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Trying to make Bacon....
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Riskdude
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Joined: 22 Mar 2009
Posts: 358
Location: Orange County CA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06 19 10:12 am    Post subject: Trying to make Bacon.... Reply with quote

So I decided to try my hand at making bacon. I got some Prague Cure#1 for Christmas and I have been doing some reading on how to do it properly. I looked at a number of sites and cobbled together a"step by step" that I will use:

HOT SMOKED BACON

Cure Mixture - Basic
There are 3 ingredients for the mixture that will coat the pork belly and cure it. The amount varies depending on the weight of the pork belly.

• Kosher salt – 0.35 ounces per 1 pound of pork belly
• Brown sugar – 0.25 ounces per 1 pound of pork belly
• Cure #1 (Prague Powder #1) – 1 tsp for every 5 pounds of pork belly

If you add additional items, such as spices or maple syrup, etc, be sure to scale the amount according to the weight of the meat, and always double check the amount of cure necessary and used.

Steps:
1. If you are smoking more than one pork belly, measure out the cure mixture separately for each belly.

2. Trim the belly to remove any loose pieces of fat. Also check to see if there is any layer of skin or membrane.

3. Combine all ingredients until thoroughly mixed together.

4. Spread the cure mixture (kosher salt, brown sugar, cure #1, any spices or other additions) over the pork belly, making sure to get under all the nooks and crannies and on the sides as well. Make the coating as evenly as possible on both sides so the whole belly has a nice coating on all sides. Make sure to use all the mixture that you measured out, based on the weight of each pork belly.

5. Place each coated pork belly in a separate zip lock bag. You may need to sort of fold up the sides so that the liquid that exudes from the belly is in constant contact with the meat at all times. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and seal it.

6. Place the pork bellies in the fridge so that they can cure based on the weight. Cure #1 penetrates about ¼ per day, so a 2 inch thick belly will cure in 7-10days. Some suggest adding a day or two, just to be safe.

7. During this time the cure will pull moisture out of the pork and the belly will release liquid so every day you want to gently massage the bag so the liquid and spices are well distributed.

8. Flip the bag over every day to ensure that the cure coats each side so that the belly is completely cured.

9. After the bellies have been in the fridge curing for the calculated period (7-10 days, based on thickness) they are ready, or “cured”. Some have said they will be a little firm to the touch.

10. Remove them from the bags and throw away the liquid.

11. Rinse them under cold water for a couple minutes to remove all the cure mixture.

12. Dry the meat. Some simply pat them dry, others put it on some sort of drying rack and stick it in back in the fridge for 1 day to dry out (form the pellicle). Some have said that a quick rinse is all that is necessary and then on to the smoker; that smokes sticks better to a wet surface. Choose the method that works best for you.

13. Set the smoker to be in the 190° - 225F° range. Choice of wood is yours: apple, maple, hickory, cherry, etc….

14. Smoke over indirect heat until the internal temp is 150° - 155°F, about 4 hours.

15. Take the slab out, place it in another zip lock bag, and immerse in a cool water bath to cool it quickly.

16. Wrap them in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator or freezer until fairly firm. This helps them firm up for much smoother slicing.

17. After slicing, cook as desired. Fry? Bake? Deep Fry? Your choice.


Had to buy a food scale and went to Costco today so I have everything I need to weigh it, mix it up and start curing. I think that will be tomorrows project. Wish me luck Very Happy
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mbellot
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Joined: 16 Aug 2010
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Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06 19 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like a good plan. Home made bacon is the best.

If you have a vacuum sealer use that instead of the zip lock bags, less chance of an accidental mess.

If you can hold a lower temperature I would start lower (170-ish) and then bring it up to about 200 after several hours of smoke.

I don't bother with the pellicle, smoking after rinsing seems to work just fine. I also skip the cooling part of #15 and just wrap them in foil, then wait a week in the fridge before slicing to give everything time to mellow.
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jess
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Joined: 26 Sep 2007
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Location: Fl.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06 19 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now you are in some serious chit. I caught the " Makin Bacon" bug about 12 yrs. ago. It took me almost 5 yrs. before it started to moderate. Next thing you know you will have a dedicated frig.,drying hooks, mini fan for said frig. vacuum sealer, etc. Even now just reading your post a little voice is screaming - come on man, add an oz. or so of cracked pepper to that thing!!! Good luck... Smile
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Riskdude
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Joined: 22 Mar 2009
Posts: 358
Location: Orange County CA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07 19 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks!! I have been thinking about it lately, but just got up the nerve to try. Lots of reading. When the first thing you read is "Cure #1 can kill you" and "if not done properly, botulism is the result", it gives me a little reluctant. Enough reading and comments from experts like you, give me confidence.

This is why the SmokeRing is so valuable!!

So, is Photobucket still a viable alternative for pictures?? I would like to post pics of the process.

Thanks again.

RiskDude
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Snowsmoke
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Joined: 03 Apr 2012
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Location: Melrose, MA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07 19 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haven't tried bacon yet myself but have done pastrami and corned beef - haven't killed anyone yet.

This post has me drooling, I have a spare fridge and a vacuum sealer......

I use http://imgbb.com for all my images on the ring. Basically one time hosting site that gives you easy embed codes, lets you resize picture etc. I just email the pics from my iphone at Medium resolution and they are ready to go!

good luck on the bacon & please post some pics for us
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gandrfab
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Joined: 08 Feb 2012
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Location: Edgewater fl

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08 19 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I knew a guy that cures and smokes his own bacon and it was far superior to any store bought bacon I have had.

I have been wanting to corn beef and haven't gotten off the fence yet.
Snowsmokem what can you tell me about corning beef?
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Snowsmoke
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Joined: 03 Apr 2012
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Location: Melrose, MA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09 19 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are some recipes on the ring but really good intel and many science lessons can be found in the link below

https://amazingribs.com/tested-recipes/beef-and-bison-recipes/home-made-corned-beef-recipe

once you do it that way, the experiments can fly, pastrami can be had, you can take in tons of salt without caring!

good luck
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gandrfab
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Joined: 08 Feb 2012
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Location: Edgewater fl

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09 19 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the link.
I did have a blood presser issues.
At one point while still smoking I just about removed salt from my diet and my BP came down, now that I quit smoking my BP is fine but I put on 60lbs Rolling Eyes
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k.c.hawg
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Joined: 17 May 2009
Posts: 1744

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10 19 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are a couple of my Bacon efforts. This first one has several links with recipes from our master bacon guys on here. Harry Nutzack was who I referenced for bacon. Follow the links to recipes and outstanding knowledge from a man that was selling 100's of lbs of his bacon a week from his restaurant.

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=70103&highlight=bacon

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=69697&highlight=bacon

Good luck.
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Riskdude
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Joined: 22 Mar 2009
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Location: Orange County CA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10 19 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the links and comments. The belly, or the Costco cut pieces of belly I have are in the bag curing since Sunday night. So far, my patience is doing well. I turn and massage every morning and look about 100 times a day.

Having never done this before, I am not sure what, if anything to notice as we go. Does it change color, change "firmness", speak to me?? As my Dad used to say, with age and experience comes wisdom. Guess I will have to wait and see.

k.c., that bacon looks great.. I can almost smell it through the monitor. I did look at many posts from Harry and the other Ringers as I was putting together my process and recipe. Hopefully they are all still around...

So far, my "to do different" list only has one thing on it: Get a bigger pork belly. Costco only had a pack with 5 pieces of about 1 1/4 pound each. I think things would work and measure better if I had a single piece of 3 or more pounds.

Looking forward to next week when I can smoke it. Just went to Bass Pro Shop and got some wood! I am ready to go.
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mbellot
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Joined: 16 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10 19 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Riskdude wrote:
Having never done this before, I am not sure what, if anything to notice as we go. Does it change color, change "firmness", speak to me?? As my Dad used to say, with age and experience comes wisdom. Guess I will have to wait and see.

So far, my "to do different" list only has one thing on it: Get a bigger pork belly. Costco only had a pack with 5 pieces of about 1 1/4 pound each. I think things would work and measure better if I had a single piece of 3 or more pounds.


You should see a fair amount of liquid accumulate the first couple days and the belly should firm up some. It might be hard to tell with the smaller pieces, its definitely noticeable with a larger piece of meat.

Next time you are at Costco check with the guys at the meat counter, they should have some full size belly still in the cryovac bags (that's how they get them before they ruin them by hacking them to pieces). Figure somewhere in the 9-12 pound range for one piece. I usually shoot for 3.5-5 pounds per piece, its what seems to work for me.
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Riskdude
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Joined: 22 Mar 2009
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Location: Orange County CA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10 19 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, that is helpful. I only put is a couple tablespoons of maple syrup and there is a little more liquid in there than that.

From what I have seen, 3 to 3.5 pounds seems to be a sweet spot on size. Next time. Very Happy
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gandrfab
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10 19 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Riskdude wrote:
Thanks for the links and comments. The belly, or the Costco cut pieces of belly I have are in the bag curing since Sunday night. So far, my patience is doing well. I turn and massage every morning and look about 100 times a day.
Are you that guy that can't leave the smoker lid shut?
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Riskdude
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Joined: 22 Mar 2009
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Location: Orange County CA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10 19 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nobody wants to be That Guy... When I first started, ya I would peek ....

Then I learned: "If you're looking, you're not cooking"
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Snowsmoke
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12 19 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

y'all are a damn inspiration!



grabbed up a 3.5lb belly on Wednesday and got it rolling. Will probably smoke it sunday.
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Snowsmoke
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14 19 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bacon update! Smoked for about 2 hours and 15 minutes at 225 using some applewood. Brought it up to 150 degrees. Read a bunch of different sources as you all did but decided for the first time to keep it basic.

resting


Sliced off the ends - its amazing how much darker it is now after a night wrapped in the fridge


Fried up the ends for a taste test, excited to use the old deli slicer tonight to carve up the rest

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Riskdude
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Joined: 22 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15 19 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks Good!! Mine is still in the cure phase. Today is 7.5 days. I was going to smoke it tomorrow (Tuesday) but we have rain in So Calif for the next 4 days.

From what I have read, a couple extra days of curing is not a big deal..?? Question

If this works out, I have 3 more small slabs from the pack that are going into a cure bag!!! Can't wait.

Also picked up some new charcoal. Home Depot is clearing out Weber briquettes. Was $20 a bag, now $3.90. I tried it over the weekend. A smidge slow to light but burns well and long.

ITS ALMOST BACON TIME..... Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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Snowsmoke
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15 19 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The final chapter.....

Chilled and then wrapped in plastic overnight in the fridge. Nice deep color.


Slicing and packing


Baked off at 400 degree for roughly 15 mins - lets build some sandwiches


Drooling


Anyone with a smoker should do this, endless varieties here!
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Riskdude
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17 19 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I finished the bacon yesterday in between rainstorms. Got a good 5 hour smoke on it. Temp got a bit hotter than I was shooting for. Pulled it off at 155 (got distracted), cooled for about 2 hours then tried it. It was ok, not great.

I am not sure what I was expecting, but the bacon flavor was much more mild than I thought. Not salty at all. I tried it again this morning and it was better. More bacon flavor but also a bit more smoke flavor too. I think I may have had too much smoke on it. Gonna try again though. I need to go through my notes and see what I can do different.

Still gotta figure out pictures to post the visual evidence!

RiskDude
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MountainMan
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Location: Mountains of Colorado

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18 19 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK you got me!
I'm ready to make some bacon....

Now here is my question.

Only having local City Market (Kroger) and CostCo near by is the CostCo prok belley OK or do I need to mail order?

And if ordering can any one recommend a reasonable supplier?

TNX
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