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28 responses to “German Bacon”

  1. Kurt Krump

    I use the recipe from (German, what do those guys know about bacon we don’t?) chef Jonas Luster ( he had me at “Bacon Bikini”. I found that using younger pork belly made the bacon more tender and more flavorful in his recipe. Is that something that is overcome in yours?

  2. Mr T

    For what it is worth, when I am trying to find an authentic recipe I find it helpful to search in the native language. For example German Bacon, I might try something like…

    Bacon Recipe = Speck Rezept
    how to make cured smoked pork belly recipe = wie man geheilt geräuchertem Schweinebauch Rezept

    etc…Google Translate is an incredible ally 🙂

    Hope this helps!

  3. Kelly

    The problem with translating is sometimes it just doesn’t. I have lived in Northern Germany for nearly four years, and “Bacon” in Germany is considered an English dish. When you want to buy bacon, you need to ask for Frühstucksspeck (breakfast pig-fat)–fried bacon slices would be a real novelty at a German breakfast, though. Geräuchert Speck (literally “smoked pig fat” is not bacon. It almost always has the skin on, rarely comes sliced, is differentiated by what part of the pig it comes from (lower belly, near the ribs, back) and is generally simply brined and smoked. I haven’t seen much in the way of fancy brines–which doesn’t mean there aren’t any, but the farmers around here who make their own Speck don’t seem to do much more than salt brine-and-smoke. So “German” bacon? Would you call Pancetta “Italian” bacon?

  4. steelchef

    Hey Hank,
    Do you start with the rind on or removed?

  5. Mr T

    Very true, not all terms/phrases can be translated effectively between languages but, even so, searching in a native language can quickly turn you down paths you might not have found in English. Google will allow you to automatically translate many pages, including user generated content such as this. You might not track down the exact translation, in fact there might not even be one, but for 15 minutes and a free search it is a pretty awesome way to glean some insight into other parts of the world 🙂

  6. IF

    I guess you were trying to make “heissgeraeucherter Bauchspeck” – hot smoked belly bacon. There is also Speck from different cuts, like Schinken – prosciutto, or Ruecken (back).
    I recall that you explained that you have to hot smoke things, but if you really care about Nordic or German you may want to use the cold season to switch to cold smoking. I think it is worth it.

  7. cbo

    I am German and wrote a little bit about my bacon

  8. Kelly

    @Hank, semantics aside, I am really intrigued by this recipe. We will probably get a 1/4 pig again this fall, and I intend to get them to leave the side-belly-back fat whole for me so I can make bacon. I love the multi-culti fusion in this recipe, and my in-laws have a smoker. I actually find the authentic stuff pretty boring.

    I know what you mean about pancetta. I would argue, though, that a recipe for “Italian” bacon, would not be pancetta, although you could describe pancetta as a sort of Italian bacon. If you were looking for authentic recipes, you’d look for pancetta. So, to my ears, looking for “authentic” German bacon recipes is simply looking for something that doesn’t really exist.

    Minor commentary really on a very creative and interesting recipe.

  9. Mik

    For whatever reason, I always associate juniper with Scandinavian cooking.

  10. Kevin

    Anyone who says bacon is a passing food ‘fad’ can go_____ ______ or just _____ __ _____, maybe both.

  11. Mike Wascher

    “Speck” is in few German dialects and on few German tables. My father’s side of the family are Scwhabian Germans who fled long ago to found a village in Hungary. Speck is in the dialect, and on the table. Lightly cured, unsmoked or lightly smoked, and no additional spices. It was US-style bacon (AKA streaky bacon) from the pork belly.

    My Aunt Suzi was overjoyed to find bacon when she visited us in the US. She had settled in West Germany after WW2, and her new neighbors didn’t know about bacon. In most dialects it only remains as slang for “fat” — generally OK when applied to small children, but derogatory when applied to adults.

    BTW, Hungarian bacon is excellent. Very thinly sliced, uncured, unsmoked (or rarely very lightly smoked), packed in tins that are filled with lard. A common way to eat it is raw with fresh bread & lots of sour cream. Delicious! Don’t try this with pork from the Americas. But raw fatty pork in slices or cubes, sometimes frozen, are common in Eastern & Northern Europe. try it if you get a chance.

  12. Bill

    I feel a case of Myocardial Infarction coming on!

  13. Gerlinde in Dallas

    Your bacon looks amazing! A few crushed juniper berries added to your seasonings might be interesting here. 🙂

  14. Elisa

    I’m with Gerlinde. Juniper berries are a very typical ingredient for “Speck”, they give the bacon a very nice taste. My ex-mother-in-law used about 10 dried and crushed berries per kilo of bacon. Give it a try 🙂

  15. fisch

    So this inspired me – starting a whiskey maple syrup bacon.

  16. Alex

    I am an American girl living in Bavaria now, and we eat speck regularly. I can get American style bacon in all the markets I have been to, but the speck is always in the butcher’s case and I can get a hunk and slice it however I want. We use it like I would use American bacon, except for frying slices to go with fried eggs. I love the smokiness I get from the speck, especially in cream based sauces over pasta of some sort. One thing… Brown sugar, as in the ‘wet’ variety is rare here. I would replace that with honey if you want German flavor realism.
    BTW I have just stumbled over your blog, through The Contrary Farmer, and am in love with all the recipes and the general idea. Well done!

  17. Terry Kokosenski

    Just get yourselves a copy of the Time-Life book on German Cuisine and Jane Grigsons book on Charcuterie. Then you’ll be there.


  18. Mangalitza

    Maybe this is helpful?

    Mangalitza-hello from Holland:-)

  19. AndrewM

    Hank, I’m used to uncooked American-style bacon, which must be cooked first. Does this come out of the smoker ready to eat?

  20. Kristofor

    The cure time on this is much shorter than I’m used to (seven days, with the same turning schedule), based mostly on the Charcuterie book by Ruhlman. Do you do this strictly by time or are you “monitoring” for doneness/firmness, etc? I have over-cured things using Ruhlman’s timeframe, but I’ve had them perfect as well. I’m sure it’s a factor of thickness of the cut, so I’m curious about your approach to timing. Thanks!

  21. Bacon, Canadian Bacon, and Sausage | Chiot's Run

    […] in your kitchen, here are a few recipes that I’m using. I used half of one belly to make German Bacon, the remainder was used to make . Another whole pork belly was used to make Ventreche, or French […]

  22. Kelly Houston

    Just a quick addition to this thread. I saw this video today and thought of your recipe. The video is in German, but I think you can understand the steps. He is marinating in “Pökelsalz” (0.5% Nit.), black pepper, and juniper berry. After the meat is thouroughly preserved, it is soaked in fresh water, dried for two days, then cold smoked for a week for the Speck, longer for Schinken (which is like ham).

  23. Krümel

    There is a lot of speculation out there and I am surprised that some of the Germans chiming in didn’t give you guys advice back then. “Curing” is something that has two meaning, so when Mr. T put it in the translator it came out as “healing”. That would make it difficult to find hits. Anyway, I grew up in the Frankonian part of Bavaria. We know VERY well what bacon is here, the further south you go, the more bacon is in the diet. My Dad used to say they have more bacon because of the energy they needed to do the hard work in the mountains (look up the pictures of “Südtiroler Bauernspeck”). Anyway, there are two ways to do Speck – air dry or smoke. Most of us cold smoke it just a little. Since I have just started with smoking I am not going to venture into detail about the techniques. The further south you go the more meat it has and the more air dried and less to no smoke. The skin is ALWAYS left on since it prevents drying out. Hope this is helpful to you all. Here is a link to what I consider Speck – bacon. It is known as “Durchwachsener Speck” which means literally “through grown bacon” which refers to the fat that marbles through the meat, it is cured and lightly smoked.

  24. Tim Reynolds


    I’m confused. How can you smoke the bacon for 4 to 6 hour at 250 and get an internal temp of between 140and 165? I smoke it at 200 and look for a temp of 150.that takes me am hour to an hour and a half.


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