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This sorghum-infused home-cured bacon is ready for its close-up.

There are thousands of Southern-food cookbooks, but only one Garden & Gun magazine bent on compiling the best of the best of old and new recipes for its dedicated readership. Whether it’s the classics or the updated hits that drive the modern Southern culinary movement, you’re in for some seriously delicious hospitality. Now, bring home that bacon. And some sorghum syrup.

The thick strips of bacon hawked by the likes of producers such as Allan Benton in Madisonville, Tennessee (Benton’s Hickory Smoked Country Bacon), and Sam Edwards in Surry, Virginia (Edwards Hickory-Smoked Sliced Bacon), beat their grocery-store equivalents handily. Their only real competition is bacon made from scratch, which has one definite advantage: When you’re the one starting with a slab of pork belly, you can customize the seasonings to suit yourself. Here, sorghum syrup lends sweet nuance to the salt and grease of freshly crisped pork. You’ll need some curing salt and — ideally — a smoker, though you can get by without one. This recipe does take a bit more time than just frying a skilletful of strips. But you know what comes to those who wait? Really good bacon.

Tip: This recipe works without a smoker, although the result will skew more on the Canadian side of bacon — deliciously porky but lacking that depth of woodsy flavor delivered by true Southern smoked bacon. Unwrap the cured pork belly, rinse and dry it, and place it on a wire rack set over a baking pan and bake at 175˚F for 2 to 2 1⁄2 hours, until it registers 150˚F on an instant-read thermometer.

Reprinted with permission from The Southerner’s Cookbook