Pastrami Bacon

Pastrami Bacon

Pastrami bacon seems like one of those ideas that’s so obvious and so outrageous that nobody thought of it before Billy Durney, the owner of Hometown BBQ in Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY.

In this recipe, a pork belly is cured with pastrami brine, then pepper and coriander pastrami spices, and cooked in a smoker. It results in two of the greatest cured meats in the world: pastrami and bacon. This pastrami bacon recipe is the best of both worlds.

Use this recipe for a Pastrami Bacon BLT.


More Bacon Recipes:


Pastrami Bacon

Recipe Notes

  • Active Prep: 5 days for brining
  • Yield: Makes 5 pounds bacon
  • Equipment: Wood for the smoke session; meat injector; meat slicer (optional)


For the brine:

  • 1 gallon (4 quarts) water
  • 1 cup coarse salt (sea or kosher)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 6 juniper berries, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Prague Powder #1 (pink curing salt)
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 piece (5 pounds) pork belly
  • 2 teaspoons ginger (optional)

For the rub:

  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon white peppercorns (or additional black peppercorns)
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 tablespoons coarse salt (sea or kosher)
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons paprika

For the Bacon:

  • 1 piece (5 pounds) pork belly

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Make the brine: Bring 2 quarts of water and the other ingredients (except the pork belly) to a boil in a large pot. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolves. Add 2 quarts of ice water to cool the brine. Refrigerate until completely cold. Using a meat injector, inject the pork belly all over with the brine, using 1 to 2 cups. Submerge the pork belly in the remaining brine, cover, and refrigerate. Re-inject the pork belly after 3 days, then brine for 2 more days for a total of 5 days.

Step 2: Drain the pork belly, 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 the pork feels slightly tacky, 1 to 2 hours.

Step 3: Make the rub: Place the coriander, peppercorns, and mustard seed in a spice mill or mortar and coarsely grind them. Work in the remaining ingredients. Thickly crust the pork belly on the top, bottom, and sides with the rub.

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

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

Step 6: Transfer the bacon to a clean wire rack over a sheet pan and let it cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator. Slice thinly and cook as desired. Wrap the remaining pork belly tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze.

Recipe Tips

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Steven Raichlen’s Project Smoke is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2017 Barbacoa, Inc.