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Making Bacon

Charcuterie

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#61 nickrey

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 05:13 PM

Once my Prague salt arrives from the US, I'm looking at making some bacon.

Living in a townhouse, I don't really have room to get or store a cold smoker. I do have a Weber BBQ Kettle though and have "cold" smoked food, including cheese, in there previously (one briquette over the other side of the BBQ with wood chips on top of it).

I found this idea on the Internet, which is basically a tin containing the smoking material with a soldering iron in it as the heat source (video clip is at this link)

Any ideas as to whether this will be successful? Has anyone tried it or something similar?

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#62 MikeHartnett

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 06:58 PM

No idea if that will work, but I've done all my bacon smoking on a Weber, and been plenty successful. I don't think you need any crazy gadgets attached or anything.

#63 Chris Hennes

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 07:25 PM

Once my Prague salt arrives from the US, I'm looking at making some bacon.

Living in a townhouse, I don't really have room to get or store a cold smoker. I do have a Weber BBQ Kettle though and have "cold" smoked food, including cheese, in there previously (one briquette over the other side of the BBQ with wood chips on top of it).

I found this idea on the Internet, which is basically a tin containing the smoking material with a soldering iron in it as the heat source (video clip is at this link)

Any ideas as to whether this will be successful? Has anyone tried it or something similar?

Thanks

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I think someone in the old Charcuterie topic mentioned something like that, and that it worked well, but really, the recipe in Ruhlman's book calls for hot-smoking the bacon and I have had very good results with it. Cold smoking lets you up the amount of smoke that gets absorbed, but the basic recipe is still plenty smoky, in my opinion.

Edited by Chris Hennes, 31 July 2008 - 07:28 PM.

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#64 MikeHartnett

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 05:37 AM

but the basic recipe is still plenty smoky, in my opinion.

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Completely agree. I really don't think it needs cold-smoking.

#65 nickrey

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 02:55 PM

Thanks,

I also want to do some smoked salmon as well, which I'm sure will need cold smoking, so I'll try both.

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#66 Chris Amirault

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 06:11 PM

I have two bellies drying in the fridge right now for smoking this weekend. One is a rosemary/garlic/black pepper cure that I've made before, but the other is new, with flavorings based on breakfast sausage: sage, onion, white pepper, bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. Reports shortly.
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#67 MikeHartnett

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 06:30 PM

I've got a Sichuan bacon curing now (from Fuchsia Dunlop's Land of Plenty), as well as the basic Charcuterie recipe. We'll see how they go. I'm planning on smoking the regular bacon tomorrow or Sunday, but I think I have to dry the Sichuan bacon. Does anyone know why I would do this? (I'm pretty sure it's supposed to dry significantly longer than for pellicle development)

#68 Chris Amirault

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 06:34 PM

I just reread Dunlop's instructions, and I think that she's talking about developing a pellicle, which is a form of drying. Since it's just for "several hours," I don't think she means actually curing it like it's lop yuk or something.
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#69 MikeHartnett

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 06:39 PM

You're right. I don't know where I pulled that from. Good. Now I can smoke both this weekend.

Chris (or anyone else), have you made the Sichuan bacon?

#70 Chris Amirault

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 06:40 PM

No, I'm waiting for you to do it. Photos, s'il vous plait.
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#71 MikeHartnett

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 03:57 PM

So, I tried the Sichuan bacon, used too much charcoal, got distracted, and burnt it to a crisp. However, I did salvage a bit from the inside that was still edible, and it was delicious. I recommend trying it, but keeping in mind two things: 1) the bacon is in thin strips, and thus will not cook for as long, and 2) do not use enough charcoal to launch a rocket.

#72 Chris Hennes

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 04:31 PM

I'm sorry to hear it didn't work out: I regard losing a batch of bacon as a fairly crushing defeat. I hate it when I do stuff like that!

1) the bacon is in thin strips, and thus will not cook for as long

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Could you explain what you mean by this? I am not familiar with Dunlop's recipe.

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#73 MikeHartnett

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 06:40 PM

Sorry. Her recipe calls for cutting the belly into thin strips before curing. I'm not sure if it's just intended to increase potency or what. Regardless, the bacon was in about 2 in. strips when I smoked it, and it met a quick demise due to my lack of attention.

At least I had a another slab of bacon to cheer me up after my loss...

#74 Chris Amirault

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 03:57 AM

I'm pretty sure that long, thick strips are the standard pork belly cut for most Chinese applications.
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#75 MikeHartnett

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 06:17 AM

While it is more authentic, my problem with it was that it exposes more of the belly to the outside, meaning that you get more of the 'salty outer edge' phenomenon. The flavor was very good, but I think next time I'd do it as a full slab because it got too salty in too many areas.

Edited by MikeHartnett, 03 August 2008 - 06:18 AM.


#76 TheSwede

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 02:14 AM

While it is more authentic, my problem with it was that it exposes more of the belly to the outside, meaning that you get more of the 'salty outer edge' phenomenon.  The flavor was very good, but I think next time I'd do it as a full slab because it got too salty in too many areas.

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I'm pretty sure that in Ruhlman recipe (quoting from memory here), you first rinse off the cure and then rest/dry for 12-24 hours (?). Presumably this both develops the dry surface you want and also distributes the cure more evenly internally.

In my single (successful) attempt at making bacon I didn't notice that the edges were significantly more salty.

#77 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 06:36 AM

I'm looking at the NY Times' adaptation of Ruhlman's recipe right now. It looks, well, dead easy. I think that, rather than cooking it in the oven, I can just smoke it in my Char-Griller; 200 degrees should be easy to maintain if I use only a few coals and keep the bacon far away from the smoke box.

The question I have is about the sodium nitrite, listed as optional. I figure that botulism isn't much of a concern; other than two hours or so in the smoker, the bacon will spend its life in the refrigerator. I'd just as soon skip the nitrite... but I'm also a bit of a nervous Nelly. Any recommendations?

#78 MikeHartnett

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 11:18 AM

Is there any particular reason you wouldn't use it? It's cheap, and it's an extra precaution... I see no reason not to, but I guess that plenty of people don't use it.

#79 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 12:56 PM

That's a good question. Philosophically, I'd like to keep the recipe as simple as possible, eliminating excess ingredients; but that's not a really strong opinion. And I don't really know how to balance the potential risks of nitrites against the potential risk of botulism.

When it comes right down to it, I don't know. Just looking for more information and opinions...

#80 Pallee

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 01:28 PM

Why don't you split your batch in half and do one with and one without the nitrite? There is a certain cured property you get from using the nitrite that you won't get without. It's kind of a combination of flavor and texture difference. As well as being a protection against botulism. I always use it but then again, I smoke my belly for around 10 hours and that's a long time in an anaerobic environment.

#81 MikeHartnett

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 03:27 PM

Why don't you split your batch in half and do one with and one without the nitrite? There is a certain cured property you get from using the nitrite that you won't get without. It's kind of a combination of flavor and texture difference. As well as being a protection against botulism. I always use it but then again, I smoke my belly for around 10 hours and that's a long time in an anaerobic environment.

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I'd be interested in hearing how that turns out. I've only done it with pink salt.

I've got a friend who might be able to get me some wild pig belly. Anyone have any experience with making bacon from a wild pig?

#82 Jon Savage

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 03:43 PM

I'm looking at the NY Times' adaptation of Ruhlman's recipe right now.  It looks, well, dead easy.  I think that, rather than cooking it in the oven, I can just smoke it in my Char-Griller; 200 degrees should be easy to maintain if I use only a few coals and keep the bacon far away from the smoke box.

The question I have is about the sodium nitrite, listed as optional.  I figure that botulism isn't much of a concern; other than two hours or so in the smoker, the bacon will spend its life in the refrigerator.  I'd just as soon skip the nitrite... but I'm also a bit of a nervous Nelly.  Any recommendations?

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The amount of pink salt (not sodium nitrite) called for in the NY Times adaptation of the cure seems excessive. Looking at the master recipe for the basic dry cure in the book using sugar instead of dextrose shows 10 teaspoons pink salt for a recipe that yields circa 3.5 cups cure. One belly probably needs just 1/4 cup of the curing mixture which contains about 1.5 teaspoons pink salt. A little bit of this stuff goes a long way!

I do think the nitrite addition does have a positive effect on both color and flavor in the finished product.

Edited by 6ppc, 06 August 2008 - 03:44 PM.

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#83 Dave the Cook

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 04:04 PM

The amount of pink salt (not sodium nitrite) called for in the NY Times adaptation of the cure seems excessive. Looking at the master recipe for the basic dry cure in the book using sugar instead of dextrose shows 10 teaspoons pink salt for a recipe that yields circa 3.5 cups cure. One belly probably needs just 1/4 cup of the curing mixture which contains about 1.5 teaspoons pink salt. A little bit of this stuff goes a long way!

I do think the nitrite addition does have a positive effect on both color and flavor in the finished product.

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That's a scary and potentially dangerous misprint, reinforced by the note that says that sodium nitrite is sold under various names, which might be true but is misleading, since pure nitrite isn't used in curing. In Charcuterie, the recipe calls for 2 teaspoons (12 grams) of pink salt, which would include 0.75 grams of nitrite. By my calculations, that's a reasonable amount for a five-pound belly, though you could probably get away with less.

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#84 Chris Amirault

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 04:23 PM

I've consistently scaled the Ruhlman/Polcyn ratios for pink salt down by 25-50% without detrimental effect to meat or family. However, I've really come to appreciate the pink color, plus the flavor/texture difference Pallee mentions, so I use it consistently.

No experience with wild pigs, but I'd think that the process would basically be the same, right? You're getting porkier pig, for sure, and probably leaner meat. But as for curing and smoking, I think there aren't too many adjustments to make.
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#85 MikeHartnett

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 04:32 PM

That's what I'm guessing. I'm going to run through it the same as I normally would, but I guess I'm just curious if it produces drastically different results.

#86 MikeHartnett

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 04:37 PM

The amount of pink salt (not sodium nitrite) called for in the NY Times adaptation of the cure seems excessive. Looking at the master recipe for the basic dry cure in the book using sugar instead of dextrose shows 10 teaspoons pink salt for a recipe that yields circa 3.5 cups cure. One belly probably needs just 1/4 cup of the curing mixture which contains about 1.5 teaspoons pink salt. A little bit of this stuff goes a long way!

I do think the nitrite addition does have a positive effect on both color and flavor in the finished product.

View Post

That's a scary and potentially dangerous misprint, reinforced by the note that says that sodium nitrite is sold under various names, which might be true but is misleading, since pure nitrite isn't used in curing. In Charcuterie, the recipe calls for 2 teaspoons (12 grams) of pink salt, which would include 0.75 grams of nitrite. By my calculations, that's a reasonable amount for a five-pound belly, though you could probably get away with less.

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Are we looking at the same recipe, found here?

It says 2 teaspoons for a 5 pound belly.

#87 Jon Savage

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 04:42 PM

Are we looking at the same recipe, found here?

It says 2 teaspoons for a 5 pound belly.

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Yep. Problem is the way that recipe is worded one could be tempted to use pure sodium nitrite rather than pink salt (which has only a small % sodium nitrite).

Pure sodium nitrite can kill you.

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#88 MikeHartnett

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 04:46 PM

Aaaah. Got it. Completely missed that.

#89 Chris Amirault

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 04:51 PM

Dave's point exactly, I think. :wink:
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#90 MikeHartnett

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 04:56 PM

That's a pretty awful mistake, especially considering it's made painfully clear in Charcuterie that you're not using sodium nitrite. It helps a bit though that they suggest to buy it at Butcher-Packer and tell you the product name.





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