Smoked Buckboard Bacon Flavored with Honey and Garlic, Made at Home

I became excited when someone mentioned buckboard bacon to me. I'd never done anything like it before. It's too bad, because this turned out to be one of the best charcuterie pieces I've ever made or eaten. It not only took a lot less time to make than most other charcuterie pieces, but it also tasted fantastic.

I'm sure I'll be mocked, but I think I preferred it to capicola. Both are made from the same cut of pork, the pork neck. To be objective, I must compare them side by side, but for the time being, this fine cut of meat is my favorite.

What is the composition of buckboard bacon?

Backboard bacon does not have to be made from pork neck, and any part of pork butt/pork shoulder will suffice. True But trust me when I say that pork neck, also known as coppa, is the best choice for making backboard bacon because of its perfect plump shape, meat-to-fat ratio, and marbling. There's a reason why capicola is made from pork neck rather than the rest of the pork shoulder.

How is backboard bacon produced?

Buckboard bacon is made in the same manner as smoked cured bacon. To begin, cure the meat with salt, curing salt (Cure #1), and seasonings, just as you would cure regular bacon. The only difference is that instead of pork belly, you would begin with a piece of pork butt.

The meat would then be smoked for 3-4 hours. It would be even better if you could smoke for 6-8 hours. It will transform it into double-smoked buckboard bacon. Double-smoked bacon is bacon that has been smoked twice as long as regular smoked bacon. I used to believe that double smoking meant smoking bacon twice. However, it simply means that you can smoke for a longer period of time.

Finally, as with smoked kielbasa, you would raise the internal temperature of the meat to 154F - 158F. This marks your buckboard bacon as 'fully cooked.' This can be accomplished by gradually increasing the temperature inside the smoker until the internal temperature of the meat reaches at least 154F, poaching the meat in hot water, or baking the meat in a steam oven.

Some thoughts on seasonings

Everything in life is relative. When compared to other seasonings, seasonings that taste good may not taste as good. To get a good flavor, season buckboard bacon with black pepper at the very least.

All that is required to make buckboard bacon shine is salt, pepper, and the aroma of smoke. You can add other flavors to enhance the flavor, but be careful not to overdo it.

I tried buckboard bacon three ways: first, plain salt and pepper; second, a carefully formulated blend of pepper, cayenne pepper, raw sugar, onion and garlic powder, coriander, and marjoram; and third, salt, pepper, garlic, and honey. Each flavor was delicious on its own.

When compared side by side, the garlic and honey version won. Every bite has a subtle sweetness and a gentle hint of garlic, which I adore. Without a doubt, this is my favorite buckboard bacon recipe. There isn't much sweetness in there, so if you want to tone it down, just cut the honey in half. You'll enjoy it.


Attempt to produce 'thin and blue,' clean smoke. By introducing off-flavors and bitterness, dirty, foul-smelling smoke will kill the flavor and taste. Depending on the wood you use, clean smoke will add enticing smokiness and sweetness.

Hickory and pecan are my favorite smoking woods around here. Perhaps a couple of cherry chunks Oak also works well, but I prefer the pronounced savory notes of hickory and pecan, as well as the sweetness of cherrywood smoke.

I smoke at temperatures ranging from 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This prevents the meat from drying out and the fat from melting. Certainly not significantly. I smoke my Ukrainian and Polish meats and kielbasa at this temperature.

If your smoker is unable to maintain such a low temperature, you can always smoke at the lowest temperature possible. You might be surprised.

I smoke hot-smoked kielbasa at 225°F, which has a very good texture and can easily compete with traditionally smoked kielbasa. You must limit the smoking time to when the meat reaches 158°F. Smoke no longer than that or the meat will become dry.


As previously stated, you can finish the cooking in a smoker, water bath, or oven. All of these are legal methods, though finishing in a home smoker is always difficult. Especially for a large cut of meat like buckboard bacon. If you go this route, once the meat has been fully smoked, gradually raise the smoker temperature by about 15 degrees every 20 minutes until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 154F - 158F.

You can also do it in the oven. Bake the meat at 175F-185F with a pan of hot water underneath until the internal temperature reaches 154F-158F. It could take an hour to two hours, depending on the size of the meat. Convection cooking speeds up the process but slightly dries out the meat.

The best way to finish smoked meats and sausage is to poach them. These days, I mostly use this method. Simply place the meat in a vacuum-sealed bag or Ziploc bag, being sure to remove all air.

Place the bag in a large (20-quart) pot of 167F water and poach the meat for 30 minutes, or until it reaches 154F - 158F. In cold weather, heat the water to 176°F and keep it from falling below 158°F.

After that, place your bacon in a water bath to quickly cool it. At this point, your backboard bacon will be ready to eat. Slice and serve as you would raw bacon. Your option It can also be dried. It will only improve after a week of drying.


Drying is an optional step, but I love what a week of drying does for smoked meats.

For a week, hang your buckboard bacon in a cool room or curing chamber at 55-57F and 75% RH. The meat will lose some water and firm up. The flavor will become more intense, and the color will darken and become richer. A true culinary delight

Don't worry if you don't have a cold room or a curing chamber. Refrigerate the meat individually wrapped in unglazed butcher's paper for a week.


  • 1000 g pork butt Recommended pork neck (coppa, money muscle) part
  • 22.5 g salt that is kosher
  • 2.5 g Cure #1
  • 10 g coarsely chopped black pepper
  • 50 g honey
  • 3 cloves garlic big; pressed
  • Calculate the weight of the meat in grams. Divide by 1000, then multiply by each ingredient. For example, if your stomach weighs 2650 g, multiply the ingredients listed above by 2. 65 If you want to use US Customary measurements, it may be a little more difficult.
  • In a small bowl, combine the salt, Cure #1, and black pepper.
  • Rub the dry cure mixture evenly over the pork butt. Apply pressed garlic evenly.
  • Place the meat in a Ziploc or vacuum-sealer bag and drizzle honey over it evenly. Refrigerate for 7 days, flipping and massaging as needed. Expel as much air as possible from a Ziploc bag before sealing it.
  • Remove the meat from the bag, using the back of a knife, scrape off any excess seasonings, and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Place the meat on a cooling rack that has been placed over a baking sheet. Refrigerate overnight, uncovered.
  • Remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for 1-2 hours. Insert meat hooks
  • Preheat your smoker/smokehouse to 135F - 140F in the meantime. See notes
  • Hang the pork bellies in the smoker for about 30 minutes without smoking.
  • Apply smoke after 30 minutes, or when the surface of the meat is dry. Smoke for 3-4 hours, depending on how smoky you want your buckboard bacon and how much color you want on it.
  • Fill a Ziploc or vacuum sealer bag halfway with meat. Poach for 30 minutes at 167°F (75°C), or until the internal temperature reaches at least 154°F (68°C). Chill the meat for a few minutes under a cold shower or in an ice bath, or for 10-12 hours in a cool room (50F - 55F / 10C-12C).
  • Hang the bacon in a cool room or a curing chamber for 5-7 days to dry at 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius) and 75% relative humidity. See notes
  • Remove the bacon from the curing chamber and wrap it in unglazed butcher's paper before refrigerating or vacuum sealing and freezing it for longer storage.
If your smoker cannot maintain a temperature of 130F-140F, smoke at the lowest possible temperature. Even if smoked at 225F, the results should be satisfactory. If you don't have a cold room or a curing chamber, simply wrap the meat individually in unglazed butcher's paper and refrigerate for a week.      
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