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Old 04-14-2020, 06:59 AM   #1
Tesoro
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Default 'Makin Bacon'

The other day I was in the store and saw a pack of pork belly so I bought it and dry brined with brown sugar, kosher salt and some maple syrup. Let it sit in the fridge for a week flipping it each day.
Then I rinsed and put in the big chief for 3-4 hours with some mesquite chips.
Wow! amazing flavor.

Interesting what the nitrates do to bacon. They make it fry up crispy whereas natural cured wont do that.

eating too many nitrates makes me swell up. I hate that shite.

If you ever try this get pork sides if you can instead of pork belly like I got. Belly is 1:3 meat to fat. Pork sides is 1:2.
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Old 04-14-2020, 07:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: 'Makin Bacon'

I'm going to try your dry rub, I just did a couple bellies using a apple vinegar, molasses brine. Never again, shitte flavor. I use nitrates, they don't bother us, I'm more cautious when it comes to pork, always keeping the cold smoking process down below 80 degrees. Thanks for sharing,,,gregg
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Old 04-14-2020, 08:27 AM   #3
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If you don’t mind nitrates...here is my bacon process:

BACON
Mix
2/3C kosher salt
1/2C white sugar
1/2C brown sugar
1tsp No. 1 cure
5-8lb meat (belly or shoulder)
Sauce
2Tbs molasses
8Tbs maple syrup

Sauce to coat
Pepper to taste
Coat with mix
Optional maple syrup re-coat
Ziploc 2 gallon
7-10 days in the fridge turning 2x daily
Rinse well pat dry
Air dry to form Pelicle
Hot smoke (175) 3ish hours to internal temp 145
Or
Cold smoke 6hrs as desired

I’ve made this with belly and shoulder. My brine time is based on 3-days per inch of thickness.
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Old 04-14-2020, 10:03 AM   #4
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sounds good! will try it with a bit of molasses next time. I just ate the last of my test batch this am. I have been eating salt cured meats and fish my whole life without the nitrates and aint killed me yet! I eat raw bacon all the time!

I think most people over complicate smoking and add too much weird stuff thinking it would be better. ie for smoked salmon - if you have good ocean fish - it dosent get much better than with just salt and sweet and nothing else. same way with bacon I guess. +/- pepper.

I smoked my bacon in the 120 range for 2 hrs and then slipped the old sweatshirt on the smoker to bring it up to 175 ish for the next hour. I am not sure what the end diff would be between cold and hot smoked bacon. The hot smoked was easy fast and really couldnt taste much better.
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Old 04-14-2020, 05:42 PM   #5
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I've been enjoying my cold smoker, beacon, cheese, fish. Taking 3.00 a lb cheese and turning it into 10.00 a lb cheese for the family, they sure eat up fast. I'm always taking notes on others smoke recipes, sometimes I get a real dud like the one I tried with Apple cider,,,gregg
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Old 04-14-2020, 06:02 PM   #6
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What do u use to cold smoke? I would like to do cheese. Guess I could bore some 1in holes on the top of my big chief n cover em with a board for reg smoking. Or put in a soldering iron. Heard that works but not sure how to light the chips?
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Old 04-14-2020, 07:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: 'Makin Bacon'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesoro View Post
What do u use to cold smoke? I would like to do cheese. Guess I could bore some 1in holes on the top of my big chief n cover em with a board for reg smoking. Or put in a soldering iron. Heard that works but not sure how to light the chips?
I use a smoke tube in my regular BBQ for cheese. There is a thread somewhere on ifish about cold smoking cheese.

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Old 04-15-2020, 02:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: 'Makin Bacon'

Great info on getting the pork ready for consumption but what I'm curious about is what your preferred method of slicing it is? I've been lusting for a quality food slicer but have yet to pull the trigger. I could also use a long bladed knife but don't have the confidence I would be able to cut nice even slices. Maybe someone has a slicing jig for such use.
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Old 04-15-2020, 06:57 AM   #9
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I have a cold smoke generator that's has its own element and connects to the smoker. The smoker is well insulated, so if the temperature inside the smoker starts to rise I can put a tray of ice on the bottom rack and that is enough to keep the temp down. I keep the smoker inside temp below 75 degrees smoking cheese, bacon, fish. What I learned is cheese needs to rest wrap up in the fridge for a couple weeks before serving. Also I use a mild wood for cheese, a light smoke stream for about 2 1/2 hours, smoke sticks to cheese easily. We hand slice bacon, it's just two of us, so a few slices is easy. We did have one of those electric slickers, not commercial duty, it did great slicing Abalone, just takes extra work to clean vs a sharp knife,,,gregg

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Old 04-15-2020, 07:46 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Finn-icky View Post
Great info on getting the pork ready for consumption but what I'm curious about is what your preferred method of slicing it is? I've been lusting for a quality food slicer but have yet to pull the trigger. I could also use a long bladed knife but don't have the confidence I would be able to cut nice even slices. Maybe someone has a slicing jig for such use.
I took my smoked slab and then cut it in half. this way could cut nice thick even slices. Now law that says you cant cook half length bacon!
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Old 04-16-2020, 01:26 AM   #11
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I took my smoked slab and then cut it in half. this way could cut nice thick even slices. Now law that says you cant cook half length bacon!

Good point. Full length slices often don't fit into the pan that great anyway. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 04-17-2020, 10:51 AM   #12
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Default Re: 'Makin Bacon'

toss the meat in the freezer for a couple hours prior to slicing, makes it much easier to get consistent slices. Full frozen for really thin slices. A sharp long blade is best.
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Old 04-18-2020, 07:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrogPond View Post
toss the meat in the freezer for a couple hours prior to slicing, makes it much easier to get consistent slices. Full frozen for really thin slices. A sharp long blade is best.
Or a meat slicer.

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Old 05-22-2020, 06:25 PM   #14
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After many tries at smoking bacon that was fingerlickin but too salty I finally found the formula from a real chef so it is always the same. Table spoons/Volume dont work consistently beacuse each slab of meat is not the same weight.

You need to break out your old dope gram scale or reloading scale to do it right. If not pick up a cheap digi jewelry scale like this
https://www.cabelas.com/product/BATT...E&gclsrc=aw.ds


Weigh you meat on kitchen digi scale or go off the label net weight and then convert to grams. And then weigh out 2.5% of meat weight in salt. A kitchen scale wont weigh that little amt of salt correctly so need to use a precise scale. Its so little salt that you will say no way that will work but it turned out perfect. The sweet be it sugar or syrup need to be no more than the same amount in weight. The formula calls for 1.6% but I used more. Rub the salt on meat and then sprinkle on the sugar or rub on the syrup and then put in a bag in the fridge for a week. rub it every day and turn it. It makes very little juice but dont worry.

5-6 hrs in smoker with 3 pans at low temp 130 or so and then an hour at high temp ie 175 or so.

If you are worried about dying from botulism then add 0.25% pink salt#1

If you are a lower salt person use 2%. I found 2.5% to be possibly saltier than needs to be.

Finally found the way to control the salt! I am gonna try pork shoulder next aka cottage bacon. less cost and easy to find in mkts vs pork bellies.

ps: a serrated knife cuts the bacon perfect. no need for a slicer.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:11 PM   #15
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Default Re: 'Makin Bacon'

I did a pork shoulder last week. Took a bit to trim it down to workable chunks. Mixed a wet brine per instructions on Tender Quick package but more water and a bunch of sugar and maple syrup. Injected the thick parts. 5 days later, rinsed and put in smoker. 4 medium pans of Mesquite. Kept smoker covered the first hour and a half to get temp up then uncovered, smoked a total of 6ish hours.



Turned out great, could really taste the Maple. Probably use less Tender Quick per water next time. Like 1 cup per 1 1/2 quarts water, maybe less. Need a better chunk of meat. First try, didn't expect a whole lot.
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Old 05-23-2020, 06:10 AM   #16
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Just give me sea salt, raw cane sugar or tree sap, a hunk of meat or fish and a wood fire!

Italians have been eating prosciutto for eons with just salt cure and nothing else added.

The package mixes like tender quick have potassium nitrate as an extra curing agent, sodium nitrite as a preservative and propylene glycol. Plus who knows what else in the 'less than 1% category"

I guess it dosent really hurt you as long as you are used to the preservatives but I am not. They make me swell up and get thirsty. Thus my motivation to make my own charcuterie.
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Old 05-23-2020, 06:54 PM   #17
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Just put 5 pounds of belly in the refer with FrogPonds recipe so we will see how it turns out
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Old 05-24-2020, 04:22 AM   #18
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Just put 5 pounds of belly in the refer with FrogPonds recipe so we will see how it turns out
the worse part is the 7 day wait
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Old 05-26-2020, 12:32 PM   #19
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Default Re: 'Makin Bacon'

I just smoked 16 pounds yesterday, I used the digging dog farm EQ calculator, I set my salt at 1.9%, sugar at 1%, and use the recommended 6.25% pink cure.

The new to me Hobart 1712 slicer was much nicer to slice with than the little home model I used last time.

13 days in the cure, cold smoked for about 12 hours over two days




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Old 05-27-2020, 07:10 AM   #20
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Ok I have to chime in. I dont use any of the nitrates. I have a simple base and from there I experiment. Sugar, salt, pepper and real maple syrup. To experiment I really like adding crushed juniper berries.
If I make peppered bacon I increase the pepper and decrease the maple syrup. Then smoke over hickory or pecan.
If I do maple bacon then I increase the maple syrup and decrease the pepper. Then smoke over apple and a little bit of cherry.
Everything brines for 7 days flipping each night. On the 8th day it smokes for 2-3 hours with medium smoke.
I cold smoke everything at less then 105 so as to not render the fat out.
My family is 50/50 on what they like so I make both.

As far as cutting it goes. I cut by hand. It's not all the same thickness on purpose. I like it thick cut and limp when its cooked. My wife likes it thin and crispy. This way we can cook it the same amount of time and both get what we like. My son will eat it either way.

We freeze it in paper wrap and pull it out to cut each time we cook it. I cut what we need for that meal and put the rest back. I always hang the bacon in the smoker on hooks. So that it stretches out a little as it smokes.
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Old 05-31-2020, 08:22 AM   #21
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Pulled the belly out after a 7 day brine using Frog Ponds recipe. Sliced a couple of strips to test fry and found it a tad salty. The maple flavor did come thru so I gave the belly another good rinse and an hour soak. Going in the smoker today.
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Old 06-01-2020, 07:59 AM   #22
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The 2 to 2.5% salt to meat weight has worked perfect for me. No more guessing and over salted meats. if want to put in preservative then its 0.5% ontop of the salt.
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Old 06-02-2020, 07:46 PM   #23
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Finished the belly with a 6 hour smoke over apple wood two days wrapped to let the smoke soak in. Had some for dinner last night and found it still a bit on the salty side. The maple flavor was very mild but you could definitely taste it. Next time I would cut the salt to half of the recipe, soak it a couple of hours and it should be good to go.
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Old 06-04-2020, 05:18 PM   #24
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so why not just do the 2 to 2.5% thing and quit wastin your time!
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Old 06-04-2020, 10:17 PM   #25
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BOE - where you finding belly with that much meat to fat content? I'm always nervous just looking at both ends to try to judge
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Old 06-05-2020, 03:50 AM   #26
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Looks like pork sides to me..
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Old 06-05-2020, 08:55 AM   #27
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I stopped at Cash and Carry about a month and a half ago and bought 5 pork bellies. I have processed 3 of them, and still have two in the freezer. I wanted to see what I liked in the bacon cure process before I did all 5 of them. No question I will stick with the EQ method, not to salty, cant miss when you weigh out exactly what you need.

Sort of like picking a ripe watermelon, or other fruit, we all have our own method. I used a belly selection process I was told a while back. Put the belly over your held out level arm and let the belly bend, and choose the bellies that bend the most. Cold meat stays flexible, cold fat gets stiff. The more the belly bends the more meat in it. The bellies that bend very little have a higher fat content. I believe the selection process works. I took all the bendy bellies.
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Old 06-09-2020, 06:18 PM   #28
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my first run of mesquite smoked cottage bacon - pork shoulder. Tastes like bacon but not as greasy. Think I will do this from now on as easy to find and 1/4 the price.
I got a bunch of chunks in the crock pot with some beans to cook over night..
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