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Dizzy Pig SugarBush Bacon (Buckboard Bacon)

By Reg Pelletier, dizzification by Mike Kerslake
Featuring the Formula for Success Curing Method

Formula For Success by Reg Pelletier
Dizzyfication and Recipe Spin by Mike Kerslake

A popular recipe in bbq and curing circles, is something called Buckboard or Hillbilly Bacon. Essentially, it is boneless pork butt roast cut into portions simulating belly bacon and cured in a simple blend of curing salt (most often TenderQuick blend of salt and nitrite/nitrate) and brown sugar.

For me, this recipe lacks two things: control of the curing salt concentration, since it is hand-applied, and secondly, it lacks depth of flavor beyond the brown sugar ingredient. With that in mind, I took the idea of curing pork shoulder into a bacon-esque final product, but controlling the salt/cure content via the Formula for Success and added more sweet (and savory) ingredients to just bump up the flavor overall. I think the end result is a success! Hope you enjoy…



Print Recipe
  • Pork shoulder butt roast

Curing Brine (measurements depend on project weight)***

  • Water to cover pork shoulder pieces completely and snuggly in a non-reactive brining vessel (such as a food grade pail or small cooler)
  • Salt or Morton’s Tender Quick at 3% of project weight
  • Sugar (light or dark brown recommended) at 2% of project weight
  • .05 oz ‘pink salt’ per pound of project weight* (use only in conjunction with straight coarse sea or kosher salt. Omit if using Tender Quick!)
  • 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup (B grade/amber recommended) per gallon of project weight
  • Dizzy Pig’s Raging River

*** Project weight is total of trimmed meat weight in pounds, plus amount of water necessary to cover, calculated at 8.3 lb/gallon.

For example, two 3-lb slabs of pork shoulder plus 1 gallon of water to cover would create a total project weight of 6 lb meat plus 8.3 lb of curing brine, or 14.3 lb total ‘project weight’.

If still unsure of how to calculate salt/sugar/cure amounts for your particular project, read the intro to the Formula for Success and follow the in-depth instructions there.


  1. For this recipe, use a pork shoulder butt roast, either fully deboned, or deboned and netted, probably about 4-5 lbs total. Separate into two pieces and square-up or shape to replicate a pork belly roast.
  2. To complete the curing brine, add salt (or Tender Quick), sugar, cure (if using) and the amount of maple syrup for your particular project, and boil hard for 10 minutes or until flavors are infused in brine. Chill to 36-38°F, then add shoulder pieces. Ensure they are completely covered by brine, using non-reactive weights if necessary to keep submerged.
  3. Cure for 5-7 days, rotating/flipping meat once to ensure complete brine coverage.
  4. Remove from brine and pat dry. Place on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet in the fridge and allow to air chill at least several hours or overnight. This will help the cured shoulder pieces to take on smoke more evenly and effectively as well as more evenly distribute brine and flavor throughout the meat. At this point, liberally sprinkle on Dizzy Pig’s Raging River to the presentation surface of the shoulder pieces.
  5. Smoke the SugarBush bacon pieces over a moderate (250°F) fire until it registers 140°F internal. Use a sweet smoking wood like apple, cherry or, of course, maple.
  6. Remove from the smoker and let rest in your fridge overnight to let flavors develop and meld together.
  7. At this point, slice and use Dizzy Pig SugarBush bacon as you would any other bacon, but be cautious in frying too hot as this is a bacon with plenty of sweet elements in the brown sugar and maple syrup and may tend to burn if cooked too hot/too fast. Otherwise, enjoy this relatively lean and decidedly sweet take on traditional bacon!