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Brining bacon with Dr Pepper...


fryguy
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So I want to do a Dr Pepper brine on some gorgeous pork belly I was lucky enough to find today. I'm thinking garlic, chilies, thyme and Dr Pepper syrup, but I'm worried that with a 3-4 day brine, the phosphoric acid in the syrup is going to mangle the meat. Any ideas? Should I just do a standard brine, and the a short dry cure with the syrup? I'm sort of at a loss on this one.

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I decided to do a two part cure on it. Here's what's happening:

1000g water

420g Dr Pepper syrup

200g salt

30g brown sugar

for 24 hours, then on to a standard dry cure with a handful of aromatics (thyme, garlic, peppercorn).

It should give it a decent blast of the Dr Pepper flavor without making the belly too mushy. I think the secondary dry cure will firm up any damage that the acid did to the meat (I don't have any science to back that up).

Just thought y'all might be interested in what I decided on.

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The 2 part cure ended up being a 3 part process. I started with the brine above, then used the basic dry cure out of Charcuterie with the addition of a bit of light brown sugar, maybe 4 tablespoons or so. I let the belly sit in the cure for 3 days, and on the 4th, I rinsed the belly and ladled in a ton of straight Dr Pepper syrup, at least a cupfull and let that sit for about 18 hours. Then rinse again and let dry in the fridge for a day before smoking it over hickory and cherry wood.

IMHO, this is effing fantastic. After the first bite fresh off the smoker, I did a little dance. Really. I won't go so far as to say that it's the best bacon ever, but it's damn close. *Damn* close.

Pics to come as soon as I figure out how to upload them from my ancient phone.

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