I ran out of bacon the other day so I figured it was time to make some more. The last time I went for a spicy garlic bacon, which was a hit, so this time I thought I would try something different. I went with the TQ dry cure method. I put 1 TBS of TQ per pound of belly and 1 TBS of dark brown sugar per pound. I added just a little powdered onion and garlic and put into a vacuum bag. Before sealing the bag I poured 1/4 cup of pure Maple Syrup onto each side of the belly. I vacuumed sealed the bag and let it cure for 10 days in the fridge. Each day I turned and massaged the bellies. After 10 days I took them out and rinsed them. This is what they looked like:
I then did a fry test to see if they were too salty:
They were a little salty so I soaked them for 2 hours and let them rest in the fridge overnight. I did another fry test the next day and they tasted fine. I let the bellies rest for another night to dry completely.
I thought that since I would be cold smoking I should try some cheese as well. Why waste all that smoke? So I bought 4 pounds of cheese to go in with the bacon:
From left to right I have: Cheddar, Mozzarella, Colby and Pepper Jack.
I cold smoked the bellies and cheese with hickory using my Amazing Smoker. I put a gallon zip lock baggie of ice in the bottom of my MES to keep the temps down around 80 deg. I smoked the cheese for about 4 hours and then I pulled it. It took a nice color.
I put them in the fridge for a few hours to firm them up and then vacuum sealed them so they could mellow in the fridge for a few weeks.
I continued to smoke the bacon until they had been in for 12 hours. They took on a wonderful color. I am really pleased with the way they looked.
I put them in the fridge overnight to cool down before slicing them.
I sliced them up and we had a Sunday morning bacon and eggs breakfast. The maple flavor really came through. It turned out perfect!!
I vacuum packed the rest of it and now I have a good supply of bacon! I doubt if I ever go back to buying bacon from the store again. I am hooked on this stuff!
In about two weeks I will also have some great smoked cheese. It will be hard to let them sit that long but I know it is necessary to let the smoke work its way through the cheese and mellow out.
Thank you for looking!!
Edited by GaryC - 5/6/12 at 9:03pm