Pit Boss Pork Belly makes for smoky, crispy, and delightful bacon
While bacon needs no introduction, I’m excited to share how to use a Pit Boss pellet grill to make bacon from pork belly. This recipe works well with just about any pellet grill, but I love my Pit Boss and am happy to share any tips I can.
Why should you make your own bacon? It’s certainly easier to buy prepackaged bacon, and prepackaged bacon tastes great. I like to make my own bacon for a few reasons:
- If you find a good deal on pork belly, you can make bacon for way cheaper. This obviously depends on the quality of your pork belly vs the quality of bacon you buy. You can make very high quality bacon for regular bacon prices.
- You can play with the flavoring and cure to make unique bacon. I love showing off my homemade bacon to houseguests.
- You can slice a pork belly however you like Thin cut, thick cut, or in cubes, you can make this bacon into whatever you want. I personally like to use small bacon cubes on pizza or inside cabbage pierogies.
The basic steps to make bacon from pork belly
The recipe requires a bit of time to cure the pork belly, but it smokes pretty fast and you can get a ton of bacon out of a pork belly.
The general process is this:
- Cure the pork belly with a salt blend for about a week.
- Smoke the pork belly in your Pit Boss at 180F until it reaches 140F.
- Let the pork belly rest and cool, then slice it into delicious bacon!
Curing Pit Boss Pork Belly is an absolute must!
You might be tempted to skip curing the pork belly, but it’s an absolute must. Curing will change the look, texture, and taste of the bacon. You can smoke and slice a pork belly without curing, but you won’t end up with crispy pink strips of bacon at the end.
Some tips on curing bacon:
- Buy Prague Powder #1. You might see recipes that make curing rubs without Prague Powder. I’ve tried them and can tell you they’re garbage. Prague Powder #1 includes sodium nitrate, which is used in all manner of cured meats. It’s fairly cheap to buy, and worth having.
- Use cling wrap while curing. Most blogs talk about curing your pork belly inside a zip lock bag. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a mythical zip lock bag that’s big enough to hold a pork belly. I’ve found that tightly wrapping the pork belly in cling wrap works just fine.
- Use a disposable metal tray. I found these disposable metal serving dishes that are twice as wide as normal. It was the perfect size to hold my pork belly.
Use a smoke tube to get the most out of a Pit Boss Pellet Grill
While I absolutely love the ease of smoking on my Pit Boss, I don’t think the grill produces enough smoke. If I had to guess, the pellet grill is too efficient at keeping the chamber at temperature, and hence it doesn’t need to burn that many pellets.
To create plenty of smoke, I use a smoke tube. It’s fairly straightforward to use. Fill it with pellets, and using a butane or propane torch, light the open end on fire. Let the fire burn for 10-15 minutes, re-lighting if needed. Then pick up the tube (from the end that’s not on fire, and with a protective glove), blow out the fire, and stick the tube in your Pit Boss.
What temperature do I cook pork belly at?
I like to cook my pork belly at a low temperature. Commercial enterprises cold smoke their bacon, but that is out of reach for most at home smokers. I like to set my pit boss to 180F. Its an easy temperature for the pit boss to maintain, cold enough to not overcook the outside of the pork belly, and still gets the smoke done in 3-4 hours.
The pork belly needs to reach between 140F and 150F. I like to skew to 140F, because I want to preserve the texture of the bacon as much as possible. Pork belly that is cooked beyond this point won’t look like store bought bacon after frying.
How to slice Pit Boss Pork Belly for bacon?
One of the fun things about smoking your own bacon is that you get to cut it however you want. For regular sliced bacon like what you’d get at the grocery store, try to keep your slices 2-3mm thick. For thick sliced bacon, target around 5mm thick. I also like to cube parts of my pork belly so that I have bacon chunks for pizza. I find there’s always a little scrap at the end of processing the pork belly that works well for cubes.
Here’s a tip: keep your pork belly cold, almost but not quite frozen. This will keep the meat stiffer and easy to cut. Cutting by hand can be quite tiring, so don’t be afraid to work in segments, while keeping the rest of the belly in the fridge while you work.
Optional: A meat slicer makes your bacon perfect
I recently got a meat slicer that is just perfect for bacon. They’re a bit of an investment, but if you smoke a lot of meats, a slicer is a really nice way to make lunch meat or bacon. A meat slicer will make very quick work of a pork belly, and save your muscles in the process.
Every slice comes off the meat slicer perfectly shaped and consistently thick. I’m only slightly exaggerating when saying that I can’t tell the difference between my sliced bacon and store bought.
Tips for freezing bacon made from your Pit Boss Pork Belly
While it’s super convenient to bag and freeze your freshly made bacon, you can’t just put raw bacon pieces into a bag. They’ll all stick together in the freezer! Instead, lay your bacon out on sheets of parchment paper, and freeze those sheets. The bacon is pretty thin and will freeze quickly, and you can bag the frozen slices. The frozen slices won’t stick together.
Other Pit Boss Meals
If you’re a Pit Boss lover like me, you’re always looking for more smoker recipes. Here are some of my favorite things to smoke on my Pit Boss:
How to make Pit Boss Pork Belly Bacon
Pit Boss Pork Belly Bacon
- 1 Pit Boss Pellet Grill
- Cling wrap
- Metal tray big enough for your pork belly.
- 8 lb Pork Belly
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 4 tsp Prague Powder #1
- 6 tbsp ground black pepper
- ⅔ cup coarse kosher salt
- If your pork belly has its skin attached, start by slicing it off. You can use the skin for cracklings if that’s your thing.
- Prepare the salt rub by mixing the salt run ingredients in a small bowl.
- Fully rub down both sides of the pork belly in the salt rub.
- Wrap the pork belly tightly in cling wrap, and then place it on a tray in the fridge.
- Let the pork belly cure for 5-7 days, turning it over once every day. I cured mine for 5 days.
- Heat your Pit Boss smoker to 180F, fill a water tray, and start a smoke tube if using one.
- Unwrap the pork belly and rinse off the curing rub. Pat the pork belly dry.
- Smoke the pork belly until its internal temperature reaches 140F.
- Slice the pork belly into thin slices, 2-3mm thick for regular bacon. Cook or freeze the bacon and enjoy.