So I've been reading a lot about different practices on makin' bacon! Have to admit, I'm a die hard bacon fan, and a cautious cook, (after the servsafe classes I cant help it!). I've been reading about cures and brines and cold smokes and all, but I haven't been able to find everything in one spot, so I have some questions.
1st concern is safety, regardless of extra flavoring, what do I need to do to ensure the bacon I'm making is safe for me, my family and the friends I will be giving it to? I've heard dry curing is preferred but I'm open to opinions.
2nd, I'm pretty sure I want to cold smoke the bacon once cured. I just chose this because I'd rather only really fully cook the meat once in my frying pan than once in the smoker then again in the pan(I'd feel like I'm re-heating?). As far as temp goes for cold smoke, is there an ideal temp? It's going to be cooling down here in WI pretty soon, and the cold thing wont be a problem, but what is an optimum temp if there is one, and how long?...weight of meat unsure as of now, a time per lb or general rule of thumb will be fine!
3rd, Flavor! I've seen some great looking recipes but again, any opinion or input welcome.
Also, just for clarity, I'm using a Brinkmann SnP or ECB. Never tried a cold smoke, although before the mods I thought it would be easier than trying to hold 225 in this beast! I think with the area I have in the cooking chamber I should have plenty of room for the meat and smoke generator, unless it would still be a good idea to keep the smoke generator in the firebox(again, opinions/input please!)
As far as the meat goes, when I go to the butcher I'm planning on asking for pork belly(and hopefully not getting the same looks I got when asking the guy at the hardware store for expanded metal for a charcoal basket..haha), is there anything I should look for in the cut?
I've been tossing around the idea of ordering the AMNS, heard a lot of good reviews on it, otherwise going with the soldering iron & tin can method.
Finally, I'm not one to assume anything when learning something new, so dumb it up for me as much as you can! and I'll make from it what I want in the future. Sorry for so many questions at once( I have about 1M more!), but this seems like a great place to learn, and I want to know as much as I can, one meat at a time!
Promise to post Qview when bacon is complete!