
  • Place two large handfuls of hardwood lump charcoal in a smoker on one side of the grate. Light the charcoal and when it turns white add 5 to 6 large pieces of chunked apple wood.
  • When the applewoods catches fire, close the air vents and place the pork on the indirect heat side of the smoker. Shut the lid and cook for 1 hour.Smoker temperature should be between 180 and 200 degrees F.
  • Flip the bacon over and cook for about 1 ½ hour or until the internal temp is 175 to 180 degrees F.
  • Remove the pork from smoker and place on a wire rack on a baking sheet and let cool for about 1 hour.
  • Cover and set the pork in the icebox for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Slice the bacon to your preferred thickness. Fry up or this makes a good meat addition when cooking beans.


Substitute Mesquite seasoning (kentrollins.com)  with: Seasoned salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika and ancho chili, to taste.
Can be stored covered in the icebox for 4 to 5 days. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


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