My first belly bacon is done

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by rbranstner, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have made BBB and Canadian Bacon in the past but never belly bacon so I finally scored some bellies and gave it a try. My buddy just bought a half a pig and I told him I would buy the bellies but he just gave them to me saying he wanted a few packages of the bacon in return. I liked the sound of free bacon so that was a definite score for me. I cured up 24lbs with TQ for 7 days and it turned out way to salty for me so I had to soak it for 5 hours in water to get it to a good level for me. I covered them in garlic & onion power and pepper and let them dry in the cooler over night. The next day I cold smoked them for 12 hours and this is the most smoky bacon I have ever had since I haven't cold smoked my past bacon for that long. It's really good but I'm hoping it will mellow out just a little bit more. I let it rest two days then I sliced and packaged everything up. Well enough on the details here is the proof.

    The bellies cut in 6 somewhat even pieces.

    TQ all measured out.

    After all the curing is done and they are taking a bath to remove some of the salt flavor.

    One of my many fry tests.

    Going into the smoke shack.

    Twelve hours later and you have this.

    All of them hanging for a bit before they got wrapped in glad wrap for a few days rest in the cooler.

    I forgot to get very many pictures of them as I was slicing them as I was the only one there and my hands were dirty. But here they are right before the slicing started.

    So now I have a few questions. Is there a right and wrong way to slice bacon? Kind of like how you would go against or with the grain? I couldn't see any grain so I didn't know which way I was suppose to slice it. I just sliced it the way that gave me some meat and fat instead of all meat or all fat. I was kind of limited on what I could do because I have such a small slicer so I had to cut them into smaller pieces but I would try to slice them one way and it appeared I was getting all fat some times so I would rotate them and go the other way and sometimes that helped but I still ended up with a bunch of bacon that it pretty much all fat.

    So my questions is what should I do with this stuff that is all fat? I packaged it up and labeled it fatty and was thinking I could use it for sausage or something like that. I put all the ends and misc. strange pieces in a big vacuum seal bag that I will save for making sausage as I know some people love using bacon ends for trim/fat in their sausage.

    I realized that I need to get a bigger slicer for sure if I am going to continue to do bacon because I wasn't able to slice it the way I wanted to because my slicer slide isn't long enough. As soon as the wife got home I said I need a new bigger slicer. And much to my surprise all she said was "OK". Sounds like I will be ordering a new one soon. Thanks for looking at my post.
  2. Looks good. I grind up the ends/pieces and fatty stuff in my elk burgers. 
  3. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Looks good. I just put my first pork belly in the brine last night using pop's brine.
    Going to cold smoke it on the 19th. I'm going to stick around and fine out the answer
    To question of which way to slice . I think i will have to cut them down to fit my slicer .
  4. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I had the same problem. I if I was able to slice them the long way I don't think I would of had so many pieces that were all fat. The fat would of been on the ends of the pieces instead of through the whole thing. Finally I just cut them in half and made smaller pieces so they would fit on my slicer and then I could rotate the piece until it would slice with both fat and meat in the piece instead of one or the other.
  5. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ross those look great. As far as slicing goes, I think most folks try for the longer slices but unless you are doing it by hand that can be hard to do. I have sliced off the end pieces by hand until the pieces got to the right size for my slicer then gone lengthwise. Or you could just get Chef Rob to come perform his ninja skills on them for ya.  
  6. smokinal

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

    Any way you slice it It sure looks good to me! Nice job Ross!
  7. gersus

    gersus Smoking Fanatic

    Looks really good! I myself wouldn't like to eat pieces that were all fat. I wish big slicers were cheaper!
  8. doctord1955

    doctord1955 Smoking Fanatic

    The traditional way to hang bacon is the other way so it stretches in length and to slice it that way also.  If you leave ur bacon in one slab and not cut it in pieces or just imagine u leave it in one piece then it makes more sense!  I'm lucky enough to have a big enough smoke house that i can then u will be slicing the short way or across the grain!
  9. tyotrain

    tyotrain Master of the Pit

    Great job sure does look good..[​IMG]
  10. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I could easily fit the full length bacon in my smoker but I cut it up to make it easier to apply my dry rub brine and package them individually. What process or container do you use to brine yours when they are that big?
  11. neutral

    neutral Fire Starter

    not to sound like a downer but isn't tender quick usually more for cold cures that never get exposed to heat because of the nitrates???

    I think the bacon looks amazing by the by. i have some bellies in the freezer just itching to get my smoke on. cant wait.
  12. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As far as I know you can use TQ for what ever. I have used it for hot and cold smokes.
  13. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ross It looks amazing .you know i got a good slicer you can send it to me i will slice it for you.[​IMG]
  14. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    How about you just send me your slicer. [​IMG] I like that idea better.

  15. sound1

    sound1 Smoking Fanatic

    Looks great, Grilled cheese and bacon sammies on the horizon[​IMG]
  16. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    Those all fat slabs would probably be great to use with dutch oven potatoes.  Or anything in a dutch oven for that matter.  

    -Except peach cobbler, I guess.
  17. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Good call. I've been meaning to buy a cast iron fry pan to start cooking with so maybe I will use that bacon to help season it.
  18. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Fat ends are great in Beans...Or my Fav Fettucine Carbonara!...The fat gets crisp but melts away when you eat it...Totally awesome...JJ
  19. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    For me, it is either ChefRob ninja skills or a better slicer.   [​IMG]

    There goes the toy budget again!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  20. doctord1955

    doctord1955 Smoking Fanatic

    I roll them loosely and put them in a 5 gal bucket or i have a 50# meat lug.

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