Bacon is made by curing pork belly, a fatty boneless cut of meat from the underside of the pig. Although this inexpensive cut of meat is widely used in pork products, it is usually not found in grocery stores. Butcher shops often carry the cut and it is readily found in many Asian markets that carry meat products (pork belly is used extensively in Asian cuisine).
The other piece of the puzzle likely missing from your pantry is pink curing salt. A blend of regular salt and nitrite, the bright pink ingredient is inexpensive and can be ordered online for a few dollars. The pink salt can be left out and you’ll still get something nice, but this ingredient gives bacon its familiar color and distinctive taste. Without the pink curing salt, the result is a meat that is brown rather than pink and tastes more like spare ribs than everyone’s favorite breakfast meat (not bad, but not bacon).
Select a 4-5 pound pork belly (the thicker the better) and gather ingredients. Pork belly is not usually found in grocery stores, but butcher shops and Asian markets can usually provide this fatty, boneless cut of pork.
The other “exotic” ingredient used to make bacon is pink curing salt. Also called Prague powder, the blend of table salt and nitrite is used to cure meats and gives bacon its distinctive color and flavor. Pink curing salt is inexpensive and easily found online.
Mix 3-4 tablespoons kosher salt, 2 teaspoons pink curing salt #1, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 3 tablespoons black pepper to create a “rub.” Honey or maple syrup may be substituted for brown sugar, although the rub mix will clump. Bacon can also be tweaked by adding other spices such as thyme, juniper berries, garlic or bay leaves.