Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

Pastrami Bacon

Use this recipe for a Pastrami Bacon BLT.

  • Yield: Makes 5 pounds bacon

  • 1 piece (5 pounds) pork belly
  • 1 batch Pastrami Brine and Injector Sauce (see recipe), cooled to room temperature
  • 1 batch Pastrami Rub (see recipe)

Step 1: Skin the pork belly, or better yet, ask your butcher to do it. Place the pork belly in a nonreactive roasting pan or jumbo heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. Using a meat injector, inject the pork belly all over with Pastrami Brine. (You’ll use 1 to 2 cups.) Pour the remaining brine over the pork belly (or add it to the resealable bag). If using a plastic bag, lay it in a baking dish to catch any leaks. Brine the pork belly in the refrigerator for 5 days, turning it over daily. Re-inject it with the brine after 3 days.

Step 2: Drain the pork belly well, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Place the pork belly on a wire rack over a sheet pan and let dry in the refrigerator until it feels tacky, 1 to 2 hours.

Step 3: Thickly crust the pork belly on the top, bottom, and sides with the Pastrami Rub.

Step 4: Set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat to 200°F. Add the wood as specified by the manufacturer.

Step 5: Smoke the pork belly (former skin side up) to an internal temperature of 160°F, 4 to 6 hours, adding wood as needed.

Step 6: Transfer the pastrami bacon to a clean wire rack over a sheet pan and let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until serving.

Step 7: To serve, slice the pastrami bacon widthwise as thickly or thinly as you like. (I like 1/4-inch-thick slices.) Sear on a hot grill or in a skillet until browned on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side.


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