How to Make Chipotle Bacon

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This chipotle bacon is sweet yet spicy, the perfect accompaniment to so many dishes or just for a delicious breakfast.

Sliced bacon on a wooden cutting board.Pin
Raspberry Chipotle Bacon

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.

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Why should you try this recipe?

  1. 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.
  2. It’s so ridiculously easy.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
Ingredients for chipotle bacon. See details in recipe below.Pin
Ingredients needed.

How to make it

Step One

Add chipotle pepper and sauce to a small food processor or blender.

Blend until smooth.

Chipotle peppers in food processor.Pin
Process pepper and chipotle in adobo sauce in mini food processor.

Step Two

Add dry ingredients small bowl.

Dry ingredient in bowl.Pin
Add dry ingredients to a small bowl.

Step Three

Mix dry ingredients well. Break up any clumps of brown sugar to incorporate them too.

Mixed up dry ingredients.Pin
Mix dry ingredients well.

Step Four

Add chipotles in adobo and honey.

Chipotle and honey added to dry ingredients.Pin
Add chipotle and honey.

Step Five

Mix together well until a smooth paste forms.

A small spatula works well for this.

Curing paste in bowl with small spatula.Pin
Mix together well until a smooth paste forms.

Step Six

Slather paste onto one side of the pork belly.

Paste slathered onto pork belly.Pin
Slather first side with curing paste.

Step Seven

Slide into a gallon storage bag with the pasted side down.

That way you won’t lose any of the delicious curing paste.

Pork added to gallon storage bag.Pin
Slide it in a gallon storage bags with the paste side down.

Step Eight

Slather the second side right in the bag. Use your spatula to get every drop of the paste.

Paste added to second side.Pin
Slather second side with remaining paste.

Step Nine

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.

Sealed, labelled bag with marinating pork belly.Pin
Remove as much air as you can from the bag. Seal. Label.

Turn the bag over every day and work the cure around to redistribute.

Smoking the bacon

Step Ten

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.

Drying off pork belly with paper towel.Pin
Rinse pork belly very well. Dry off with paper towel.

Step Eleven

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.

Temperature probe placed in meat.Pin
Let air dry in the fridge. Place probe in the thickest part of the belly.

Step Twelve

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

Pork belly set into smoker.Pin
Place belly on rack in preheated smoker.

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.

Raw bacon on wooden board with chipotle peppers and dried raspberries.Pin

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

Helpful tools

Bacon slices on board.Pin
Chipotle Bacon

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!

Binky's signature
Sliced chipotle bacon on wooden board.Pin

Chipotle Bacon

This chipotle bacon is sweet yet spicy, the perfect accompaniment to so many dishes or just for a delicious breakfast.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Curing time: 7 days
Total Time: 7 days 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 214kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $15

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.
See all of my favorite tools and gift ideas on my New Amazon Store!Check out Binky’s Amazon Store!

Notes

DO NOT use the quantities in this recipe for curing salt, unless you are specifically using Tender Quick curing salt! Refer to the instructions on the package of curing salt that you are using! 
Use a high quality meat probe to monitor temperature of pork while smoking. We love our MeatStick 4x.
Bacon will last in the refrigerator approximately 7 days.
For longer storage, slice and freeze, until ready to use.
Rinsing all of the exterior salt from the meat is crucial! Do not skip this step!
If you have friends and family that like mild heat, use one pepper, with the seeds. For those who like a little more spicy foods, use 2 or even 3 peppers, where ever your particular preference lies.

Nutrition

Serving: 2slices | Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 594mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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Originally published February 1, 2023.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you go to the link and purchase something at no additional cost to you. See FTC Disclosure here.

4 Comments

  1. Maybe it doesn’t make a huge difference, but is it a 2lb pork belly before removing the skin? Or is it 2lbs after the skin is removed.

    1. You’re right, it doesn’t make a lot of difference. It is written for before taking the skin off.

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