Not sure if I will ever buy bacon again!! Reading up about it on here, I decided to try my hand at making bacon. My family loves bacon and so do my in-laws (who doesn't?!), so I figured why not make our own. I looked through the different methods and types and finally decided on Buckboard Bacon as the cut of meat was cheaper and easier to find. I went to Sams and purchased their two pack of pork shoulder, each one being about 7 pounds. These still had part of the shoulder blade in them so I used my boning knife t cut that out and the I butterflies the shoulders (cut them in half horizontally, but not all the way through) so that they were about 2.5 inches thick when laid out. I used 1 Tbsp of Tenderquick and one Tbsp of Brown sugar per pound on one, and the same on the other, but I also added garlic powder and onion powder to the second. I rubbed the dry mix onto each shoulder then vacuum sealed them and put them in the frigde. Every evening before I went to bed, I took them out and massaged them (you can laugh, its ok) flipped them over and placed them back in the fridge. I let them cure for 9 days. I was wondering how the dry cure was going to get into the meat all the way, but after about a day, I didn't worry anymore. I noticed that the cure had pulled enough liquid from the meat that it had completely dissolved. I started on a Tuesday night, so two thursdays later, I opened both and rinsed the cure off, then soaked in ice water for 30 mins. I took them out of the ice water and cut a couple slices to fry. Tasted the slices and the salt content was good so I put them on baking racks in the fridge to dry. Friday night I took them out and flipped them over to make sure the bottom dried well. Saturday morning, I took them out of the fridge and they had formed a nice pellicle, so I fired up my MES to 100 degrees (it was about 30 outside) and started my AMNPS with a mix of maple and cherry. I put the shoulders on the top two racks so they were as far from the heat as possible and let them smoke until my AMNPS ran out. I started them about 10:30 AM and the AMNPS ran out at 9:30 PM. Easiest smoke ever with the AMNPS!! Never even had to open the door! Thanks Todd!!!
Once the AMNPS was done, I took them out and put them back on racks in the kitchen. When they had rested for 20 mins or so, I wrapped them in plastic and put them in the fridge. This morning I through them in the freezer for a couple hours and then sliced them up. Started with 14 pounds of meat, ended with 11 pounds of bacon. I already told my wife that I am planning on getting some more meat and starting another set this Tuesday!!!
Here is what I started with.
Here are the bones I took out. Not the greatest job, but I will get better with practice.
Here they are butterflied out!
And rubbed with cure and Vac Sealed!
This was after the 9 days in the fridge
And this is after a rinse and 30 min soak.
Here is the quick fry test for salt. Just about right!
And here is after 11 hours of smoke!
Such a pretty color!
Almost ready to slice. Into the freezer with you!!
Couldn't help cooking some up while I was slicing!
11 pounds all sliced
Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle!
I love that color!
Looks like store bought!
All packed up!
Not sure how long this will stay in the package! May have wasted a bag!!
A special thanks goes out to Todd for the AMNPS and to everyone that I bugged the past two weeks asking questions! Thanks for the information!!