I need a little help with my first BBB.....DONE !!!! With plenty of Q-views

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by shoneyboy, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have been known to over think things a bit and I’m afraid that is what I’m doing here. I have been thinking about trying my first BBB[​IMG]. I have some concerns since I have never done this before[​IMG]. I’m looking for some information from someone that has done this before. What I was planning on doing is use cure # 1 (Pink) and dry cure for 10 days in the refrigerator (my first concern) or should I wet cure? Which I have no ideal were to begin with wet curing. I was going to treat the Boston Butt as a pork belly and cut it into 2” thick pieces. Using Alblancher’s curing calculator, I was going to use his calculator for pork belly without rind to get my cure, salt and sugar amounts. I just have concerns about using Boston Butts and not a belly, but I also felt that meat is meat and as long as I was following the cure recommendations, it didn’t matter what meat I put it on, it’s still going to do its job, right? From there I was going smoke it slow and low, 10 – 12 hours at about 100 degrees or so. The smoking process doesn’t concern me nearly as much as the curing process, wet or dry?  Any input would be appreciated….[​IMG]  Thanks ShoneyBoy.....
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2011
  2. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    BBB is super easy to do. If this is your first attempt and you are using cure#1 then I would suggest a wet cure (brine) to start with. Pops has a good, basic recipe on here that I use for my bellies and I'm sure it will work with your Boston butt.


    Instead of slicing that butt, you need to butterfly it open while removing the shoulder blade. Start at the blade and carefully cut the meat from the bone with a boning knife. The blade has a curl in it which is hard to work around but just be patient. Once you get all around the bone, continue horizontally through the rest of the butt, butterflying it in half. Now you will have two slabs of pork ready to be made into bacon.

    Doing a wet brine is easy and you can have the meat cured in 10 days with no problem. I do inject and I like to stir my bacon midway throught the brine process just to ensure even soaking.

    Are you planning on cold smoking or hot smoking the bacon?

    Here's a little BBB i di awhile ago..

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  3. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great Info!

    BB is so dang EZ, that you'll read this post in a couple weeks and ask yourself "What was I thinking?"

    I've tried both Brine Curing and Dry Curing, and lean towards Dry Curing

    Either way, it's about as EZ as it gets

    If you've got the room, try brine curing

    Next time try Dry Curing

    The second part is smoking

    Are you planning on Cold Smoking or Hot Smoking?

    What wood do you want to smoke with and for how long?

  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    The dry cure bacon calculator is good for all dry cured meats to the best of my knowledge.  I think what is important is that the meat isn't so thick that the cure cannot penetrate to the center without some sort of injection.   I like your idea of cutting 2 inch thick slabs.  Just weigh the slabs of meat before curing and apply the amount of cure required for each piece.  This may be a bit of overkill but I don't think it will hurt and it should help make sure the cure is evenly distributed.

    Please don't use the amount of cure recommended in the calculator to make a brine.  Dry curing allows a much higher amount of nitrite to be used in the cure process then when brining.  If someone disagrees I'd appreciate you posting and having that discussion.

    Good Luck,  I am sure a dry cure will work fine for this. 

    Looking forward to a step by step of what you decide to do.  You're welcome to spend the day at the farm and use the smokehouse if you want to do a long cold smoke.
  5. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think it's the other way around.

    One ounce or a heaping tablespoon of #1 will do 25 pounds of meat.

    Brines can go as high as 3.84 ounces per gallon per Pops recipe and it is backed up in Rytek's book.


    This is why I suggested to start with a wet cure..

    The wet cure also ensures equal distribution. I did a lot of dry curing with TQ but only wet cures with #1 so far..
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  6. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    When dry curing you determine the amount of Cure 1 required to attain an ingoing 625 ppm Sodium nitrite in the meat you are curing.  Immersion cured products are limited to 200 ppm of Sodium Nitrite  Nitrite dissipates fairly rapidily and the cure period when dry curing is longer then when brining so a higher initial concentration of Sodium Nitrite is required.

    When using brines the max ingoing limit of Sodium Nitrite is 200 ppm. Based on a 10% by weight uptake of the brine into the meat, i.e. the meat will weigh 10% more after brining then prior to brining, you require 120 grams of Cure 1 per gallon of water. 

    In retrospect when I said you require more Cure 1 when dry curing then when brining I was incorrect.   The amount of Cure 1 required for dry curing is determined by the weight of the meat to be cured.  When Brining the amount of Cure 1 required is determined by how many gallons of brine are made to immerse the meat and achieve a 10% uptake of the brine.  I should have said initial uptake concentrations of Sodium Nitrite are higher when dry curing then when brining.  Still, don't use the dry cure calculator to make brines. 

    Just a note some whole cuts are injected and absorb considerably more then 10% brine by weight.  Have you cooked an inexpensive ham recently,  30% by weight added moisture!   The amount of cure added to the initial brine is adjusted to insure a maximum 200 ppm initial concentration.   If you triple the amount of brine/cure mix that is absorbed you will use one third the amount of Sodium nitrite in the brine

    There is a much better explanation on pgs 39 - 41 of Marianski

    At least that is what I understand!  Sorry for the off topic post but I didn't want to leave the convsation open without a explanation.
  7. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Now that's a good piece of reading.

    Shoney there is a ton to learn about curing but don't let it keep you at bay.

    Here's a little more good info about wet curing.


    Get familiar with what is happening to the meat when you are using cures. Then do up a batch and post up pics and details as you go. If you make a mistake, you will hear about it. If you have more questions, ask them right away.

    I'm looking forward to seeing your bacon!
  8. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Pops brine/cure is about as easy as it gets.

    What ever you decide, don't forget the camera!
  9. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Pop's brine/cure is easier, but I wonder how many of us weigh the meat before and after brining to insure proper pickup of the brine.   I am curious to look at the concentrations of cure used in Pop's brine and find out what the weight change would have to be to get to the magical 200 ppm.  It's also important to remember that there is no minimum required amount of nitrite as long as the meat is properly handled.  It seems that Sodium Nitrite is effective when used in concentrations as low as 50 ppm,  so as long as the whole muscle meat is cured with the proper amounts of Sodium Nitrite to attain between 50 and 200 ppm for wet curing and 50 and 625 ppm when dry curing the product is "cured".  The safe range is pretty broad so more experienced people will recommend brining by "time" knowing that the final product will fall somewhere within the safe range.  When curing at the lower concentrations the final product must remain refrigerated to insure it's safety.

    I think most of us get pretty board reading the math behind this stuff but one day I may take a shot at a Wiki that properly explains all this.  The math is really straight forward and reminds me of my highschool algebra math classes.  It's always good to know why a procedure is either safe or not safe. 
  10. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  11. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now I love me some bacon both the BBB and the belly. I like to use the dry cure method just because that all I have ever used. After all if it's not broke .........
  12. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I want to say "THANKS [​IMG]" to everyone for the information. I do have a question about Pops recipe. Does it matter how much meat I’m using (by weight) when using his recipe? Pops recipe calls for 1-tbsp of cure, which is good for 25lbs of meat; does that work the same in brine? Or is it one of those things were as long as I have it covered with the brine I'm good? Thanks for the information again. I’m feeling more confident about trying this.....[​IMG]ShoneyBoy
  13. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    >>>>>>>>  Or is it one of those things were as long as I have it covered with the brine I'm good?


  14. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    fpnmf- Thanks for the fast response, I’m in the middle working on this...... and still over thinking it....LOL  
  15. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

     I’m on my 7th day of curing my first BBB. I’m using Pop’s wet recipe, so far everything seems to be going good. My concern is that I should be doing something to this bucket of meat I have in my refrigerator? I feel like this is too easy and I’m forgetting to do something[​IMG]. Something this simple and I have been scared to attempt it for a long time now[​IMG]..... This is by far the K.I.S.S. method. (Keep It Simple Stupid)[​IMG] if I have ever run across one.....Again, I’m an over thinker and I may just be over thinking it again.....I haven’t opened the bucket since I put it in the refrigerator last week, Today I couldn’t stand it and I had to open it and look and see what was going on with the meat[​IMG]... while I was in there I rotated the meat. I noticed that the meat was looking a little pale in some spots, a little red in others and it had a bit of a slimy feel to it, Is that normal? It doesn’t smell bad or look bad. So back into the bucket for a couple more days.....Some other post state that I need to let it dry for a few days to allow it to form a pellican (I think that is how it is spelled, Please correct me if I wrong) What does that do and why do I want it ?  If I don’t ask questions I will never learn.......here are some pictures from when I stated this process[​IMG][​IMG]......Thanks ShoneyBoy
  16. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    It looks like you forgot to weight it down to make sure the WHOLE things was under water
  17. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Oh ! I did I just didn't have the Ziploc bag in when I took the pictures....sorry about leaving that out.... 
  18. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ok….SMF friends….I have been working on my first BBB and it’s time to take it out the cure and smoke it. I have a couple questions, when I took it out the cure it looked pal and had what looked to be a slimy texture, Is this normal? Again, it doesn’t have a bad smell, so I cut off a small piece and fried it. It had a slight sweet taste and no real salt taste; basically it had a sweet fried pork taste.  I feel it is ok, but this being my first BBB I just need assurances that I’m not messing anything up( don’t want to make anyone sick)…… I plan on smoking it tomorrow, what I was thinking was less than 100 deg for 10 hours with Hickory and maybe some Apple. Do I need to worry about checking an IT? I understand it is considered raw bacon and needs to be fried before eating it.…… Does everything sound correct so far?????  Any help is appreciated….ShoneyBoy
  19. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Sounds like everything is going well to me. Just rinse it off good, I usually soak mine in fresh water for a couple of hours. Make sure to dry it off. Then  put it on a cooling rack & let it dry uncovered in the fridge overnight.
  20. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks SmokinAl that is what I did..... But I need assurances......

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