Sichuan Chinese Bacon Recipe - How to Make Chinese Bacon (2024)

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4.75 from 4 votes

By Hank Shaw

March 22, 2011 | Updated March 27, 2021


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Sichuan Chinese Bacon Recipe - How to Make Chinese Bacon (2)

When I first saw this recipe for Chinese bacon in Fuchsia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking, I knew I had to make it. I am fascinated by charcuterie that is outside the Western tradition. Most of us who do charcuterie stick to Italian or French or German traditions, and, less often, Spanish, Eastern European or, maybe, Middle Eastern cured meats.

China is a world unto itself, and, as Dunlop says, there are scores of bacon styles in that pork-loving country, each with its own mixture of spices and aromatic woods. This recipe is a riff off hers, although my method is considerably different.

You will need nitrite for this recipe, which you can buy online or in some good butcher shops. If you don’t use nitrites here, you will need to smoke the bacon at a much higher temperature, closer to 225°F than the 140°F I do. (If you are scared of nitrites, please do yourself a favor and read this excellent article on the fake “no nitrites” labeling.)

You will also need Sichuan peppercorns and Shaoxing wine to make this bacon, although a dry sherry is a fine substitute for the Chinese wine.

You really, really need to smoke this bacon. It’s OK unsmoked, but it takes on something magical when those Asian spices — cinnamon, cloves, star anise — mingle with wood smoke. You can smoke the pork as long or as little as you want, but please do your best to put this puppy in some sort of smoker.

What to serve it with? Anything, really. It’s awesome in braised dishes, like Chinese Red-Braised Pork, in stir-fry, with greens — or hell, just as sliced baconin the morning with your eggs. It’s bacon, people. You’ll find something to do with it…

4.75 from 4 votes

Sichuan Chinese Bacon

You can usually get big slabs of pork belly from local pork producers at your farmer's markets, or any decent butcher can order you one. You do need some curing salt No. 1 for this recipe, which you can buy online. Once made, this will keep about 2 weeks in the fridge, and indefinitely in the freezer.

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Course: Cured Meat

Cuisine: Chinese

Servings: 12

Author: Hank Shaw

Prep Time: 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours hours

Total Time: 3 hours hours 15 minutes minutes


  • 3 pounds pork belly, skin on or off
  • 1/2 cup 1/2 cup Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 27 grams kosher salt, about 3 level tablespoons
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns, ground
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 5 star anise pods, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 grams Instacure No. 1, about a heaping 1/4 teaspoon


  • Moisten the pork belly with the Shaoxing wine. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and rub into the meat, making sure all surfaces are coated.

  • Put the pork into a large sealable plastic bag, or vacuum seal bag, or just a plastic or glass container just about large enough to contain it. Sprinkle over any remaining cure, seal the container up and put in the fridge.

  • Every day for 5 days, turn the bacon over. After 5 days, check to see if the bacon is firm. If it is not firm throughout, give it up to another 2 days in the fridge.

  • Take the bacon out, rinse off the cure and pat it dry. Set the bacon out on a rack to dry, preferably in a cool, airy place. Let it sit for 1-3 hours.

  • Smoke the bacon over the wood of your choice. I try to keep the smoker as cool as possible because you don't want to fully cook this bacon; less than 200 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. It is supposed to be very smoky, so go for at least 4 hours. Remove it from the smoker when it's as smoky as you like, then let it cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge or freezing it.


This recipe makes about 3 pounds of bacon.


Calories: 619kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 60g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 911mg | Potassium: 253mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

Categorized as:
Asian, Charcuterie, Recipe

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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Sichuan Chinese Bacon Recipe - How to Make Chinese Bacon (2024)


What is Chinese bacon made of? ›

Like a lot of bacon from around the world, Chinese bacon is made from pork belly and less frequently, from shoulder. It is either air-cured with soy sauce, brown sugar, and spices (like star anise and cinnamon) until it's very hard, or it's cured for a shorter period of time before being smoked.

How is Chinese crystal bacon made? ›

The invention discloses a preparation process of crystal bacon, which comprises the following steps: unfreezing and cleaning are carried out; dietary alkali is added into water with the temperature of 50 to 60 DEG C, the pH value is regulated to 10 to 12, pigskin is put in and soaked for 5 to 10min, and flushed by ...

How long does Chinese bacon last? ›

Storage: Although it is unrefrigerated at the store, I keep it in the fridge if it will be long before use. Of course, once opened, it should be tightly wrapped, refrigerated, and consumed within a week or so as it may be subject to mold.

Is bacon popular in China? ›

Although traditional non-smoked bacon is gaining popularity in Southwestern China due to increased health awareness by consumers, it has been extensively consumed in the eastern part of the country for a long time.

What does Chinese bacon taste like? ›

It is typically made by marinating pork belly in a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices, and then air-drying or smoking it to achieve the desired flavor and texture. The result is a rich, savory bacon with a distinctive aroma and taste that sets it apart from other types of bacon.

What is bacon called in China? ›

Chinese bacon is lop yuk. Chinese sausage in lop cheong. It is great stir fried with Chinese broccoli.

What is the pink salt in bacon? ›

Pink salt, also known as curing salt No. 1, is a nitrate, a combination of sodium chloride — table salt — and nitrite, a preserving agent used to deter the growth of bacteria in cured meats. Bacon is cured in the refrigerator, then slow roasted, and finally cooked again before serving.

What is the white stuff when frying bacon? ›

The exudate contained 76-88% water, 80-130 mg/g protein and 2-6% NaCl, depending on the type of bacon and method of cooking. SDS-PAGE patterns of bacon exudate were similar to those of pork drip, suggesting it consists mainly of sarcoplasmic proteins.

Was bacon invented in China? ›

Bacon's history dates back thousands of years to 1500 B.C. in which the Chinese were curing pork bellies with salt, creating an early form of bacon, although pigs were domesticated in China in 4900 B.C. and were also being raised in Europe by 1500 B.C. Speculation exists that the Romans and Greeks learned bacon ...

Is GREY bacon okay to eat? ›

If it has started to go bad, its color will be off. If the bacon in your fridge has a grayish, greenish, or brownish shade, it's time to throw it out.

Can you eat uncooked bacon? ›

No, it's not safe to eat raw bacon. Even though bacon has been preserved through the curing process, it has not been cooked. Like other foods you should never eat raw, consuming raw or undercooked meat puts you at risk of foodborne illness from viruses, bacteria or parasites.

Can I eat 2 day old Chinese food? ›

Leftovers go bad after a while though, so it is important for them to know how long they have to safely dig in without having to worry about getting sick. What's the best Chinese restaurant in Rockford? Chinese leftovers should last between three to four days in the fridge, according to PreparedCooks.

What is China's most eaten meat? ›

Pork dominates China's meat market. In 2022, it took up more than 50 percent of the domestic meat consumption. China is by far the world's largest pork producer, consumer, and importer.

What is the most ordered Chinese food in the US? ›

The most popular Chinese dish in America, General Tso's Chicken, is nearly unheard of in China. The Chinese dumpling (jiaozi) is one of the most popular Chinese dishes in the world. Kung Pao Chicken was listed among the top 10 Chinese dishes chosen by foreigners in 2013.

Is pork belly what bacon is made from? ›

How is bacon made? Although bacon can be made from other meats, when most people think of this traditional breakfast side dish, they think of pork. Large slabs of meat are cut from the underside of the pig, known as pork belly. The pork belly is later seasoned, smoked, and sliced to make bacon.

What is Japanese bacon? ›

It is cured and smoked belly meat as in the US, and is sold in either regular or half-length sizes. Bacon in Japan is different from that in the US in that the meat is not sold raw, but is processed, precooked and has a ham-like consistency when cooked.

Is there bacon other than pork? ›

Turkey bacon can be used as a substitute for bacon where religious restrictions forbid the consumption of pork. Also known as "fakon", it is marketed as a bacon alternative and available in supermarkets. It is generally high in protein and fiber, yet low in fat, and typically has no cholesterol.

What is the bacon that is not pork? ›

Beef and turkey bacon are widely available for people who don't eat pork. Both are tasty. They are cooked in the same way as pork bacon.


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