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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 :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, 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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1 hour ago, gfweb said:

 

But what about the stuff you buy in the supermarket? That's uncooked and smoked, no?

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. 

 

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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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There is a lot of fat. Think about cooking duck breasts or prime rib — it can also be fully cooked and have unrendered fat.

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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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says is certainly possible. Maybe its 138 instead of 140, but whatever.

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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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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


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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      Chris Amirault (aka, well, chrisamirault) is Director of Operations, eG Forums. He also runs a preschool and teaches in Providence, RI.
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