I love making bacon. It’s not hard, but it takes time, and probably costs way more than buying the best bacon, but I love it all the same. After getting a chunk of belly pork in my meatbox I was browsing through Curing & Smoking: River Cottage Handbook No.13 looking at bacon recipes and found the basic one looked great except I had no juniper berries. The temptation to replace it with gin was too great.

It ends up being a wet cure, and might have benefitted from a few days air drying, but the results were excellent, the sweetnes of the gin really coming through nicely. Also, I had the wrong smoking chips, so I ended up with only a very light smoking, but it might have been all the better for it.

You will need

  • A slab of belly pork, mine was about a kilo
  • 4 teaspons of salt
  • 6 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt peter
  • A bay leave
  • 50ml of gin (I used Portobello Road)


  1. Wash and dry the meat
  2. Mix all the brining ingrediants except the gin
  3. Rub the belly down with about half the curing mixture
  4. Pop it in a tight sealabe plastic bag, wrapped tightly and place skin side down in the fridge for a day
  5. (wait 24 hours)
  6. Pour off any liquid which has leached out
  7. Mix the gin and the remaining rub, then rub into the meat
  8. (wait a week)
  9. Rince off under the tap and pat dry.
  10. Smoke for a couple of hours


I should have cured for longer, the ends were excellent but the middle part probably needed a little longer.

ma belly curing ingrediants the curing mix the sharp eyed of you might notice the rib bones.  I removed these later after a week in the fridge pre-smoking sliced ready for the freezer GET IN MY FACE