I have some questions and will also be sharing some pictures of my first attemp with a 15lb pork belly. I split the belly into 3 5lb sections mixed up pops brine. One plain, one garlic CBP and 1 with a syrup of maple brown sugar and vanilla extra boilled down and added. I have them in the fridge which is holding steady around 34F as it has been pretty cold in SE SD lately so it may have dipped a little lower than that but, nothing like last year.
First the questions.
1. The bellies have been in since Wed. the 18th do I need more time for the cure or what do you guys normally do for your duration? The thickest part was about a 1/8 over 2 inches with rind still on.
2. Either tonight or when they have been cured long enough take out, do a fry test. If to salty soak in water and repeat. Once happy wipe off and place in fridge uncovered for pelicule/ sticky to form. How long does that normally take? 24hrs?
3. I am using a old smoker that does not have a draft or air vent on top so I off set the lid to allow for decent air movement. The issue I am worried about is I am using a AMAZN pellet smoker and it is going to to be below thirty this weekend do I need to worry about the temp of the meat getting below 32F? POssible solution is a can of sterno below the smoker? I do not have a hotplate I am planning on doing this in my garage.
4. I am planning on using apple pellets mixed with a little hickory to make it last longer. How long of a smoke do you guys suggest with the low temps I will be dealing with?
Any and all suggestions are more than welcome with this adventure.
PICS to come soon!