Welcome to the Seattle Met beta. Please email us with issues or feedback!

Image: Nicole Yeo

In a town where food writers are often too discreet to tell it like it is, the Surly Gourmand delivers brutally honest restaurant reviews on his blog, surlygourmand.blogspot.com. Little known fact: He also makes killer home-cured bacon. Here, in his own words, is how he does it.

Bacon is awesome. If you know how to make bacon, you have power. You’ll find your friends are suddenly friendlier and your enemies have turned deferential. Besides, bacon is our heritage—real American bacon, made from pork belly, maple cured and smoked over hardwood, tastes better than your mom, is prettier than Old Glory, and is cooler than God.

Some notes on the ingredients: Do NOT use iodized salt because it tastes shitty. The product labeled “pink salt” is just regular table salt, plus 6.25 percent by volume of sodium nitrite. Nitrite kills bacteria and prevents the oxidation of hemoglobin, so that the meat stays red in color instead of turning brown like old grocery-store ground beef. You can buy pink salt from Emerald Market Supply in Seattle.


5 lb slab of pork belly
3 oz kosher salt
A little over ½ oz (18 g) pink salt
½ cup brown sugar
About ½ cup maple syrup
1½ oz black peppercorns,
coarsely crushed


Sift all of the dry ingredients together. Add the maple syrup and mix until you’ve got a coarse paste. Smear the paste all over the meaty side of the belly. Do NOT: rub cure on the belly’s skin. Do: be sure to take a humorous photograph of yourself pretending to lick the nipple on the pork belly (if it has one).

Seal the belly into a zippered plastic freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Stick the belly flat onto a shelf in the fridge with the cure side up. Leave it in the fridge for 10 days, flipping it over every other day. At the end of 10 days press the belly—it should feel stiffer than when you put it into the bag. The meat will be an appealing maroon color; the fat will have been stained a luscious, creamy off-white.

Remove the belly from the cure and rinse off all of the cure. Put the belly on a baking rack and dry it, uncovered, in the fridge overnight. After 12 hours it will have developed the sticky surface that is necessary for smoking.

Smoke the bacon in a wood-fired smoker for 1½ hours over hickory or applewood or whatever hardwood you like. When the bacon is done smoking it will be a mahogany color. Take it out and slice the skin off. Now it’s finished, but it isn’t fully cooked. You still must slice it and fry it.

And that’s all there is to making bacon. Right about the time you take the bacon out of the smoker, you might start to hear a majestic fanfare. Don’t be frightened: That’s just the sound of your own awesomeness.

This article appeared in the August 2010 issue of Seattle Met Magazine.

Show Comments

More in Food Lovers’ Guide

Chris qqrxdv


Slide Show: Fresh Faces!

The people we find most fascinating in the Seattle food scene right now.

Hands knife gyt1tf

Food Lovers' Guide

How To Wield a Knife Like a Ninja

Kathleen Flinn on how to find the cutlery that will really give you an edge.

2014.05.27.seattlemet.foodlovers.brent 116 edit cjsmya


Eat Local! 15 Pantry Must-Haves Made in Washington

The made-in-Washington pantry already brims with winners (Mama Lil's Peppers, Ballard Bee Honey, Boat Street Pickles). But these newcomers impart flavor by the smear, dollop, and spoonful.

0810 food lovers guide open crttnd

Food Lovers' Guide

Food Lovers’ Guide Directory

Your resource to the people, places, and delicious events in the Seattle Met Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle.

2 b8d6ar


Slide Show: You Put Your Weed in It

Seattleites are pushing the limits of the newly legal frontier of marijuana edibles.

Hands sous fntpkz

Food Lovers' Guide

How To Sous Vide at Home

Scott Heimendinger, aka Seattle Food Geek, on how to cook sous-vide foods at home.

Newsign btvwxz

Food Lovers' Guide

Food Lovers’ Guide

Fascinated by the Seattle food world? Welcome to a feast of sumptuous edibles and rising culinary stars.

Chris qqrxdv

Food Lovers' Guide

Fresh Faces!

The people we find most fascinating in the Seattle food scene right now.

0810 food lover forage giky2i

Food Lovers' Guide

They Can Dig It

Chefs at Bastille, the Corson Building, Volunteer Park Cafe, Trellis, and the Herbfarm grow their own in edible gardens.

Untitled 6 jkzz78

Food Lovers' Guide

Seattle Food Events

Five kick-yourself-if-you-miss-it awesomefests: Burning Beast, New Guard Dinner Series, Outstanding in the Field, Queen Anne Farmers Market, and Walrus and the Carpenter Oyster Picnic.

Untitled 4 juq8hf

Food Lovers' Guide

We’ve Got It Covered

Ten food trends; Skillet bacon jam, Secret Stash Sea Salts, veggies from Tiny’s Organic and Full Circle Farms— that Seattle is dishing out with great success.

Es20100703 236 hf9htz

Food Lovers' Guide

Shopping List

Our favorite new culinary destinations around town: Claudio Corallo, Paris Grocery, Fumie’s Gold, Georgetown Farmers Market, Kings BBQ House, Melrose Market, Picnic, Savour, and Street Treats.

Es20100703 186 llxdlg

Food Lovers' Guide

What’s His Story?

If you’re curious about Jeremy Faber, founder of Foraged and Found Edibles, ask his friends.

Hands knife gzquvi

Food Lovers' Guide

Kathleen Flinn Breaks Down the Anatomy of a Knife

The author of The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry on what to look for when purchasing kitchen cutlery.

Hands knife gyt1tf

Food Lovers' Guide

Kathleen Flinn Demos How to Chop Veggies Like a Pro

Learn tear-free techniques for cutting an onion with the author of The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry.