Making Beef Bacon Is Easy To Do And You Will Love It Too
Now I know what you are already thinking. Beef bacon? What is that?
Well I have to tell you, if you don’t eat pork products like me and don’t like turkey bacon, beef bacon is what you should be making.
So what the heck is beef bacon anyway? Beef bacon starts off with the beef navel (or the belly or beef plate) and then is cured, smoked and cooked. It smells like pork bacon, crisps up like pork bacon and even tastes like pork bacon. But to my relief, it is beef.
I found this amazing beef bacon recipe and after calling around to five butchers in the Twin Cities, I was finally able to secure an eight pound beef navel from the St. Paul Meat Shop. The St. Paul Meat Shop is the only whole animal butcher shop in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Curing Your Beef Navel
Given I wasn’t ready to eat eight pounds of bacon, I first cut my beef navel in to two relatively similar size pieces. I then wrapped the other piece of beef navel in cling wrap and put into my freezer chest for another day.
I then trimmed down the fat of the beef navel very similar to that of a brisket, leaving about 1/4 of an inch of the fat cap.
For the cure you will need the following ingredients:
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons pepper
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon Prague’s Premium #1 pink curing salt
Combine the ingredients in to a mixing bowl and then pat the entire amount on to the beef navel, making sure you cover all the sides.
You will then want to place your beef navel into an airtight, plastic container or an extra-large Ziplock bag. You will cure the beef navel for three to five days, rotating the beef navel in the container or bag to massage the liquids that are part of the cure process.
For my bacon I cured my beef navel for almost five days. Then once you have finished the cure, you will rinse off the cure mixture, place on to a drying rack and put back into the refrigerator for another 24 hours.
Smoking Your Beef Navel
To smoke your beef navel, you will want to set up your smoker to target a temperature of 225 Fahrenheit. For a Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe, you will want to use an indirect cooking setup with the plate setter or heat deflectors.
For my smoke, I used hickory wood chunks, but I would also recommend either apple or oak. And if you are adventurous, try to smoke your beef bacon with mesquite.
Place your beef navel on to the center of your rack and you will most for about three hours or until the internal temperature reaches about 150 degrees.
Remove your bacon and do not be tempted to slice this right away. It will be easier to slice once it has fully cooled down. In fact, I put my bacon in to the fridge overnight so that I could slice right before breakfast.
Cooking Your Beef Bacon
After your beef bacon has fully cooled down you are ready to slice your bacon. A sharp brisket knife works best for slicing and you will want to slice thinly. My first couple of slices, I sliced too thick. Almost like a thick cut piece of pork bacon. But unlike pork bacon, you will want to slice the beef bacon thinner.
When you slice the beef bacon too thick, due to the fat content, it might be a little chewy once it is pan-fried. I also tried to use my meat slicer to get thinner pieces of beef bacon, but I would recommend that you hand slice the bacon so that the meat slicer doesn’t unnecessarily tear the meat.
After you have sliced your bacon just the way you like, place a skillet on to your stove top and heat to a medium heat. Then place several slices into your skillet and cook just like you would normally cook bacon.
You will find that not only does beef bacon smell like pork bacon, but it crisps up equally the same as pork bacon.
Below you will also find a YouTube video highlighting the “Making Beef Bacon” process. If you like the video and would like to see more, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel and liking the video.
So if you don’t eat pork bacon just like me, then you will love this beef bacon recipe.