This chipotle bacon is sweet yet spicy, the perfect accompaniment to so many dishes or just for a delicious breakfast.
Making bacon at home is an incredibly easy project that will only take you 5 minutes preparation. Although, you have to be patient and let it cure, so you can’t make it for tomorrow’s breakfast.
Why should you try this recipe?
- The taste! It is an explosion of flavor on your taste buds, hitting all of the notes. Sweet, spicy and a bit tart too from the berries.
- It’s so ridiculously easy.
- Making your own bacon can save you a ton of money. You can buy a whole pork belly for about $3.00 per pound, if you buy a whole one, skin on. Whereas bacon can run up to $13.00 per pound, by us. That is a huge savings.
- If you buy a belly with skin on, you get the added bonus of being able to make your own chew treats for your furry friends.
What you need
- pork belly – if the belly still has the skin on it, cut off the skin.
- salt – use kosher salt or sea salt.
- honey – you can use maple syrup or molasses if you’d like
- Tender Quick – or similar curing salt . (See notes below if you use a different brand of curing salt.
- brown sugar – we prefer dark brown sugar
- chipotle in adobo sauce plus 2 chilies from the sauce.
- black pepper
- raspberry jelly or raspberry powder (optional but awesome.)
How to make it
Add chipotle pepper and sauce to a small food processor or blender.
Blend until smooth.
Add dry ingredients small bowl.
Mix dry ingredients well. Break up any clumps of brown sugar to incorporate them too.
Add chipotles in adobo and honey.
Mix together well until a smooth paste forms.
A small spatula works well for this.
Slather paste onto one side of the pork belly.
Slide into a gallon storage bag with the pasted side down.
That way you won’t lose any of the delicious curing paste.
Slather the second side right in the bag. Use your spatula to get every drop of the paste.
Remove as much air from the bag as you can. Seal the bag.
It’s helpful to date it, so that you don’t lose track of how long it’s been curing.
Turn the bag over every day and work the cure around to redistribute.
Smoking the bacon
Carefully rinse off the cure. The flavor has already infused into the meat, so you don’t need to worry about removing flavor.
Don’t skip this step or your bacon will be excessively salty.
Dry the belly well with paper towels.
Place it on a baking rack placed over a rimmed lined baking sheet, for easy clean-up and let it dry for at least another hour in the fridge.
Preheat smoker to 200°F /80°C
Place meat on the smoker grate. place an aluminum foil covered baking sheet on the shelf under it to collect all of the drippings and make cleanup easier.
Smoke about 1 hour per pound until internal temperature measures 145°F / 70°C
It’s important to use a top quality temperature probe to determine when the meat is done. We use our brand new Meatstick 4x which we totally love. It has an app that lets the thermometer communicate with your phone, so you always know where the temperature sits without walking outside into the cold.
It has really been a game a changer and allows us to extend the smoking season to 12 months out of the year, even in the frigid northeast.
Once the chipotle bacon has been smoked, you must cook it before consuming it. Fry it in a skillet, bake it in the oven or even air fry the bacon, as you would store bought bacon.
Cook it to your desired crispness and enjoy!
Let’s talk about nitrates / nitrites
Firstly, we should answer the question; what are nitrates? Nitrates are a naturally occurring compounds that contain nitrogen and oxygen, you may remember from that Chemistry class.
Nitrates occur naturally in plants. The plants containing the largest amount of nitrates are dark leafy greens, like spinach, and kale, but also in high quantities in celery and beets (beetroot).
If you have had a garden, you know that the plant fertilizers that you’ve used contain a percentage of nitrogen. It’s the first number in the formulation and it helps to keep your plants healthy and growing.
In most peoples’ diets, the majority of nitrates/ nitrites consumed, about 80%, are from plants.
Nitrates that are used to preserve meats are chemically identical to those that are in plant sources.
The nitrates that are contained in plant sources react differently in our systems, making them less risky than their meat filled cousins. (It’s a fairly lengthy explanation of how and why they differ, that is covered more in this article from the BBC.com)
So back to our question, are they bad for you, the bottom line is that there are conflicting studies, some saying they are carcinogenic (cause cancer) and others saying they are not.
So, probably the best rule of thumb, as with most things in life, is to consume everything in moderation.
Is uncured bacon better for you?
The way that bacon is preserved without man made nitrates is by using plant based nitrates to cure the meat. Namely, celery or beet powder.
Celery and beetroot are shown to contain more nitrates than curing salts, so the bottom line is that uncured bacon is not necessarily a healthier option.
What is the difference in curing salts?
Humans have been curing meats for literally, thousands of years. Over the years this has grown and changed as we learn more about bacteria and food safety.
Many different methods have been adapted. The most common is curing salts.
Curing salts go by many, confusing names. Some of which are Prague powder, Instacure, curing salt, Tender Quick, among many others.
Have you ever thought about what the difference between them is? Here is a great article from the Barbecue Bible that sheds some light on the situation.
The bottom line is that they will require use in different amounts, depending on which product you can find. It’s always best to read the directions on your brand of cure and follow them, so that you don’t run into food safety problems.
How to store bacon
After smoking, slice it into pieces or lardons. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Four longer storage, vacuum pack in single servings, or use freezer bags. Freeze for about 6 months for best quality.
More recipes with bacon
- How to cure bacon at home
- Bacon cheeseburger pizza
- Air fryer bacon
- Bacon egg potato salad
- Spinach bacon quiche
- Grilled bacon wrapped scallops
You really should try this Raspberry Chipotle Bacon. It’s incredibly easy and even more flavorful!
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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today!
Enjoy. And have fun cooking!
- 2 pound pork belly skin removed
- 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt or sea salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoon Morton’s® Tender Quick®
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons Chipotle in adobo sauce plus 1-2 peppers
- 1 tablespoon raspberry powder or substitute 2 tablespoons raspberry jam
- Remove stem from peppers. Roughly chop and add to small food processor with the sauce. Plus until smooth.
- Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl.2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt or sea salt, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 3 tablespoon Morton’s® Tender Quick®
- Add honey, chipotle and raspberry jam, if you are using jam, instead of powder. Mix well into a paste.1/4 cup honey, 2 tablespoons Chipotle in adobo sauce, 1 tablespoon raspberry powder
- Rub the cure all over the pork belly. Add to a large storage bag.2 pound pork belly
- Place in large plastic bag and seal.
- Place bag in container, in case of drips.
- Turn bag once per day for 7 days.
- After 7 days, remove cured bacon from bag. Rinse all of the salt off, very well. (Failure to rinse thoroughly will result in salty bacon.)
- Dry meat on both side thoroughly with paper towel. Allow to air dry for a few hours in refrigerator. Place meat on rack and suspend rack over a container to contain drips.
- Heat smoker to 200°F. Use apple, cherry or hickory wood to smoke. Smoke for about 3 hours, until internal temperature reaches 150°F.
- Slice or cut into lardons and freeze until use.
- To cook bacon, cook in your preferred method. Pan fried, oven baked or even in your air fryer.
Originally published February 1, 2023.
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