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First timer... (currently mid-smoking so any quick answers would be much appreciated!)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,




So I know there must be a million of these "I'm just starting with this and..." posts (I myself have read over a bunch of them!) but I'm afraid I'm going to have to add to the list.


I'm a US expat graduate student currently living in Japan - deep love for all things food (make my own pasta, I've made my own cheeses; I like making things that other people buy) but I've never done any curing or smoking before. Unfortunately, what this country calls "bacon" is a mockery of the term (I can't even get into all the reasons why it's wrong, but trust me, it's wrong), and so I decided to try making it myself.


Some things were easy to come by (pork belly - everyone eats it uncured here, so I just got my butcher to sell me some in bulk before he sliced it for sale), some things were not (prague powder was impossible; I wound up, after much trouble, getting food-grade sodium nitrite from a pharmacy and then got a grad student in the chem department to make curing salts).


Now I've finally hit smoke time...




I decided to cold smoke it, mostly because one of the reasons the bacon here tastes to bad is that it's pre-cooked (even though that's done by boiling, not smoking), and I have no intentions to eat my bacon without cooking it. They sell a product here called "smoke wood" ( that is essentially highly compressed sawdust that burns continuously without putting off too much heat, so I'm using that.


At any rate, I've read a million forum posts and websites on this smoking process, and a lot of people seem to have very different opinions, but the general consensus is that temperatures between 40-100 seem to work best. I didn't want to do this for a week, so I decided to try and push the temperature a bit higher. Since the smoke wood itself puts off little ambient heat I put a very low flame on my smoker (which is intended for outdoor use, but my exhaust fan is more than adequate) for a few minutes to try and bring the temperature up a bit, which was successful, but I think it might have been too successful.


Since moving it outside to my patio I've managed to keep it at a pretty steady 45 degrees celsius which is about 113 fahrenheit. From what I understand, this is still not quite "hot smoking" as it's below 120, but it's getting there.


My questions are two:


1) Is 113 an okay ambient temperature to smoke it at - or is it worth trying to put a bowl of ice in there or something to try and pull it down?

2) How long do people recommend smoking bacon for? I was thinking 8-10 hours but I'm flexible...

post #2 of 9
Welcome to SMF it's nice to have ya. Great people and lots of info. Have fun and happy smoking.

There will be someone along to answer all your ?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Have fun and Happy smoking :)
post #3 of 9

Welcome to SMF the biggest thing it to make sure you don't render the fat so the lower the temp in the smoker the better. I try to keep mine under 100 F. You will cook it before eating either frying or whatever. As for the length of time in the smoker I go by looks as well as time you'll see the color changing mine usually goes 10-14 hours. Again the amount of smoke you give it is a matter of personal tastes some like it with more smoke flavor than others

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hrm, that's what I'd read - I opened the bottom door of the smoker and managed to pull it down to 40C (about 105) which looks like as good as I'm going to get. I gotta say, even after 3 or 4 hours it's already got a nice smokey hue to it but I'll keep it going.... don't see any fat dripping and the pork itself is still pretty cool to the touch.

post #5 of 9

Keep it where you are at and you will be Golden. I would let it go until the Smoking Wood burns out then check for desired color...JJ

post #6 of 9

Welcome to SMF. is that  the wood you are using for smoking ?640x480px-LL-02c0f9c3_DSCN2275.jpegif yes it is good for smoking. if it gets hot in the smoker  add a pan with ice above it(the wood)

we got a member (lav25) from osaka that use this wood .

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the advice - I'm using a very similar product to that one, although it's a different company.

Didn't think there would be any other people living in Japan on these forums. I'll have to find out where he gets his supplies...


Smoking went very well -- the end product is unmistakably bacon, but it's also far too salty. I soaked the belly for about an hour before I smoked it (with drying in between), but it still was way too salty - I think I got a little overzealous with applying the cure... okay, a lot overzealous.


Anyhow, against my better judgement I soaked the slices in water for about 15 minutes and it made a HUGE difference - they're definitely much better than before and no doubt the best bacon I've had in a long time.


Still, room for improvement. Which is where the next kilo of belly comes in.

post #8 of 9

Lingua, morning.... Use the smoke wood and do not turn on the burner..... Lots of cold smoking is done with no heat.....  Dave

post #9 of 9

use the ice, it really brings down the temp. I live in ga. unless your doing it in the middle of winter, I need ice. I use a freezer to hang the meat in. Due to the great insulating qualities, ice does not melt at the eight hour point

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