Rob Levitt’s Bacon

Makes:5 pounds

¼ cup Kosher salt
¼ cup Dark brown sugar
¼ cup Maple syrup
3 Tbsp. Black pepper
5 lb. Skinless pork belly

1. Mix salt, sugar, syrup, and pepper together and thoroughly rub all over pork belly. Place meat in a ziplock bag and refrigerate for 8 days, then remove from bag and rinse under cold water. Pat pork belly dry with paper towels and place on a rack set on a baking tray and let dry in the refrigerator overnight.

2. Smoke the pork belly: Light one of the burners on a gas grill and set a perforated foil packet of wood chips (“I like a mix of oak and fruitwood,” says Levitt) on the grate directly over the flame, then close the lid to allow wood chips to start smoking. Set meat off of the flame and smoke, covered, until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees, about 3 hours. Check wood chips regularly; you may need to replace them about halfway through. (If using a charcoal grill, light a small fire with lump hardwood charcoal and add pieces of oak or fruitwood directly to the coals.) Refrigerate meat overnight, then slice to desired thickness with a long, sharp knife. Bacon will keep, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for 4 days, or up to 3 weeks in the freezer.

How to use it: “One of my favorite things to make at home with our bacon is a biscuit sandwich,” says Levitt. “I cook two strips of bacon and use a fried egg, a slice of cheddar, and maple-chile butter [a mix of 1 stick softened butter, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon chile flakes] slathered on the cut sides of the biscuit.”