Author Topic: First bacon!  (Read 390 times)

sweetride95

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First bacon!
« on: June 14, 2018, 12:13:50 PM »
Hello all, finally got around to doing some bacon. Got a 10lb belly from Costco.
I did a sandbox method of curing I found on here from Pork Belly.
8 days in the fridge.
After rinsing and drying, by test piece was a little salty. I soaked them 3-4 hrs in cold water, changing it once.
Smoked about 3 hrs to int of 145F with 5oz of hickory.
Rested a day, sliced, and vacuum sealed.
Overall, very very delicious. Still a little salty. I didn't get a picture of it salted before bagging. I will mentally try a little less cure next time.
Salty, but definitely still better than a lot of expensive store bought bacon.
Planning on getting another going in the next week or so.



« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 11:37:26 AM by sweetride95 »
Ben from IN
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Pork Belly

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Re: First bacon!
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2018, 09:19:17 PM »
Looks tasty Ben. It is Salt Box method. I am surprised it was salty, Your coverage looks right. Seven days should have been good. Use the same coverage and only cure seven days. After rinsing or soaking make sure you let it hang out in the fridge, on the rack uncovered for 24 hours.
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sweetride95

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Re: First bacon!
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2018, 07:14:04 AM »
Looks tasty Ben. It is Salt Box method. I am surprised it was salty, Your coverage looks right. Seven days should have been good. Use the same coverage and only cure seven days. After rinsing or soaking make sure you let it hang out in the fridge, on the rack uncovered for 24 hours.

Salt box, that's what I meant. lol
It was just a smidge salty. When you have it with eggs and/or potatoes it's fine. Reviews have all been very positive. Maybe I'm being critical.
The rinsing is obvious, but is soaking usually required, or just when it's too salty?
I did set in in the fridge uncovered about 24hrs prior to smoking. I basically followed one of your posts.
I found our local restaurant supply place and have started collected pans/trays make this a little more convenient next time.
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barelfly

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Re: First bacon!
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2018, 09:58:25 AM »
Ben,

That looks great. And seems like a simple process. I e never made bacon but your post has motivated me!

And, I love the last picture! Always fun getting to buy new things to help make yummy food!
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TX Gent

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Re: First bacon!
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2018, 10:39:58 AM »
Looks great Ben!

I have my first 5lb half PB curing in the fridge right now. Tonight I'm rinsing and soaking after a seven day cure. Then I'll let it sit in fridge for 24hrs and cold smoke with hickory Sunday afternoon. Thank you for posting your results.
John ... Smokin #2  South of "Hells' Half Acre" and along ol' Deer Creek

sweetride95

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Re: First bacon!
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2018, 11:35:00 AM »
Looks great Ben!

I have my first 5lb half PB curing in the fridge right now. Tonight I'm rinsing and soaking after a seven day cure. Then I'll let it sit in fridge for 24hrs and cold smoke with hickory Sunday afternoon. Thank you for posting your results.

It's amazingly easy to make some tasty bacon. I can't wait to get another run at it.
I believe you should hot to 145F following your cold smoke.
Anyone interested in bacon, mild or wild, should follow some of Porkbelly's posts. Makes bacon very accessible.
Good luck man!
Ben from IN
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Pork Belly

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Re: First bacon!
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2018, 05:49:11 PM »
I have never soaked to get rid of salt. My first batch was too salty I just suffered through it. It was not terrible, just noticeable. Using light coverage and only curing seven days I have not had another issue. I feel that first time makers of bacon always over cure. I know I did and everyone I teach, doubts me when I show them how little cure is needed. They all say they would have used more had I not shown them.
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SconnieQ

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Re: First bacon!
« Reply #7 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.

CURE OPTIONS:

Prague Powder #1 Cure (per pound of belly)
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt (Mortonís)
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.

PROCESS:

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.
Kari from Madison WI "77 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality"
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Walt

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Re: First bacon!
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2018, 10:16:44 PM »
I also use the salt box method, with great success.
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sweetride95

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Re: First bacon!
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2018, 08:21:03 AM »
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.

CURE OPTIONS:

Prague Powder #1 Cure (per pound of belly)
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt (Mortonís)
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.

PROCESS:

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.

Thank you for the thorough response. My next belly I will try the measures approach. 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?
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Walt

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Re: First bacon!
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2018, 09:02:28 AM »
Be careful with going much beyond 7 days. If cured too long, your bacon will become very hard on your teeth. 12 days will probably ruin your bacon.
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SconnieQ

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Re: First bacon!
« Reply #11 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
Kari from Madison WI "77 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality"
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Re: First bacon!
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2018, 07:08:55 PM »
I have not had a belly that will not fully cure in seven days. I have done bellies that average 2 inches in seven days.

Your salting all sides of the meat it will cure a two inch belly in a week.
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Re: First bacon!
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2018, 09:01:23 AM »
Not to hijack Ben's thread ...

Used dry cure in a double bag for seven days. Flipped each day once or twice and massaged each time. Rinsed well and water soaked over twelve hours with three changes of water till clear. Dried and refrigerated uncovered for 36 hours (smoking scheduled was inhibited). Smoked in steps 125/150/175 over 4 hours with 3oz Hickory to an internal temp of 145.

Results are beyond fantastic ... Zero salty taste with a very very slight sugar background after taste and a light Hickory enhanced flavor.
John ... Smokin #2  South of "Hells' Half Acre" and along ol' Deer Creek

BabsBBQ

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Re: First bacon!
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2018, 05:37:37 AM »
I am researching different methodologies of smoking bacon. Some say cold smoke and others do not. Can anyone give me the reasons for doing one over the other?
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