Bacon

Sausage making and curing meats.

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CJATE
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Bacon

Postby CJATE » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:33 am

I did a search, tap-a-talk must be broken, how have we not talked bacon.

HEB started caring pork belly. I've got a pound in a maple wet cure and pound in a savory dry cure. I'm going to cold smoke them tomorrow.

So very excited.

Pics to follow.

I'm looking for ideas on how to know its done curing?

Will I regret not borrowing a meat slicer?

Anyone had success or other freezing it? I know store bought freezes well.
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Papa Tom
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Re: Bacon

Postby Papa Tom » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:07 am

How long have you had them in the cure?
Dry will take quite a bit longer. What did you use for curing salt?
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CJATE
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Bacon

Postby CJATE » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:22 am

Tomorrow marks 8 days

I used pink salt in both.

Forget the ratio but was per google on multiple sites.
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Re: Bacon

Postby Papa Tom » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:33 am

Might be pushing it on the dry cure, I like 2 weeks however, pork belly is not that thick however, fat is not easily penetrated, however you will know by the pink color of the meat.

Almost all bacon today is wet cured because dry curing takes longer and requires cure #2 (the other pink salt) which opens the door for carcinogen formation especially in bacon because of high cooking temperatures when frying. Commercial bacon is injected with a curing brine.

Should have no problems freezing it.
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Txdragon
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Re: Bacon

Postby Txdragon » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:01 pm

CJATE wrote: I'm looking for ideas on how to know its done curing?

Depending on the size of the side, typically about 5-7 days. Also depends on how you cure it. I SERIOUSLY do NOT recommend wet cure. Trust me, this is what makes the store bought stuff so puny. During the wet cure process, moisture is added. This is good if you're in retail and selling it cause you're adding weight. Dry cure, you are drawing moisture out. Ever notice how 4-5 store bought slices can take up a 10" pan with almost no room to spare, then you end up with enough room to cook a pancake and 2 eggs in the same pan with the bacon before you start your next batch? This is due to the moisture going away when it's cooking and the piggy goodness shrivels up like a burnt out adult film star without Viagra. This is because they wet cure this bacon. When you dry cure, you are pulling moisture out; and when you finally cook it up, it will retain about 98-99% of its original size! Trust me on this one, you'll want to dry cure! Your call though!


CJATE wrote:Will I regret not borrowing a meat slicer?

This also depends on how thick you want them as well as your knife skills. If you have knife skill, no you won't regret. If you do not, put yourself in time out for not borrowing a slicer!


CJATE wrote:Anyone had success or other freezing it? I know store bought freezes well.

It freezes the same as any other cured/smoked/cooked/raw/animal product. Depending on your freezer, you can store it 60-90 days in your standard ziploc. Vacuum packed, up to a year or even longer!

There are a ton of recipes floating around online, only 2 of which I have tried and didn't really care for too much. I keep it pretty simple: salt, brown sugar, sodium nitrite, black pepper. Amounts of brown sugar, salt, and pepper depend on your personal preference. The pink salt, follow the recommended application per pound of meat.

My suggestions are pretty simple (Dry cure): Mix up your cure, rub the belly down once each side LIBERALLY apply the rub to the non-skin side (if it has skin. If not, then both sides get an even, but not overwhelming amount) put in large ziploc, place in fridge. Flip it over 1 time a day for 6-7 days (I usually smoke on day 7). The morning of day 6 (if I am smoking on day 7) I will rinse very well in cold water and pat em dry. Depending on how salty your cure was, I would advise a soak/bath for most of the day, changing the water out every 1-2 hours, then final rinse and pat down. Leaving just a tad bit of moisture, it's kinda hard to dry them all the way anyhow, I rub em down with some cracked pepper on both sides. They go on a small rack, then back in the fridge til the next morning. I have a dedicated rack in the fridge when I am making bacon! This time is allowing the pellicle to form (the proteins that have been drawn out to the surface during the cure process will create a thin, kinda sticky film or skin that supposedly helps smoke adhere to the surface). You can smoke it with or without the 24 hour dry time, I haven't noticed much of a difference in taste or smoke acceptance either way. I usually let it hang for the day just because i'm a sucker to routine! When smoking, you certainly want to keep your eyes on the temp and go NO higher at all than 175. Not 175.1, .2, .3, etc.. 175. If you get to 200, apologize profusely to the porcine gods and get that temp down ASAP! After about 8-10 hours, again, depending on the size of the belly being smoked, you should be at or pretty near close to an internal temp of 150. I have never gone past 10 hours before pulling the bacon from the smoke and it's been great for me thus far.
After the smoke is done, take it in and let it rest at least until the outside hits room temp then cut em up! I'll normally put mine in the fridge overnight and cut the next day.


I make bacon at home all the time. I'm not the frontman on advice or anything, just speaking from personal experience and what works for me. If this is the first time you are doing it, have fun and don't get discouraged! Pork belly can be a might pricey depending on where you get it. I normally pick it up from my local Asian market, and occasionally order it through HEB. Price ranges
from 2.69 - 3.49 per pound, depending on where and when I get it. Overall, even at the higher price you still walk away with a better deal pound for pound, making your own rather than buying it. I like making buckboard bacon as well as regular side bacon. Whole new ballgame there, but good stuff either way!
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Re: Bacon

Postby sparetimetoys » Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:53 pm

Will I regret not borrowing a meat slicer?


I got a electric slicer on Craigslist for $20. It's the best thing I have got off of the list in a long time. Makes cutting brisket a breeze. I have about 10 pounds of bacon doing a cure as I type this. It gets smoked a week from Monday. Spends the night in the fridge then has a date with mr. Slicer Tuesday when I get home from work. Some goes back in the fridge the rest gets sucked down in vacume bags and frozen and given to parents
Thank You to all the fine folks here for all the tips and advice so I can now smoke a chunk of meat and folks actually eat it.
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Re: Bacon

Postby spacetrucker » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:45 am

nice write up on making bacon.
I hadn't noticed the pork bellies a HEB yet, will definitely be looking and start the learning process.
Good Cue to ya..

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