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Beef Bacon

Beef bacon is simply delicious. Picture bacon, now picture it tasting like beef ribs. This easy-to-make bacon is the sweet-salty-smoky cousin of pork bacon. You'll love it!

I'm always up for a new adventure, a new recipe, and a wildly interesting idea.

While trolling around the internet one day, I came across a recipe for beef navel. Then started thinking... Beef navel, is that beef belly?

You know what we do with pork belly, can we do that with beef belly?

Turns out that you can!

This beef bacon recipe is dedicated to a new adventure.

Beef bacon BLT.

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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 --> Beef bacon has a unique flavor, while it still has the characteristic sweet/salty/smoky goodness that makes bacon, well, bacon, it's got a deeper more beefy taste. Kevy compared it to smoked beef plate ribs.

No. 2 --> If you've experimented with curing and smoking bacon from my tutorial, this post will seem very familiar and comfortable to you!

No. 3 --> You don't NEED a meat slicer for this recipe, but it sure makes the job easier. If you like to cook in large quantities and save leftovers, or make bacon or beef jerky regularly, it will pay for itself!

No. 4 --> This is a time-intensive process but it doesn't include much hands-on time. Calculating the brine, rubbing the belly, and slicing the bacon is a small part of the process. And it's so worth it.

What Is Beef Navel?

The beef navel, or beef belly, is the cut that joins to the brisket flat and runs towards the groin on the underside of the short ribs.

This cut, while not impossible to find, generally needs to be sourced from a local butcher. If you're reading this recipe from Alberta, I source my beef belly from D'Arcy's Meat Market in St. Albert.

Close up of the beef belly showing marbling.

Beef Bacon Vs Pork Bacon

Pork fat has a lower melting point than beef fat. This is what gives pork belly that silky-oily feeling when handling.

Beef navel, on the other hand, feels firm and drier. If you've ever made your own pork bacon or touched raw bacon, the difference will be noticeable.

In my experience, beef belly, and, by extension, bacon from beef has less fat and tends to be leaner than traditional pork bacon. I plead the 5th on the vastness of my experience in making bacon, it's incriminating, and my doctor might see this! Hah!

Sliced beef bacon on a cutting board.

Key Ingredients

Beef navel/ beef belly: When purchasing your beef belly, look for a belly with a deep red color, obvious fat marbling, and an even thickness throughout. We LOVE AAA Alberta Beef. You just can't beat the flavor and quality!

Curing salt: You can't cure meat without curing salt! Look for a curing salt called #1 curing salt or Prague powder. It's pink in color.

Brown sugar: Bacon needs sugar! We prefer brown sugar for the molasses content and the flavor that adds to the bacon.

Beef bacon ingredients.

How To Make Beef Bacon

  1. Gather your equipment: You'll need a good food scale, a pen and scrap paper, a calculator (maybe), a baking sheet, and plastic wrap.
  2. Weigh the beef belly slab: Place it on the scale. Measure in grams. Write the weight on the top of your sticky note. At this point, I like to place my belly on a baking sheet so that when I add the dry brine it doesn't make a huge mess. See photos below.
  3. Calculate your dry brine: PER LB of beef, you need 10g kosher salt, 5g brown sugar 1g nitrate salt. If you don't want to do the math, visit this awesome WEB-BASED CALCULATOR and select the following options; US curing standards, Skin Off. Then I use the measurements listed for salt, sugar, and the minimum amount of nitrates.
  4. Make the dry brine: Place your small bowl on the scale and tare it out. Measure the specified amount of salt, then tare, add the sugar, tare, and then the nitrate salt. Mix this together thoroughly.
  5. Sprinkle the brine mix on the beef belly, making sure to get both sides, and the edges. Pat it in.
  6. Lay down two large pieces of plastic wrap on the counter, and place the brined beef belly on the wrap. Wrap the belly ensuring it's completely covered. Then wrap it a second time.
  7. Place the beef belly on a clean baking sheet and place it in the fridge.
  8. Cure the beef bacon in the fridge for 5 days, flipping the slab once per day.
  9. Wash the beef belly. On the 5th day, unwrap the slab. Run it under cold water and rinse it well.
  10. Place the washed belly onto a wire cooling rack and set it on top of a cookie sheet. Place the belly back into the fridge uncovered overnight.
  11. Preheat the smoker to 185f. Remove your bacon from the fridge and smoke it until it reaches an internal temperature of 145-150f. The beef belly photographed in this post took 5 1/2 hours. * I like to always cook with a foil-wrapped baking sheet or chafing pan under my meat. Keeps the grill SO much cleaner.
  12. Remove the bacon from the smoker and allow it to come to room temperature before placing it in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.
  13. Slice your beef bacon with a meat slicer, or a good brisket knife and a steady hand.
  14. Vacuum pack the bacon in portion sizes that work for your family, and store in the freezer until ready to use, 3-4 months, if it lasts that long!

SAFETY NOTE:

Curing meat requires specific expertise and failure to cure meat properly may result in sickness or death. Please consider consulting an expert before attempting to cure meat for your family.

How To Cook Beef Bacon

I cook beef bacon the same way that I cook bacon bacon.

Lay the slices in a cold cast iron skillet and slowly heat over low to medium-low heat (for my stovetop, I usually use 3 on the dial). Flip the bacon once, when the underside of the bacon has browned. Cooking beef bacon is not difficult, the wait time is!

How To Use Homemade Beef Bacon

Use your beef belly bacon however you'd use regular bacon:

Beef bacon BLT.

More Smoked Recipes To Enjoy!

Batch + Storage Information

Batch:

From one slab of beef belly we are able to get between 75-90 slices, depending on the size of the belly and the thickness of the slice.

Storage:

Uncooked cured beef bacon should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and cooked within 2 days. Cooked bacon can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days

Overhead view of raw beef bacon and dry brine ingredients.
  • Smoker: Kevy and I purchased a TRAEGER TIMBERLINE 1300 in June 2019. Our life has changed! It's such a great machine - we've run thousands of pounds of pellets through it and would buy it again and again! Check out all the great SMOKED RECIPES we've developed.
  • Temperature Probe: I have and LOVE a MEATER+ MEAT PROBE. The probe itself is really brilliantly designed with a self-charging dock, a minimalistic probe, and really intuitive app.
Beef belly smoking on a traeger.

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📖 Printable Recipe

Beef bacon BLT.
Yield: 80 slices

How To Cure + Smoked Beef Bacon

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Cure Time: 6 days
Total Time: 6 days 6 hours 15 minutes

Beef bacon has all the delicious sweet/salty/smoky parts of bacon with a distinct beef flavor. You'll love this awesome beef navel / beef belly recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 slab of beef belly
  • coarse kosher salt, as needed
  • brown sugar, as needed
  • #1 curing salt, as needed

Instructions

  1. Gather your equipment: a good food scale, a pen and scrap paper, a calculator, a baking sheet, and plastic wrap.
  2. Weigh the beef belly slab. Measure in grams.
  3. Calculate your dry brine. PER LB of beef, you need 10g kosher salt, 5g brown sugar 1g nitrate salt. If you don't want to do the math, visit this awesome WEB-BASED CALCULATOR and select the following options; US curing standards, Skin Off. Then I use the measurements listed for salt, sugar, and the minimum amount of nitrates.
  4. Place a small bowl on the scale and tare it out. Measure the specified amount of salt, then tare, add the sugar, tare, and then the nitrate salt. Mix this together thoroughly.
  5. Sprinkle the brine mix on the beef belly, making sure to get both sides, and the edges. Pat it in.
  6. Wrap the belly in two layers of plastic wrap.
  7. Place the wrapped beef belly on a clean baking sheet and place it in the fridge.
  8. Cure the beef bacon in the fridge for 5 days, flipping the slab once per day.
  9. On the 5th day, unwrap the slab. Run it under cold water and rinse it well.
  10. Place the washed belly onto a wire cooling rack and set it on top of a cookie sheet. Place the belly back into the fridge uncovered overnight.
  11. Preheat the smoker to 185f.
  12. Remove your bacon from the fridge and smoke it until it reaches an internal temperature of 145-150f.
  13. Remove the bacon from the smoker and allow it to come to room temperature before placing it in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.
  14. Slice your beef bacon with a meat slicer, or a good brisket knife and a steady hand.
  15. Vacuum pack the bacon in portion sizes that work for your family, and store in the freezer until ready to use, 3-4 months, if it lasts that long!

Notes

SAFETY NOTE:

CURING MEAT requires specific expertise and failure to cure meat properly may result in sickness or death. Please consider consulting an expert before attempting to cure meat for your family.

Batch:

From one slab of beef belly we are able to get between 75-90 slices, depending on the size of the belly and the thickness of the slice.

Storage:

Uncooked beef bacon should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and cooked within 2 days. Cooked beef bacon can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

40

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 6Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 30mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

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How to cure and smoke beef bacon pinterest graphic.

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