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Messages - SconnieQ

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Pork / Re: Brined Pork Butt for Pulled Pork
« on: June 21, 2018, 12:44:13 AM »
Any reason why you shouldn't make this up and refrigerate a few a few days in advance ?
No problem making brine in advance. I usually make mine a day in advance so it's good and cold.

Bacon! / Re: First bacon!
« on: June 17, 2018, 04:12:01 PM »
Regarding the "7 days per inch," I assume yo measure the thicker end and go with that. Example the one I did was about 1.25 thick average, but the end tapered up to probably 1.75 thick. Would have gone 12 days or so with this belly?

Most bellies are going to end up in the 7-10 day range. I don't think 12 days would be too long for one that thick. I tend to calculate based on the average of the thickest and thinnest parts, and sometimes add an extra day. So for your average of 1.25, that comes to about 9 days, then I would add an extra day just for the heck of it (and for the thicker part). So 10 days. Even 11 or 12 days should not be over-cured in my opinion.

I've read several examples of people curing for 3 weeks or more, and their bacon was fine. Other than being too salty. The texture and hue can change some with excessive curing, but I don't think 12 days is approaching excessive. The bigger concern seems to be not curing long enough, and the cure not penetrating all the way to the center.

I would suggest if you go 12 days, give it a longer soak in a couple changes of water after removing from the cure. This will help remove excess salt that has accumulated on the outer surface of the belly. The salt and cure will equalize throughout the meat while it sits in the fridge to dry for a day or two.

You can also look into equilibrium brines, where you can't over-cure, and have more flexibility as far as when you smoke it. I've just always had really good results with the dry cure, it's easy, and I am more than happy to adjust my life around bacon. :P

Beef / Re: Brisket Fail (again)
« on: June 17, 2018, 03:30:09 PM »
My main mistake on my first brisket was removing too much fat..

Good advice on trimming the fat...don't. Just trim down the really thick parts if it's a whole brisket. I leave 3/8 to 1/2 inch of fat, and in some places, a little more. The advice out there is usually to leave 1/4 inch of fat, which is way over-trimmed in my opinion. Remember, guests can choose not to eat the fat, but you can't put it back. (It's delicious by the way.)

Bacon! / Re: First bacon!
« on: June 16, 2018, 07:54:47 PM »
Pork Belly is my hero when it comes to bacon. But he's a pro, and I find the saltbox method good for big BBQ places doing hundreds of pounds of belly/bacon, but the saltbox "what sticks" method not so good for a single belly for home smokers. If you want to have more control over salt and cure for a single 5 or 10 pound piece of belly, measuring your ingredients gives more consistent results. And it allows you to make adjustments to your taste as you find what you like. I soak for 30 minutes after the cure, but if you find your bacon too salty for your tastes, you can soak for longer.


Prague Powder #1 Cure (per pound of belly)
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt (Morton’s)
1/2 teaspoon Prague Powder #1 (Pink Curing Salt)
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Morton Tender Quick Cure (per pound of belly)
1 Tablespoon Morton Tender Quick
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon maple syrup

If desired, go ahead and add your special twist with additional flavors to the cures like garlic powder, black pepper, etc., but your bacon will be delicious with just the basic cure.


Prepare a batch of cure using the ratios above per 1 pound of meat. Rub the belly with the cure making sure to evenly distribute it over the entire surface of the belly. Place in a zip lock bag. Place in the fridge and allow to cure for 7 days per inch thickness of belly. Flip the bags once every day and massage the meat to ensure even distribution of the cure.

When fully cured, remove meat from bags and rinse in cold water, washing off all the excess salt and cure. Soak in plain water for 30 minutes to further remove excess surface salt. Dry with paper towels and place on a rack, set over a sheet pan. Place in fridge, uncovered, and allow to dry for 24 hours to form a pellicle.

I have an analog #1. So this is my smoking process. It might not apply depending on the model smoker you have.

Cold smoke phase:
Use 5-6 oz chips and/or split slivers of wood for fairly smoky bacon. Hickory, cherry, maple or any combination. Smoke using the cold smoke plate and a pan of ice for 5 hours (20 minutes full blast, 40 minutes off) keeping the ambient box temperature below 100 degrees.

Hot smoke phase:
After 5 hours, remove the cold smoke plate and pan of ice (water at this point). Dump out the water from the drip pan and slide it under the smoker (if you were using the drip pan that came with the SI for ice). Set smoker temp to 200, and continue to smoke to an internal temperature of 150 (will probably take about 2+ hours).

For more pronounced maple flavor, brush lightly with maple syrup immediately after removing finished bacon from smoker. Add a sprinkling of fresh cracked black pepper for maple/pepper bacon.

Cool 1 hour lightly tented with foil.

Chill for 24 hours or more, then slice to desired thickness.

Pork / Re: Time in smoker - Quick question
« on: June 16, 2018, 07:27:44 PM »
Yums to come.

Beef / Re: Brisket Fail (again)
« on: June 16, 2018, 12:43:35 PM »
jagdad - I have had really great briskets (prime) and a few that were just shy of  great (choice). I trim off some of the fat and save to use during the smoke. I will jacquard the meat on occasion depending upon how it looks and feels. I do use beef broth and inject. A simple rub. then fat side down in the smoker and the fat trimmings from earlier I place on top.  I make doubly sure that my meat probe is in the meat and NOT penetrating the center fat layer. 225 to 195 -200.  Sometimes 230/235 to same temp. When it hits the desired internal temp, it should be jiggly. Then wrap and into the cooker till serving time.  Also, I never, ever open the door until the internal temp is reached. And I will use an instant read thermometer just to check the internal temp when it is finished, to be sure.

Everything Old Sarge said. 190 is too low for brisket in my opinion. I go 195 in the flat, and 200-205 in the point. Sometimes that extra 5 degrees can amount to an extra 1-2 hours of cooking. Undercooking is bad when it comes to brisket. It will be chewy. And...sometimes an undercooked brisket will "seem" dry, because the collagen hasn't fully converted to gelatin yet, and gelatin is what gives brisket (and other meats) that sticky moist fatty mouth feel. And also the jiggle. I buy the whole Prime Packers from Costco, and I don't brine or inject (just rub), and they come out good every time so far. Occasionally, you can get a drier piece of meat though. Animals vary. But I've had good luck with Costco. I've also had good luck with their Choice briskets, but I've only bought those when there was a shortage and no Primes available. So stick with Primes if you can.

Pork / Re: Time in smoker - Quick question
« on: June 16, 2018, 12:06:36 AM »
I left a probe in my last pork butt (9.5 lb) while it rested. Double-wrapped in foil, then a towel, then in a not-fancy Igloo Playmate cooler. It took 6.5 hours before it got down to 140. You've actually got a few hours after that before you need to even start worrying about any food safety issues. So I'd go with 2 hours/pound. It only gets better as it rests. And you want to avoid pulling it from the smoker early because everyone is waiting and hungry.

Anything Goes!! / Re: Broke down and ordered an InstantPot
« on: June 08, 2018, 01:15:14 PM »
YouTube has a video with a demo of the Instant Pot used for Sous Vide. Aside from tying up the pressure cooker for hours or days you don’t get the ‘circulation’ of the water. I imagine an induction type hot plate might be able to dial in an exact temp as well.

The current Instant Pots don't do true sous vide. Sous vide requires precise constant temperature, and water circulation. The temperature in the current Instant Pots is not precise enough. Plus there is no circulation like Sarge said, which can cause hot spots. The screw that holds the fan blade on my Anova came loose once, so the fan wasn't spinning, and my Anova temperature readings were going up and down all over the place within seconds, by several degrees. With the heating element on the bottom, I can't imagine that the Instant Pot could keep any kind of accurate temperature without circulation. There has to be a pretty wide range of temperatures between the water near the bottom of the pot, and the surface of the water.

Basically what people are doing in the YouTube videos is "poaching" inside a ziplock bag. So in some cases, you can get "similar" results to sous vide depending on what you are cooking. I'm not sure how they'll solve all of those issues with the new Max model, but seems like a tall order to integrate it into the Instant Pot, especially the circulation aspect. Sous vide seems better suited to a separate appliance. Too darn many mechanicals to break in one appliance if they try to add circulation. The new "stirring" feature they are adding (Nutri-burst) is just simply short spurts of pressure release that agitate the contents when under pressure, so that's already kind of a built-in feature that just requires a separate program. Since sous vide isn't under pressure, not sure how they'll achieve the circulation. Anyway... here's what the Instant Pot website says about sous vide with their current Smart Instant Pot model. Too much fuss. I think I'll stick with my Anova. ;D

"Instant Pot Smart can support limited sous vide cooking when food materials are not too sensitive to temperature.  You need to use our Smart Cooker app to do so. Due to the fact that the thermometer is at the bottom of the inner pot, the detected temperature inside the inner pot is an approximation. Calibration is needed. We did many experiments. With the same volume of water in the inner pot, the temperature can be maintained consistently within +/- 1°C between each runs.  The process of calibration is to set a temperature on the app, say 60°C, for a fix volume of water, run the program, measure the temperature with a thermometer, e.g. getting a 63°C reading, then modify the program to set target temperature to 57°C. For the same volume of water, the new program will be able to maintain the temperature at 60°C +/- 1°C."

Anything Goes!! / Re: Broke down and ordered an InstantPot
« on: June 08, 2018, 10:37:46 AM »
Instant Pot Max sounds good, as per c/net review: An Instant Pot rep said future versions of the Max will have a sous vide setting that will heat water to a specific temperature for sous vide, but it hasn't yet been made clear whether the first version of the Max will include it.
Still smokin, Ralph

I saw that. I have an Anova sous vide, and even if the Max comes with sous vide, I think I would still use my Anova (won't tie up the instant pot for 3 days if I am doing a long sous vide like chuck or pork belly). The Anova is so simple that I don't see an advantage to using the Instant Pot for sous vide if I already have the Anova. If you do not already have sous vide though, that will be a nice additional feature. I'm not going to wait for that version of the Max. I'm fine if the early versions just have the pressure canning. As long as they are safe and don't explode at 15 psi. :o

Anything Goes!! / Re: Broke down and ordered an InstantPot
« on: June 07, 2018, 11:51:47 PM »
I'm waiting for the Instant Pot Max to come out. Should be able to do pressure canning in it since it will get to 15 psi.

Bacon! / Re: Bad butchering of skin off pork belly
« on: June 04, 2018, 11:44:22 PM »
Anyone think my cure time will be affected by the lack of a fat cap?

Dry cure time is generally 7 days per inch of belly, so if it's really thin, it might cut down your cure time. But I'd probably still go 7 days minimum.

Model 1 - The Little Guy!! / Re: First Smoke
« on: June 02, 2018, 11:33:41 PM »
I smoke my butts at 225 degrees to an IT of 190 -195. I learned to never figure on an amount time that they will be done. I guess around 1.5 hours per pound but only use that as a guide. For example .. last week I smoked two ten pound butts in my #2 which were bought at the same store .. at the same time .. and the same brand. They both turned out great .. as usual .. but one of the butts was finished two hours before the second butt. Go Figure!

Different pigs have different proportions of muscle/fat, just like people! Even if raised together and fed the same diet, genetics will make them different.

Model 1 - The Little Guy!! / Re: First Smoke
« on: May 30, 2018, 01:29:33 AM »
Two hours per pound sounds about right, maybe even faster than I would have thought. Butts 5 pounds or less can take 3 or more hours per pound. The larger the butt, the fewer hours per pound they take. So a small butt can end up taking the same amount of time as a large butt. It has to do with the breakdown of the connective tissue. It just takes a certain amount of time, regardless of size. I also got my start with a WSM. Still have it. Haven't used it since I bought my #1, but I still think I might someday, just for old time's sake. When I need to remind myself how hard things were in the olden days. ;D

Beef / Re: 14 lb Full Packer Brisket help!
« on: May 27, 2018, 06:55:59 PM »
Sconnie’s Brisket Rub
5 Tablespoons paprika
3 Tablespoons kosher salt (reduce the salt by half or eliminate if you brined the brisket)
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
2 Tablespoons onion powder
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon chili powder (mild, medium or hot)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander

Brisket Smoking Instructions
Whole Packer Brisket
Cut in half to fit smoker if SI #1 or #2.
Minimally trim, only trim the really thick fat to 3/8 inch, score the thickest fat.
If you want a faux smoke ring, just before smoking, rub a dusting of Morton Tender Quick into the meat, plastic wrap, refrigerate 1 hour. Rinse thoroughly, pat dry. Skip this step if you don't care about the faux smoke ring.
Coat with mustard or oil, then the rub.

5-7 oz wood.
2 disposable foil trays, 2/3 full of water (can also add some vinegar to water). Placed on each side of the floor of the smoker, snugged up against the wood box.
Approx 1-1/2 to 2 hours per pound @ 225 (usually 2 hours/lb for full brisket cut in two pieces).
IT 195 in the flat, 200-205 in the point.
Wrap in 2 layers of foil and towels, rest 2-6 hours in cooler.

Pork / Re: More "Pullable" Pulled Pork?
« on: May 24, 2018, 03:55:22 AM »
Those small shoulder cuts never turn out good. And can take 3 hours per pound or more. Anything under 5 pounds, I would wrap in foil at around 160 to try and keep it moist. But the best thing to do is avoid the small cuts (anything under 8 pounds) all together. They just don't seem to have the right meat/fat ratio, and if they come from the picnic, they are not going to pull well at all.

The problem with an instant read thermometer is that you are constantly opening the door to take a reading. This behavior can go on for hours, and goes against the lazy-q lifestyle. A remote thermometer is what you want. Since you have to wait until Father's day, if you get a butt that is 8 pounds or more, you can expect that it will take approximately 1.25 to 2 hours per pound. 1.5 hour per pound most likely. You can go by feel, and it should feel like it's going to just fall apart when you try to move it. A thermometer will be a lot easier once you have it. What the final temperature should be varies widely here, but 190 would be the minimum for pulling. Some people go all the way to 205. I like 195-200 myself. Butt is pretty forgiving on the high end, but not very good if it is undercooked.

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