I was intrigued by Mr T's thread and some PM's where we discussed the duration of dry curing bacon and the equalization of salt, and decided to experiment a bit myself based on that information. The plan is to dry cure the bacon for 14 days, rinse and allow to equalize for 2 days, cold smoke for 2 days, then allow smoke to equalize for another 3 days for a total of 21 days. Here is his original post on the subject:
Here is my basic recipe, per pound of pork belly:
1/2 oz Morton Tender Quick (approx 1 level TBS, but better to weigh it)
1 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS maple meat rub
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
On November 1st, after trimming the belly and cutting it to fit in 1 gallon ziplock bags, I ended up with 3 pieces at 3lb 3oz, 2lb 3oz, and 1lb 2oz. While the weights were quite a bit different, the thickest part of all of the pieces were between 1 1/2 and 2 inches thick. I carefully weighed the TQ on individual paper plates (1.6 oz, 1.1 oz, and .6 oz). I rubbed in the TQ first, to make sure it was evenly distributed and well rubbed into the meat. I made sure to do one piece at a time on a plate, so that any TQ that fell off would stay with that piece of meat. After rubbing in the TQ if added the other ingredients based on weights, but wasn't as worried about getting those exactly right.
Belly the way I received it from the butcher:
TQ measured on paper plates. I wrote the weight on the plate and kept them in order so as not to get confused.
Rubbed in TQ first, then added other ingredients to each piece.
They then went into 1 gallon heavy duty food storage bags, and into a refrigerator that maintains 36-38 degrees. I pulled them out every day for the first week, then every other day after that to massage and flip over. I was basically just making sure that any liquid was redistributed in the bags and that there weren't any place being missed.
There was quite of bit of liquid after the first day, but this was mostly re-absorbed after a couple of days as the meat firmed up.
This morning (November 14) I pulled the bacon out of the bags, rinsed and placed on racks back in the refrigerator to equalize for 2 days.
Bacon rinsed and dried with paper towels
Back into the refrigerator. You can see some more belly in here that I had in Pop's brine for that same amount of time, most of that will be used for salt pork for Swedish pult later this month (I'll create a separate thread for that). I also have a picnic ham still in the brine, I'll have updates on that on another thread I already started.
The temp got up to about 40 degrees with me messing around with the door open, but that will drop back to where I want it in a bit.
I'll be back on Saturday with some more Qview on the cold smoke. Thanks for looking!