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Really Nice!

Making Bacon

249 posts in this topic

No leak, it's in a big ziploc, and the ziploc is in a pan, so any leaks would show up in the pan. Salt/Maple Syrup was about 1/4 cup each, and a couple teaspoons of pink salt, for 5# of pork belly.

Good to hear, Todd! I'm not so worried now.

I do mine in a bag as well,and dont get much usually either,stillcomes out great...(I put the bag on a shelf in the reefer,however)

Bud

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Reviving this thread; I know bacon is *so* 2009, but I might just be a slow learner. And I still like it. This is my fourth belly to cure, and its the first one I've been really happy with - that is to say, the first one I'm convinced beats most of the store-bought brands out there. Red pepper and bourbon were the highlights of the cure, and it was applewood smoked (a thick smoke) for four hours. It's summer here in Dallas, so the smoking was done at about 100 degrees, despite my best efforts to keep the chamber cool. No worse for the wear, as far as I can tell.

photo.jpg








Edited by Rico (log)
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It looks good.

~Martin


~Martin

Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist, contrarian and natural born skeptic who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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RICO Thank you for bumping this thread! I'd probably never have found it otherwise... Just bought hubby a Big Green Egg & he's a "Smokin' Fool" now. I can't wait to try bacon.

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Hi,

I have tried the bacon recipe from the Charcuterie book a couple of times now; and find the 7 day salting to produce a too salty product. Have anyone else experienced this. I guess the correct timing depends on thickness of the belly and temperature? How do you know when to stop the process?

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Use a reasonable percentage of salt (and sugar if desired) and cure until the salt, sugar and cure #1 have distributed well throughout the belly.

2% salt is a good place to start.

I cure for 7 days per inch of total thickness.

Here's a calculator on my website that makes it easy....the salt in the cure#1 is accounted for in the total salt percentage.


~Martin

Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist, contrarian and natural born skeptic who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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We've made this recipe a few times and the first time we made it, we found it to be too salty also. Another key is to really, really wash the salt off well before cooking/smoking. This made a big difference for us.

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I am starting to nail this bacon thing now; and I have found the key to be practice. Go wonder. For me, the results have become far better after I realized that curing time depends on thickness of the belly. A lot of recipes do not mention this and recommend a given number of days. That does not work! Skinny pigs; less curing time. I have also worked in hanging/drying into my process. I hang my bacon after curing, before smoking for at least 24 hours to develop a surface that the smoke will stick to. This is usually recommended in recipes. I also hang the bacon after smoking for at 24-48 hours before consumption or packaging. I feel that this firms up the belly a bit.

 

Here is my process;

 

- Dredge salting; rub dry cure into the meat, shake of excess

- Mild vacum packaging ( I stop the vacum sealer mid-process) - I have found this to work very vell, And I feel that it is very hygienic and clean.  

- I keep the bellies in the fridge and try to weight them down a bit. I rotate and flip the bags every day. 

- After I am happy with firmness - I use meat hooks to hang the bellies for at least 24 hours

- I hot smoke to 60 degrees C in my Weber BBQ. 

- I hang the bacon for another 24-48 hours. 

 

Right now I have perfect conditions for curing and salting. Outside temperatures between 4-12 degrees C. So, more projects coming up :)

 

Here is from my last batch after smoking, and hanging for 48 hours - my best bacon so far!

 

bacon.jpg


Edited by glennbech (log)
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Does vac sealing the meat with the cure speed up the curing process significantly? For instance, I have a recipe that says to cure the pork belly for 7-10 days. The recipe assumes you're loosely packing the pork in salt and then wrapping it in a towel and placing it in a box. Would vac sealing the meat and cure speed this process up? If so, by how much?

 

If you cure your meat in a vac bag, do you occasionally open/drain/reseal/replace the bag? Or do you just leave the liquid sitting in the bag for the entire duration of the cure?


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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I forgot my piece of vacuum sealed bacon leaving it in the (dry) cure for five weeks. The meat threw little to no water in the bag. I sliced a bit off and fried it to test for saltiness. As it was a bit too salty, I put the whole piece in water overnight to draw out some of the salt. I then dried the meat off with paper towels and warm smoked as usual. It was probably the best bacon I've ever made.


Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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For some reason making my own bacon never occurred to me, but it sounds doable.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone has found a recipe they really like that doesn't include nitrates or nitrites. Most of the commercial products I've tried that leave those out have been less than exciting (either they leave out everything else that gives flavor too, or they get overly complicated with extra ingredients and you end up with a product that doesn't taste even remotely like bacon.) Annoyingly, nitrates and nitrites in foods make me wheeze so I would prefer to avoid or at least minimize the amounts used if I'm going to make my own. But I don't want to waste time and money on something that isn't tasty, either. :)

(Since it isn't actually an allergic reaction, my current solution is just to limit cured products in my diet and when I have them, they have to be extra tasty to make up for the annoyance of wheezing and coughing after. So that remains an option, but it would be nice to have a bacon-like product I could have more often without sounding like a sick dog for an hour after eating.)

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Does vac sealing the meat with the cure speed up the curing process significantly? For instance, I have a recipe that says to cure the pork belly for 7-10 days. The recipe assumes you're loosely packing the pork in salt and then wrapping it in a towel and placing it in a box. Would vac sealing the meat and cure speed this process up? If so, by how much?

 

If you cure your meat in a vac bag, do you occasionally open/drain/reseal/replace the bag? Or do you just leave the liquid sitting in the bag for the entire duration of the cure?

 

 

 

If the meat is held under sufficient vacuum it will speed the curing process (tumbling under vacuum speeds curing even more), simply sealing it won't make an appreciable difference.

The speed of the cure depends on a lot of different variables...the concentration of the cure...temperature....vacuum level...thickness and composition of the piece of meat being cured, etc.


~Martin

Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist, contrarian and natural born skeptic who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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If the meat is held under sufficient vacuum it will speed the curing process (tumbling under vacuum speeds curing even more), simply sealing it won't make an appreciable difference.

The speed of the cure depends on a lot of different variables...the concentration of the cure...temperature....vacuum level...thickness and composition of the piece of meat being cured, etc.

 

It's under vacuum.

 

What am I 'looking for' to determine if a piece is ready for smoking? The meat still has a bit of give to it but, I mean, we're talking bacon intended for breakfast rashers here, not a dry-cured ham.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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It's under vacuum.

 

What am I 'looking for' to determine if a piece is ready for smoking? The meat still has a bit of give to it but, I mean, we're talking bacon intended for breakfast rashers here, not a dry-cured ham.

Best way I can describe it is that if it feels like a well done steak it's ready.

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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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Depends on which breed of pig they are,  we have pigs here who  are know to be lean and it  all up to what the piggy gets to eat.


Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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Yes, there's always been some old-fashioned pork on the market but that's certainly not what "we generally buy in the supermarket these days."


~Martin

Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist, contrarian and natural born skeptic who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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Swedish pork isnt that fatty, due to the laws. Pigs cant be kept in small pens or be fed antibiotics with out a good reason  nor can the be slaughter with antibiotic or drugs in their system, They have to have nature identical  food,  bedding and  few more things.  

So the pork we buy in the supermarket comes from pigs that have had  fairly good life OR you can  chose to get organic outdoor if you have the money.   And  also there is many   outdoor, natural  running pig farms that sells their meat online and all you have to do is place an order and pick up or ask them to come home to you.  And if you want to spend even more money, you can choose half breed  or boar from a local store.


Edited by CatPoet (log)

Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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Bear in mind that even a heritage breed known for its marbling (e.g. Large Black) are often crossed with faster-growing varieties that are leaner. They also tend to be pastured, which can lead to a leaner hog. The flavor is still good, but if it's fat you are after you'll definitely want to see what feed is being given to a pastured hog.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Hi,

 

It seems that hot/cold smoking is a preference. With hot smoking - I guess temperature control becomes an issue. If you don't have fancy equipment there is a limit to how much time the bacon can stay in the smoker. I personally hot smoke for 1-2 hours, to around 135, which is good for my taste. I use hickory, cherry or apple spoon in a weber coal bbq. The smoke output is massive :)

 

Vacuum curing works great. You can rub your pork belly well with cure, shake of the excess and seal it. If I were you, I'd measure the thickness of the bacon and take notes so you can improve your recipe according to your taste over time. With the pork I usually get (skinny industrial) - 4 days seems to be the sweet spot according to my family's taste.

 

Remember to hang/dry the cured bacon at least 24 hours before smoking (you probably know this) - to develop a sticky pellicle that smoke can adhere to. I have also hanged/dried my bacon after smoking for 24 hours before vacuum sealing for storage - with great results.    

 

For food safety; don't skip nitrate salt in the cure. 

 

Here is my last batch

 

bacon.jpg


Edited by glennbech (log)

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Yesterday I cold smoked two different kinds of bacon for 12 hours over macadamia pellets. The pellets are supposedly made only from the nut itself and the shell. I found with my soldering iron-based smoker, at least, in which the heating element has direct contact with the wood that pellets produced a more consistent level of smoke than 'sawdust' does.

 

Note that tastings were done as soon as the bacon came out of the smoker. I plan on leaving them to air dry in the fridge for a day or two before portioning/freezing.

 

Anyway, I used two different recipes for bacon. The first was based on the very simple bacon recipe in Ruhlman's book, although I messed with the spicing a little: a bit of pepper, a bit of sugar, a few juniper berries. Significantly less salt than the second one. I didn't so much measure the salt to the gram as rub salt all over the piece of meat and vac pack it and leave it alone for a week. This batch tastes smoky but doesn't taste as cured as the second piece. I could see this piece working well for breakfast rashers.

 

The second piece was cured in the fashion detailed in John Currence's book, although again I made some changes to the spicing. A lot more salt, a hell of a lot sugar, a lot of pepper and some dried bird's eye chilli. I went easy on the later as I wasn't sure how much heat would transfer into the meat. I only vac packed this one for four days before smoking it but, perhaps due to the higher quantity of salt and slightly thinner cut of meat, find it tastes more cured than the older one. It's a bit salty but not horribly so like the first time I attempted this recipe (the first time round, I got lazy in cleaning off the cure before smoking the meat). Maybe slightly too salty for a breakfast rasher--although I was wasting a bit off the end--but I reckon it'd work nicely in a burger, salad or pot of beans. It's nowhere near as sweet as I'd have expected from all the muscovado sugar I used or from all the molasses-coloured water that filled the bag.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Hi everyone. My searching skills are not up to the task of finding information on doing bacon bones, but i will be processing half a backfatter next week and i would like to design a brine to do the bones for soups with a brine.

 

I'm happy with 3% salt in my regular bacon (i cold smoke and then bring up to temp in a custom home made smoke box) and i'm wondering how salty that is going to make the small amount of meat as i'm thinking that the bones themselves although part of the calculation will not absorb he salt?

 

I don't think i should guess at the meat weight as the salt will be too low to protect it in the brine.

 

Any advise from those who have done this before?

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