Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Making Bacon


Really Nice!
 Share

Recommended Posts

Okay this is the result of my bacon that I needed to soak. It still turned out really well. So I am quite happy with the results but I will try the Ruhlman method and see how that works.

2564753290101492586S600x600Q85.jpg

Oh this morning I had the best bacon,egg and cheese on home made sourdough muffins ever. I am so loving making my own bacon. I'm smitten.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Wow. That looks lovely. The batches we tried with the Ruhiman cure aren't as pretty and I only smoked for 45 minutes* 'casue I was using mesquite and sycamore, which can give a strong flavor. The sweet batch was awesome (left - use brown sugar) but the savory (right) was dang good too. I guess I just favor sweet bacon... We had it for BLTs for lunch and the boys are already thinking we need to do 20 pounds next time.

I got my pork belly from the local Mexican meat-market. They had tons and even had it skinless as they fry the skin as a snack food. It was a bad place for visiting at lunch time. My diet was ruined for the day...

Kevin

*Lamb leg with mesquite seems to get bitter after 1 hour so I figured I'd be safe.

sweet bacon.jpg

savoy bacon.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Where there is smoke there is/will be Bacon

Nov 09 003.jpg

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Wow - fascinating topic, everyone's bacon looks so delicious!

I'd like to try making my own bacon, since pork belly is super affordable in my area (thumbs up on Chinese butchers!). My restriction is that I don't have a smoker or bbq, because I live in an apartment complex. So I guess I would be making unsmoked bacon (salt pork???), which is fine.

I've also got limited fridge real estate, so I won't be doing large slabs of belly at a time. I'd rather do smaller quantities, more frequently. I don't intend on keeping the finished product in my fridge for more than week - probably much less if it's really tasty! Can I freeze the cured belly? Or would that change the texture much?

I want to start with a dry-cure that only takes 4-5 days. Can I use the same cure mixtures for regular smoked bacon? Are there particular ratios of salt:sugar:meat that I should be aware of?

And what's the deal with "pink salt"? It's not the Himalaya stuff, is it?

Would love any input/tips/suggestions or simple recipes for dry-cures - thanks, all! :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unsmoked bacon can be very good, so go for it! Bacon freezes perfectly, so no need to worry about that: I certainly don't eat a ten pound belly in one go! My freezer is full of individual packs ofpre-sliced bacon. I'd strongly encourage you to read through this topic, or at least skim it: there are definitely some specific ratios of salt:sugar:meat to be had, as well as some sources for Tinted Curing Mix (TCM, a.k.a "pink salt", and definitely not the Himalayan kind :smile:!).

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a bunch of sources listed in this thread for the Pink-Curing Salt and here is another. I found this product at Gander Mt which is a hunting/fishing/outdoor Chain Store

http://www.lemproducts.com/product/169/Cure_Ham_Curing_Kits

Its fun try it

Tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses, Chris, Tracey!

I found three recipes that I think I'll try: Ruhlman's Savory Baconin the NY Times; Saveur's Home-Cured Bacon; and one from the Guardian.co.uk. None of them require smoking, which would be perfect. I wonder how they'd turn out without the oven-roasting, and just slicing and frying?

The Guardian recipe is a little different. It says to pour out the accumulated liquid, but give the meat new applications of the cure every 24 hrs, and it'll be ready in 4 days. Any thoughts on leaving in liquid vs. reapplying cure?

For the pink salt, I'll have to see if I can find it - I'll pester the butcher. From reading some of the posts upthread, pink salt is partly for aesthetics, right? And as for keeping spoilage at bay, I guess it's not crucial, since whatever I can't finish in a few days is getting bunged into the freezer anyway.

Can't wait to start playing around with this!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the bacon might be harder to slice if you dont roast and chill but....

I started with the Times recipe and 4 pieces of meat, after rubbing the first one I decided I hated the way the seasoning mix smelled so I did 1 more and threw that mix out. I made a half batch of the Pink salt, salt, sugar mix and added some maple syrup and pepper and did the other 2 pieces in that. They actually both taste good, I have used the savory one on cheese burgers and the maple with French toast so far.

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the absence of kosher salt, can one still make bacon (or cure other types of flesh--salmon, for example)?

I'm all out of kosher salt, and a 1.5 kg box (or thereabouts) is more than US$10. I have fine sea salt that has no additives (unlike Morton's kosher salt which has an anti-caking agent added), and it looks coarser than table salt, but it's definitely not as coarse as kosher salt. I might be able to get coarse, but I'm hoping to make do with what I have.

If I can use another type of salt (whether coarse or fine sea salt), should I adjust the salt measurements? For example, my usual bacon recipe calls for 2 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt for 2 1/2 pounds of pork belly. Would I reduce the amount since kosher salt is greater in volume than seasalt?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can absolutely substitute in one salt for another. Just aim for rough weight equivalents as best you can -- or, if someone here has Morton's handy, they can tell you how much 2 1/2 T weighs. (I'm a Diamond Crystal guy.)

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks! I already looked it up in one of the many kosher salt topics. It's something like 1:1.5:2 table:morton's:diamond crystal. (Something like that. I can't remember off-hand, but I know where to find the info again!)

I should add, the ratio was for volume measurements, not weight.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to Ruhlman in his book "Charcuterie" 1 cup of Morton's Kosher Salt weighs almost 8 ounces. One cup of Diamond Kosher Crustal Kosher salt weighs 4.8 ounces. He suggests using weights. Foe example, in his recipe for Maple-Cured Smoked Bacon, he uses 2 ounces/50 grams kosher salt to cure a 5 pound slab of pork belly. Hope this helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

OK, so I plan on making bacon with pork belly (US style), Pork loin (Canadian style), heck, I may even try buckboard bacon (pork shoulder). My problem is that the recipes from different sources have very different instructions, especially when it comes to smoking.

My reference list includes:

Charcuterie By Ruhlman and Polcyn (150 degrees F, hot smoke)

Great sausage recipes and meat curing by Rytek Kutas (128 degrees F)

And the Charcuterie blog on this web site (< 90 degrees F, cold smoke)

Question 1. what temperature? I have a hot smoker and can build a cold smoker by adding tubing from the smoke stack to a separate box.

Question 2. how long to cure? It ranges from 48 hours (charcuterie text) to 7days (other blogs).

Question 3. When to remove the skin from the pork belly? (charcuterie text says right after the hot smoke when the fat is soft). Other blogs say trim it before the cure and cold smoke it.

On the upside I am thinking that homemade bacon must be a very forgiving procedure to have so many different approaches. On the other hand, I don’t want to waste time trying all the methods to see what is best.

Has anyone out there experimented with the different approaches?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Question 1. what temperature? I have a hot smoker and can build a cold smoker by adding tubing from the smoke stack to a separate box.

You can do either hotter or colder smoke, and adjust timing based on what you choose. It's a preference thing.

Question 2. how long to cure? It ranges from 48 hours (charcuterie text) to 7days (other blogs).

That's also tricky. You want to go by feel, eventually, but I lean toward 5-7 days, as I like a more cured profile. You do want to make sure that the cure gets into the meat, and I don't really think that can happen in only 48 hours.

Question 3. When to remove the skin from the pork belly? (charcuterie text says right after the hot smoke when the fat is soft). Other blogs say trim it before the cure and cold smoke it.

Broken record: up to you. I go for Ruhlman's approach and remove it after the hot smoke. (Then I use it all up: that stuff is gold.) I don't see the point of smoking it separately -- what's the reason?

On the upside I am thinking that homemade bacon must be a very forgiving procedure to have so many different approaches. On the other hand, I don’t want to waste time trying all the methods to see what is best.

Of course, "best" is in the mouth of the eater. :wink: Keep us posted!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't remember the origin details till I referred back to my recipe just now, where I've noted "Erlandson sweet pickle with spicing based on Harvey/Kinsella and brining technique on Dubbs / Heberle".

In summary, I use an 80% brine and wet cure for 3.5 days. My taste is about middle-of-the-road.

As a Brit, I like 'green' or cold-smoked / raw unsmoked bacon. All the domestic-produced bacon I've ever found in this country is either hot-smoked, or if not smoked at all, then pre-cooked somehow. It never crisps up the way I like, but I've not bothered to nail down whether that's because of the pre-cooking, or because of something else. It goes dry and hard, but not crisp. (I can get imported green bacon that cooks the way I like it).

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... I use an 80% brine and ...

I see you've adopted Erlandson's terminology! :smile:

Maybe worth explaining that it means 80% of saturated with salt. Make a saturated brine (heat, dissolve what you can, cool, then filter) and take 4 measures of that to one of fresh water to make up the working brine. (Plus whatever flavourings, sweeteners, spices, etc.)

Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a dedicated follower of fashion.

Make a saturated brine (heat, dissolve what you can, cool, then filter) and take 4 measures of that to one of fresh water to make up the working brine. (Plus whatever flavourings, sweeteners, spices, etc.)

Interesting approach, that I've not heard before. I go by salt weight to volume of water. Another rule of thumb I've read but not tried is that an 80% brine is just strong enough to float a fresh raw spud.

Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

after wrestling with brines /rubs, and the final,finished salt levels, I use a dry cure amount based on the weight of the meat. My current finished salt level in bacon, is 3.5% in the finished meat , so, I weigh the meat and add an amount of cure that contains 3.5%(of the meat weight),in salt plus what ever else I want for flavor..,,Then I put the meat in a plastic bag , in the reefer and let it cure until all the cure is absorbed.. (well over a week),Bag needs to be rotated every day or so...In the end, the salt level is always right on, and is never wrong......(If using Insta cure#1 or 2 you need to take the salt weight in that, into consideration in your calculation as well)

For brines I calculate the total weight of the meat, the salt , the liquid, and other ingredients, and cure until the whole thing comes to equalibrium.(I made an excel worksheet to calculate that)..

Bud

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Make a saturated brine (heat, dissolve what you can, cool, then filter) and take 4 measures of that to one of fresh water to make up the working brine. (Plus whatever flavourings, sweeteners, spices, etc.)

Interesting approach, that I've not heard before. I go by salt weight to volume of water. Another rule of thumb I've read but not tried is that an 80% brine is just strong enough to float a fresh raw spud.

I believe that the whole thinking behind Erlandson's speaking of "an xx% {of saturated} brine" is the assumption that working with a stock of saturated brine (and diluting it as appropriate) is an easy low-tech approach, which can be scaled as appropriate to production quantity, rather than getting fussed about grams per litre and precise quantities of brine - though careful weighing is the way I tend to go myself!

Potatoes should be more consistent hydrometers than eggs, whose density varies with freshness!

For bacon, I've actually tended to go with the method qrn describes.

Weigh everything carefully. Close it in a bag with the pork (and a tablespoon or so of water to help spread stuff around). Put the bag in the fridge and leave it there for about a week -- while turning the bag over (and squishing its contents) whenever the fridge is opened and a hand is free. Eventually rinse off whatever cure residues and dry for a day or two (ideally hanging) in the fridge. Proper bacon isn't cooked until the time of eating!

I'd just comment that 3.5% of the starting meat weight is quite salty ...

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I'm following Ruhlman's Maple Bacon recipe in Charcuterie, and the recipe seems to indicate that the pork belly should give off a fair bit of liquid while it sits for a week in the salt/maple syrup rub. It's been a week, and though the pork belly seems to be firming up, it hasn't given off any liquid to speak of.

Should I be worried? I've never done bacon before.

For the record, this was pork belly from a free-range happy pig, not store-bought, if it matters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By daniel123456789876543
      I have been making pancetta for the first time. I have experience with the curing process doing things like bacon and cold smoked salmon in the past but this is the first time I have ever hanged anything.
       
      After a week of curing it has had 11 days  hanging so far (I was planning on taking it to 28 days hanging) Although I foolishly forgot to weigh it. 
      It smells really good like some awesome salami and the outer rim of the pancetta looks lovely and rich and dark.
      It was a recipe by Kuhlman in one of their charcuterie books.
      But when I inspected it today it had the mould growing on it as in the pics below. I have since scrubbed the mould off with white wine vinegar and returned it to the cellar. Is it wise to continue?
       
      Daniel
       
       
       


    • By liuzhou
      Following my posting a supermarket bought roast rabbit in the Dinner topic, @Anna N expressed her surprise at my local supermarkets selling such things just like in the west supermarkets sell rotisserie chickens. I promised to photograph the pre-cooked food round these parts.

      I can't identify them all, so have fun guessing!



      Rabbit
       

      Chicken x 2
       

       

       

      Duck
       

       

       

      Chicken feet
       

      Duck Feet
       

      Pig's Ear
       

       

      Pork Intestine Rolls
       

       

      Stewed River Snails
       

      Stewed Duck Feet (often served with the snails above)


       

      Beef
       

      Pork
       

      Beijing  Duck gets its own counter.
       
      More pre-cooked food to come. Apologies for some bady lit images - I guess the designers didn't figure on nosy foreigners inspecting the goods and disseminating pictures worldwide.
    • By DanM
      Normally, the local market has bresaola in tissue paper thin slices. Today they also had packages in small dice, probably the leftover ends, bits and pieces. Any thoughts on how to enjoy them, besides nibbling on it? 
       
      Thank you!
    • By kayb
      Linguine with Squash, Goat Cheese and Bacon
      Serves 4 as Main Dishor 6 as Side.
      I stumbled on this while looking for recipes with goat cheese. It's from Real Simple (and it is!). I couldn't imagine the combination of flavors, but it was wonderful.

      6 slices bacon
      1 2- to 2 ½-pound butternut squash—peeled, seeded, and diced (4 to 5 cups)
      2 cloves garlic, minced
      1-1/2 c chicken broth
      1 tsp kosher salt
      4 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled
      1 lb linguine, cooked
      1 T olive oil
      2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

      Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel, then crumble or break into pieces; set aside. Drain all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the skillet. Add the squash and garlic to the skillet and sauté over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and salt. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is cooked through and softened, 20 to 25 minutes. Add half the goat cheese and stir well to combine. Place the cooked linguine in a large bowl. Stir the sauce into the linguine and toss well to coat. Drizzle with the olive oil and add the reserved bacon, the remaining goat cheese, and the pepper. Serve immediately.
      Keywords: Main Dish, Easy, Vegetables, Dinner
      ( RG2158 )
    • By phatj
      Duck Leg Confit Potstickers
      Serves 4 as Appetizer.
      These are seriously decadent potstickers.
      I devised this recipe as part of a Duck Three Ways dinner wherein over the course of three days I dismantled a whole duck using various parts for various things, including rendering fat, making stock and confiting the legs. If you're super-ambitious and do it my way, you'll have duck stock and duck fat on hand as this recipe calls for; otherwise, substitute chicken stock and peanut oil or whatever you have on hand.

      2 confited duck legs, bones discarded and meat shredded
      2 c sliced shiitake caps
      1/2 c sliced scallions
      splash fish sauce
      1 tsp grated fresh ginger
      1 tsp grated fresh garlic
      pinch Five Spice powder
      pot sticker wrappers
      3 c duck stock
      3 T duck fat

      1. Saute shiitakes in duck fat over high heat until most liquid has evaporated and they are beginning to brown.
      Meanwhile, reduce about 1 C duck stock in a small saucepan over medium heat until it's almost syrupy in consistency and tastes sweet.
      Also, warm a couple of cups of unreduced duck stock over low heat in another saucepan.
      2. Combine mushrooms, duck meat, scallions, fish sauce, ginger, garlic and Five Spice powder in a bowl.
      3. Place a teaspoon or so of the duck mixture in the center of a potsticker wrapper; wet half of the edge with water and seal, pinching and pleating one side.
      If you prepare more potstickers than you're going to want to eat, they can be frozen on cookie sheets then put into freezer bags for later.
      4. When all potstickers are sealed, heat a flat-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, melt enough duck fat to thinly cover the bottom, then add the potstickers.
      5. Cook undisturbed until the bottoms are browned, 3-5 minutes, then enough unreduced duck stock to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/2 inch deep and cover the pan.
      6. Cook until most liquid is absorbed, then uncover and cook until remaining liquid evaporates.
      While potstickers are cooking, make a dipping sauce by combining the reduced duck stock 1:1 with soy sauce, then adding a little rice vinegar, brown sugar (if the duck stock isn't sweet enough), and sesame oil.
      Serve potstickers immediately when done.
      Keywords: Hors d'oeuvre, Appetizer, Intermediate, Duck, Dinner, Chinese
      ( RG2052 )
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...