Bacon Attempt #1 - Cold vs Hot smoke

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by 77datsun, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. So now that I have had my smoke vault for a whole 2 months, I decided I needed to try and make bacon.  There is a special place called the pork shop down the street from my house.  They probably make the best bacon in the state.  I figured that was a good place to purchase a pork belly.  Ordered one, and a week later this beauty arrived, all 10.83 lbs of skinless fresh side.

    I then cut it into 3 pieces so that it was more manageable.  I weighed each piece so that I could scale my recipe accordingly.  I decided to use a wet cure with salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, pepper, and cure#1.  Mixed up all the ingredients in 2gal bags and added the bellies.

    I stacked them in a large zip lock container in case they leaked.  I have been flipping them, and rotating the order they are stacked in daily.  It has been 10 days now.  I figured that since I have 3 pieces I may as well try cold smoking 2 of them, and hot smoking the other so that I can do a comparison.  I will be sure to post pictures when it's done.  Any advice or words of wisdom are always appreciated.

  2. Sounds good. That's gonna be something I try next month. Can't wait to see how it turns out.
  3. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You might look at the "Notes on what I learned" on page two of the below thread.

    Don't forget to use the vent full open, you want to wick away as much moisture as you can as fast as possible.

    My personal belief after attempting both hot and cold bacon smokes, establishing a good (excuse my spelling here), pellicure which is that tacky to the touch coating that appears when you get a good drying time on any cured product, is a very important part of getting a good smoke. The more I smoke the more I believe this. Also the difference between hot and cold smoked is a small change in finished density of the veins of meat. Not much though. Like all things I decided I like Low & Slow.

    Let the bacon sit out in the reefer and mellow some, I found the fresher the bacon the easier it burns. I don't know if its all the sugar I use when curing but a week or two sure makes the frying easier.

    Here is another good bacon thread:

    And another from Mr. Bearcarver

    I am still learning, but the above two links should help you right thru the process. BTW Each time I cure a side I swear it has no meat on it, everytime I fry a few slices I usually need some oil because the bacon has so little fat....LOL 1/2 empty or half full?

    Remember though to have fun and enjoy the smoke.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013
  4. Update:  I have smoked and tried both types of bacon.  I hot smoked the bacon at 225 until it reached an internal temperature of 150.  Here are some pictures.

    thatcho likes this.
  5. It was cool (for Phoenix) last weekend so I managed to get the cold smoking done as well.  The night before I smoked the bacon, I put it in front of a fan for 2-3 hours in order to form the pellicle.  It seemed to form a sticky exterior, but never having done it before it was difficult to judge if I dried it long enough.  At 5:00am it was 55deg out.  I smoked the third piece with the soldering iron and tin can method.  I had to add ice after a couple hours to keep the temp below 80.  I pulled them after about 4 hours when I could no longer keep the temp below 80.  I put it in fridge and then in the evening when the temps went back down, smoked it for another 2 hours for a total of approximately 6 hours.  I was to excited to taste it and forgot to take a picture of the slab.  Here is a pic of some slices.

    I noticed that the color wasn't as dark on the outside of the cold smoked bacon.  That being said, it had a slightly stronger smoke flavor.   The odd thing about the hot smoked bacon, was that you could tell it was fully cooked by looking at it.  It still fried up fine, but the cold smoked bacon was more like what I am used to.  If I had to pick which was better I would say the cold smoked, but honestly the difference was very subtle.  Both were far superior to store bacon.

    Due to my location it will be extremely difficult to cold smoke a portion of the year.  I think the season will simply dictate what method I use in the future.  Overall my wife and I were both pleased with the results.  I will definitely be doing this again in the future. Thanks to everyone on the forums who posted how to do this.

  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Tasty looking bacon! I prefer cold smoked bacon to hot smoked. Typically I smoke my bacon for around 6 hours, put in the fridge for a days rest, then repeat the smoke process. I do this several times until I get the color I am looking for. Usually around 16-24 hours of smoke total when all said and done. After I get the bacon where I want it I let it rest in the fridge for a couple days before slicing and packaging.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
  7. I really need to get a vacume sealer and a meat slicer. I found that slicing by hand is extreemly difficult. I put the bacon in the freezer for an hour or two and that helped a lot. My hands just aren't steady enough I guess.
  8. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I made a deal with my butcher when I bought the sides. She was going to slice 'em for me, (I don't have a son to buy a nice Hobart for me). I was going to then just stick 'em in ziplocks but she went ahead and took 'em over to the vacuum machine and sealed 'em each time. After 6 bellies worth of help, i bought her a bottle of Crown.

    I appreciated her help and suggestions, I am thinking she liked the Crown, its hunting season here. Win/Win

    I decided my cherry bacon smoked were 120 IT on the top left, with a 90 min warm up to dry the bacon, and a 4 to 5 hour smoke and corn cob really surprized me.

    Thats some tastee lookin bacon, and a really pretty side.

    Can ya close your eyes and still smell it? Thanks a great smoke.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
  9. I can still smell it. especially when I open the fridge. Or maybe that's the cheese I smoked with it. Either way. I read your article on the corn cob smoke and that sounded interesting. If I don't get an Amazin smoker for x-mas I will need to buy one. I think that would make the cold smoking much easier.

  10. thatcho

    thatcho Meat Mopper

    outstanding looking bacon...Yum[​IMG]
  11. Good looking Bacon! I also live near the pork shop you are right they have the best bacon around no doubt. I just got my belly from them also and it is in the smoker now. How did yours turn out in comparison the pork shop bacon?
  12. Y'all talking about the pork shoppe in queen creek? I love that place. That bacon makes me want to try my hand at some myself.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2013
  13. It turned out good. I used a good deal of maple syrup in mine. I don't think they use any. I would say the quality was there, but the taste was different. My guess is that they use something closer to Pop's brine that I have seen here. Next time I do some bacon I plan on trying it that way.
  14. trailer trash

    trailer trash Newbie

    Your bacon looks great! I've been a BBQ'r for years along with making sausage but have never cold smoked before. I've been reading daily over all the info on this site trying to absorb all the knowledge from these guys. Wow what a great bunch! I currently have three bellies on a make shift smoker I built. I have a job that gets in the way of my life so I'm smoking about four hours each night, then into my wine cooler till the next night and repeat. I live about 20 minutes from the "Pork Shop" in Queen Creek, AZ Just ordered a 24 rib pork crown roast for Christmas from them today. Great people! Thanks for sharing your bacon information!
  15. That's great looking bacon!

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