Cold-smoked bacon

Cold-smoked bacon

A Year of Practiculture
2-3 kg
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

Years ago I visited a Polish deli and bought a slab of double-smoked pork belly, and I was done for. I sliced that smoked pork into little bits and added it to almost every meal until it ran out. I’ve been wanting to figure out how to make it ever since. One of the drivers for the construction of my cold-smoker was the idea of home-smoked bacon. But before I struck a match I had to learn how to make bacon.

Bacon-making was also a mystery to me, but it didn’t take very long to figure out how to make it. The basic principle is to cure the meat using salt, which will draw out the moisture, then to add some flavour or sweetness in the form of spices, honey or sugar. I’ve experimented with spices and such, but as usual I’ve ended up favouring the basic flavours, especially now that I use pork from pigs that have been raised well. I have a friend who’s a pig farmer and he raises a pig for me each year that I butcher myself. If you want good bacon, invest in an ethical pig farmer. There seems to be no shortage of those these days, which is a real victory for people who give a shit about the way their meat is raised.

A bit of effort goes into lighting the large smokehouse, so it’s best to smoke a bunch of stuff at once. Before I fire up mine, I like to have ready some cured trout, jalapeño chillies, pork belly, sausages, pork loin and even some garlic. It is, after all, the practiculture approach.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 2-3 kg side pork loin
250g salt
100g brown sugar
apple wood


  1. Trim any loose bits of meat from the loin, leaving the skin on. Coat the pork evenly with the salt and sugar, then seal in an airtight container and refrigerate. Once a day for 9 days, flip the pork over to allow the moisture to drain.
  2. Rinse the loin thoroughly under cold water then pat dry with paper towel. Refrigerate the pork, uncovered, overnight to allow a pellicle (sticky film) to form.
  3. Cold-smoke the bacon for 12 hours with apple wood.
  4. The temperature of the smoke shouldn’t be too hot or it will start to cook the meat.
  5. When the smoking has finished, cut the skin off and slice for cooking.
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