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Making Bacon


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21 hours ago, FeChef said:

Why does raw cured bacon have a longer shelf life in the fridge then cured cooked bacon?

 

This is certainly possible, and it's led to many arguments, over many years—I won't argue.

It's 'warmed-over' flavor, which many don't seem to notice, but some of us certainly do!!!

Hence, my preference for true cold smoked bacon.

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian 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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9 hours ago, Baron d'Apcher said:

Most of the stuff you buy in the supermarket is smoked and cooked to an internal temp of about 140F or somewhere close in massive ovens. 

 

But the fat is unrendered. Are we talking about different things...canadian vs american bacon?

Edited by gfweb (log)
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13 hours ago, Baron d'Apcher said:

Who or what says so?  Invariably, bacon is fully cooked during the smoking process, or else it isn't bacon.  Cooked bacon will last a very long time in the fridge.  

Every link i click on after asking google says 4-5 days in the fridge once cooked. I find this odd because i cure beef jerky and it lasts in my fridge for months. I am sure there is some scientific reason , or it's just BS.

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I doubt supermarket bacon is actually smoked in the way artisan bacon is :

 

i.e. Benton's , Fathers , et al.

 

a note from Niman Ranch re their uncured bacon :  

 

note the ref to liquid smoke.

 

it takes tie to naturally smoke bacon

 

and tome is money to AgraCon.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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OK. So I tested bacon at 140F to see if fat renders.

Materials- BSO, Hatfield smoked bacon, laser IR thermometer

Method - Heat at 140F for 20 min taking bacon surface temp at 0, 20 and then after bacon was returned to the fridge and cooled to 40F

 

Before

004.thumb.jpg.1c9f8ab293c185d39de60c8825f99a31.jpg

 

After 20 min. bacon temp was 138F. Note how both ends of the bacon have clarified a bit. No fat was rendered into the pan though

006.thumb.jpg.2292a5fb8270b72b5f8713a15d6b08bd.jpg

 

After 20 min in the fridge, temp was 41 F.  The fat has firmed up and is pretty white but not quite back to the preheated appearance

007.thumb.jpg.bc9bfab211d4e906382093f1437551d1.jpg

 

So what the the @Baron d'Apcher

 

Edited by gfweb (log)
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16 hours ago, gfweb said:

But the fat is unrendered. Are we talking about different things...canadian vs american bacon?

 

I am not sure what the experiment is, but hard fat (back fat) will not render at 140F.  Soft fat (leaf lard) will.  And a thin slice of bacon acts much differently than a full slab of whole belly.

When shoulders are smoked for a very long time on the cusp of 180F, much of the hard fat is still there, albeit it very tender.

Thinly sliced hard fat will render at higher temp, like in a 350F over or hot frying pan.

 

Crisped bacon (because slab bacon is, for the most part, already cooked) has much less water than the un-crisped/un-rendered slice and consequently will last a very long time in the fridge.  The USDA recs are paranoid fantasies meant to insulate themselves from worst case scenarios since the US food system (poultry in particular) puts the safety onus on the consumer.  I coarsely grind up bacon ends, render them stove-top, strain them, crisp them in a very low oven overnight and the bacon bits last for months in the fridge.

Bacon has lots of salt and nitrates specifically meant to increase the shelf-life.  

 

The "uncured" Niman Ranch bacon most definitely has nitrates in the form of celery powder (which has more ppm than the conventional Prague #2 cure) but because celery powder has varying levels of nitrite and has to be used in such minuscule quantities, the USDA does not recognize it as a curing agent and forbids the "cured" distinction, even though it certainly is.  Its all marketing malarkey.  

Edited by Baron d'Apcher (log)
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Let me rephrase my original question. Why does retail cured bacon have a longer shelf life then the same bacon cooked to crispy bacon? Basicly bacon jerky. Beef jerky lasts months in a fridge, so why should i throw the crispy cooked bacon away after 4-5 days like every website suggests?

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2 hours ago, FeChef said:

Let me rephrase my original question. Why does retail cured bacon have a longer shelf life then the same bacon cooked to crispy bacon? Basicly bacon jerky. Beef jerky lasts months in a fridge, so why should i throw the crispy cooked bacon away after 4-5 days like every website suggests?

Food safety authorities err to the side of caution and can not presume how much water activity is in the crispy bacon (level of doneness), or the conditions in which is was cooled or left out on the counter or whatnot.  To protect themselves from lawsuits and such, regulators limit the shelf life of products that spend time unrefrigerated and below 141F where spoilage can occur.  The regulations are often excessive: chicken doesn't really need to be cooked to 165F.  Pancetta lasts a very long time, but the USDA gives it a mere 7 day refrigerated shelf life, which is absurd.

 

Beef jerky is very different than bacon.  First and foremost, beef jerky is a dried, shelf stable item that does not need refrigeration based on the high salt and low water.

Of course you could freeze the cooked bacon or cook less to begin with.

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/meat-preparation/bacon-and-food-safety/ct_index

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  • 2 months later...

After reading the Charcuterie thread, I'd try to contribute in hopefully meaningful manner- a tip which I don't think was mentioned when people inquired about pork bellies with bones.

 

If you buy pork belly with bones, I'd suggest that the rack of ribs be removed in a single piece (sort of filleted out with minimum meat on the inside) and then cured, smoked or dried same as bacon (over here that means pure salt cure and cold smoking) and used to flavour stews, bean dishes and whole lot of other stuff. Our local butchers often do it that way and sell those smoked ribs at very affordable price (last I saw them at the market they were around $.50-.60/lb). They're very flavourful and because of being quite salty with powerful smoke aroma are quite often cooked separately at first and then added to the dish, lest they overpower the dish (mind you, smoked hock and pieces of ham are also prepared that way). HTH

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A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?  - Oscar Wilde

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  • 3 years later...

Just over 13 lbs. of pork belly vac bagged with an equilibrium dry cure.

 

20220606-191849.jpg

 

To be continued...

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After 11 days curing, the pork was removed from the bags, given a quick rinse, patted dry and spent the night on racks in the fridge uncovered. I cold smoked it with sassafras wood for 5 hours Saturday morning and another 5 hours Sunday morning (fridged in between). It's currently in the fridge wrapped. Tomorrow will be see what we got day.inbound4658950901181994732.jpg

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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46 minutes ago, gfweb said:

That fat looks a lot more smoked than commercial stuff.

 

Wish I could taste it.

 

I hope it's worth tasting. First time using sassafras. 

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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@Tri2Cook 

 

wonderful !

 

id like to ask about the sassafras , neutrally 

 

Ive done some cold ( ambient temp outdoors ) smoking

 

using pellets.   hopefully high grade.

 

Ive ben thought Fruit Woods  ( a favorite ,  including pecan and orange )

 

oak , hickory and mesquite .

 

never sassafras :

 

what were you looking for ?

 

 

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, rotuts said:

what were you looking for ?

 

Honestly... nothing in particular. I had sassafras pellets and sugar maple pellets on hand so it was gonna be one of the two. Maple sounded too easy, a gimme, so I went with the wildcard. But let's be completely honest, the difference in the results from various woods isn't generally as pronounced as we like to tell ourselves it is. There are softer and more assertive smokes and some minor variances but I'm betting if I did half in the sassafras and half in the maple, most people (most likely including me) wouldn't notice. 😁

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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@Tri2Cook 

 

excellent points .  I have no idea what sassafras smoke smells like

 

Ive done many others 

 

and to me , if the smoke is ' powerful '

 

the smoked item will have some of that flavour

 

fruit wood has a milder smoke than hickory and mesquite 

 

is a bit medicinal.   

 

I can tell apple wood vs maple smoke  in my corned beef and my turkey breast .

 

its a subtle difference , and Im happy w either .

 

mesquite  ( same smoking time )  turkey breast are gong to be a bit powerful

 

and hickory bacon is treated as flavor enhancer 

 

and would make a very powerful BLT.

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