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my first bacon--thanks to BearCarver. Pic heavy

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

You want the long version or short version?

 

The whole curing at home thing had me concerned, just because it wasn't something I could look at and say "that's done".  Just the idea of the meat being firmer is a huge gray area... I like black and white the first time or two I do something.

 

Anyway, I gave it a shot, leaned on Bearcarver for advice and encouragment, and sliced/fried/ate a bit of the finished product this morning.  And I'm still alive and kicking, so the cure process must've worked.

 

Here's the rig--4.3 cu.ft. mini fridge (non-working) with an AMZS in the bottom:

P1010800.jpg

 

Because it's 100 degrees out hee, I added 1-inch foil-backed styrofoam insulation, with the foil out to reflect sunlight/heat.  

Here's the belly in the hickory:

P1020745.jpg

 

Smoked about 4 hours the first day before I ran out of ice to keep the temp below 100.  Put the bellies in the fridge overnight, then put about 3 more hours of smoke on the next morning.

 

 

I'm using 1/2 gallon milk cartons full of water frozen, to keep the temps down.  Next time I will rotate frozen bricks in and out of the smoker.  I have 4 of them in the freezer.  I figure they won't add moisture to process, and the greater mass means the cold will last longer, if that makes sense.

 

Here's the bacon fresh out of the smoke.  I have 1" intake and exhaust, which isn't enough to keep the smoke moving. I put a box fan next to the intake to pump extra air in.  I have a computer fan that will be set up for the next time, and I'll be pulling air from under one of the frozen bricks, so it's pulling pre-cooled air into the smoker.  I hope.

P1020747.jpg

 

Here's one chunk mostly sliced, after being in the freezer for about 40 minutes  to firm up.

P1020753.jpg

 

The test fry:

P1020756.jpg

 

One fell off the griddle somehow--but I caught it in my belly!

P1020757.jpg

 

The aroma put off is surpassed only by the taste of this stuff!!  I'm so impressed it's hard to believe I did it myself!

 

I think maybe a slicer of some sort is on the "need" list once I get back to work.  

 

Oh yeah--I did do a test fry prior to smoking to check for saltiness.  I thought it might be just a bit salty, but, hey--it's bacon, right?

And the idea of that meat sitting in a sink full of cold water just bugged me.  Sure enough, the finished product is a bit salty, but not objectionably so.  I'm curing another chunk of this belly that I'll soak tomorrow and get in the smoker Friday.  Apple this time, I think.

 

Todd--your AMZS is awesome!  I can hardly wait for cooler weather to try some cheese.

BC--thanks for all your help!  I appreciate the thoughtful replies and advice.

 

Hmmm... preview shows no pics.  Let me figure this out here...   Got it!  I didn't have PB set up to give me a direct link URL.  All fixed now!

 

post #2 of 16

Nice job you got some great color on them slabs. Another fine bacon job. drool.gificon14.gif

post #3 of 16

Nice looking bacon! Bear makes it easy!

post #4 of 16

great looking bacon!

post #5 of 16

Your Bacon Looks Awesome!

Great Color!

 

I computer fan should be more than enough air for your conversion.  I've seen a couple guys take a cheap $7 aquarium pimp and place the tube next to the AMNS.  It does not take very much air to keep it going.

 

The other thing to keep in mind, is the size of your intake and exhaust vents.  Larger vents would help the draft.

 

Great Job!

 

 

Todd

No Creosote! A-Maze-N Smokers

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post #6 of 16

Nice color Simple!!

 

Good looking Bacon slices too!!!

 

I love that, "Caught it in my belly" !!!

 

Glad I could help,

Bear

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the  attaboys.  A couple of you have mentioned the color.  Isn't that just a function of the meat sitting in the smoke?  Or is there something else involved?   If it is just the smoke, will different woods give it different coloration?

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by simple View Post

Thanks for the  attaboys.  A couple of you have mentioned the color.  Isn't that just a function of the meat sitting in the smoke?  Or is there something else involved?   If it is just the smoke, will different woods give it different coloration?



You're right, the color is from the meat sitting in the smoke. I don't think there is much difference in the color from one wood to another.

There are differing opinions on heat/no heat, when it comes to taste and color.

It is my opinion that you can get the same color & flavor from cold smoking, warm smoking, and hot smoking, but you can get that color & flavor quicker with a little heat, and I'm talking a "Little" heat. Even the little bit of heat from an AMNPS seems to help, which is why I stopped putting ice in my smoker, when smoking Bacon.

Like I said, these are my opinions, and we know what they say about "everybody having one". biggrin.gif

 

Thanks again for showing that great Bacon.

Bear

post #9 of 16

looks good I think I can smell it drool.gif

post #10 of 16

This one looks amazingthumbs.gif

post #11 of 16

drool.gifBACON  

                                          drool.gif

post #12 of 16

Great job on your first bacon batch.  I'm sure it won't be your last.  Once you make your own, it's hard to go back to hormel.....

 

Glad you took the plunge, faced your fears, and made it happen -- good job!!

 

 

post #13 of 16

Looks like you nailed it. I like how you used the foil padding to keep the heat out.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

I liked the styrofoam idea so much when I realized how much I had left, I added it to the west side off the beer fridge in the garage. The afternoon sun comes through the glass in the garage door and really pushes the temp in the fridge up. The foil and styro made a world of difference.

 

post #15 of 16

Man I need to get off my ass & try that!! Looks awesome

post #16 of 16

Great job !! 

 

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