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Homemade BLTs with Roasted Garlic Aioli

Homemade BLTs with Roasted Garlic Aioli


There is nothing quite like the humble BLT, the best possible combination of crispy bacon, fresh lettuce and juicy tomato. What’s not to love?

  • Serves: 4 - 6 |
    4 - 6 servings
  • Yields: 4 - 6 |
  • Difficulty:

  • Prep Time : 40 mins |
  • Cook Time : 60 mins
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Homemade Bacon
1 kg whole (boneless) pork belly
150 g sea salt
15 g sugar
5 bay leaves, crushed
10 juniper berries, crushed
1 Tbsp (15 ml) freshly ground black pepper

smoking chips

Roasted Garlic Aioli
2 heads of garlic
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp (15 m) Dijon mustard
400 ml canola oil
squeeze of lemon juice
a small handful of chives, chopped
salt and pepper

 The BLT
a loaf of good quality farm bread, sliced
a knob of melted butter
as much homemade bacon as you want on your BLTs (thick cut)
4 large ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bag butter lettuce
roasted garlic mayo

Homemade Bacon 

The Curing Process

Start by pouring some boiling water into a container big enough to fit the belly. The boiling water will sterilise the containers before the curing process.

Place the salt, sugar, bay leaves, juniper berries and pepper into a spice container and shake to mix. Apply a good amount of rub to the belly and then place into the sterilised container and seal with a lid. Place into the fridge for 5 days. Check the belly every day; drain off the moisture and then apply a little more of the rub. Be careful and don’t add too much or you will end up with salty bacon. On the fifth day take the belly out the fridge and give it a good wash to remove the excess rub.

You have what is known as ‘green’ bacon, cured but unsmoked.

NB! Slice off one end and then slice a second piece off to test fry. Cook the bacon slowly in a frying pan, ensuring that the fat renders and that it crisps. Taste it to check the salt content. If it’s too salty then submerge the pork meat in a bowl of water for 1-2 hours. Cut off another piece and try again. When you are satisfied with the flavour, the meat is ready for smoking.

The Smoking Process

Smoking may seem like a complicated process but it really isn’t. Use a Weber or a Big Green Egg smoker to smoke the meat. Both will have instructions for setting up to smoke with indirect heat, which is basically a delicate heat source that allows thicker cuts of meat to cook through slowly, without burning.

Use your choice of smoking chips (I used hickory) and smoke until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 65 ºC. Use a meat thermometer to check. Once the bacon is done, take it out of the smoker and let it cool. Congratulations, you now have smoked bacon! If you are not going to eat it all in one go, you can wrap it in plastic and keep it in the fridge for a week. Alternatively, freeze it for up to 2 months… (like it’s gonna last that long). If you’ve chosen to keep your bacon green, then freeze it immediately.

When ready to use, sliced to the desired thickness.

Roasted Garlic Aioli
Preheat the oven to 200 ºC.

Separate the garlic into unpeeled cloves. Toss in a little olive oil then wrap in a foil to form a parcel. Roast the garlic on a baking tray for 30-40 minutes until soft.

Whisk the egg yolks with the Dijon mustard to combine; add the oil in a slow, steady stream while whisking all the while. The mixture will start to emulsify as you whisk and will become a silky, thick mayonnaise. Add the lemon juice and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the mayo, add the chives and give it a good whisk to combine. Leave in the fridge to chill until needed.

Preheat the oven to 200 ºC.

Lay the thick-cut strips of bacon on a baking tray and bake for 10-20 minutes or until the fat has rendered out and the bacon is golden brown. Remove from the oven and drain on kitchen towel. (Alternatively, can be pan-fried slowly to render the fat and achieve the same effect).

Paint the bread with melted butter on one side only. Fry the buttered side in a frying pan over a medium heat until you have a golden brown crust. This is the outside of your sarmie.

Spread the inside pieces of bread with a generous amount of chutney. Add the tomato and season with a little salt (depending on the saltiness of your bacon) and freshly ground black pepper. Add the crispy bacon and lettuce. Drizzle with aioli and top your sarmie with the final slice of fried bread. Cut in half and smash it!