With an overnight marinade and a 1+ hour bake, this recipe takes some planning but its worth it.
I love bacon for its flavor and texture. I use it as topping on salads, mac and cheese, baked potatoes or anything else I can think of. General rule of thumb is all meats have about 70mg of sodium per serving, 3 oz. Same goes for pork. So be aware of that.....I think its about 2-3 slices of bacon for 70mg, depending on the thickness of cut.
Now.....the first step is too talk to your butcher. I've never talked to a butcher before. Why was it intimidating? not sure but it was for me. And by 'butcher' I mean, the employee at your grocery store behind the meat case. You have to ask them if they carry 'pork belly without skin'. Some butchers immediately will want to know what your are doing with it. That is fine. They are trying to get a sense of the project so they can best serve you. Tell them you are making bacon at home and that you need 2Lbs of pork belly cut into 1/8" or 3mm slices. They will instantly become excited to help you. They love projects like this. Some grocery stores will not carry it and you'll have to try elsewhere or some can special order it. That's fine too. This recipe is for 2lbs. Why 2lbs? cuz 2lbs fits on my 2 cooking trays. If the butcher has the pork belly, they should be able to cut it with a knife by hand or using the meat slicer machine. It will take 15-20 mins if they are busy. They may have to call you when it's ready. I usually go to the meat department first, place my order and then do my grocery shopping and swing back by. So now you have 2lbs of sliced pork belly....
2lb sliced pork belly
1/4 cup liquid smoke
1/2 cup of syrup (see my breakfast syrup recipe on the 'Better than Bisquick' page)
Coarse ground black pepper
you'll also need:
1 gallon ziplock bag or container to marinade the pork
2 cooling racks that fit on baking trays
2 baking trays
Measure the liquid smoke and syrup and place into the zip lock bag. Unwrap your pork strips and individually place the strips into the plastic bag to marinade. Marinade 2-hour to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
When ready, preheat the oven to 200F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack onto each lined baking tray. Then carefully place the strips onto the cooling racks. It will be full so keep the strips close together. Wash your hands and grab your coarse ground pepper. Generously sprinkle the bacon strips with the black pepper. When the oven is ready place the trays into the oven, middle and top racks for 60 mins.
Once done, remove the trays. Your kitchen will smell like bacon. Turn the oven up to 400F. Place the trays back in the oven for 10-15 minutes. You'll need to watch the bacon. Check it at 7 mins and consider rotating the trays, being careful of hot grease. Check it again at 10 mins etc. Cook til desired color and texture.
Alternatively, you can not do the second 400F bake and simply pan fry the bacon. This works vey well too. I've done it both ways but find the oven to be faster overall but the pan fry does give a great color to the bacon.
Let it cool and enjoy. Freezes well. I'll dice up a several pieces for toppings and freeze it for later use.