Decided to do a bunch at once, since it seems to go so fast around here. Bought 3 skinless bellies from Restaurant Depot, and one more skin-on from Cash & Carry. Soaked in Pop's Brine for 10 days, then divided. Most were plain, but I peppered about 10 lbs, and coated a 4 lb piece on both sides with Tatonka Dust. Smoked at 120° for about 12 hours, then bumped up to 130° for 3 hours more. Used a 50/50 mix of corn cob and cherry pellets in my AMNPS. They seemed to burn slow, but still put out plenty of TBS, so I never had to refill. I did have to re-light once about 5 hours in, but it couldn't have been out for more than 45 minutes.
Here's some pics:
One of the skinless bellies still cryovac'd. They came to about 9-1/2 lbs each.
The skin-on one at over 15 lb. It was still a little frozen. I brined with the skin still on, and found it is much easier to remove after brining.
Funny how something so delicious can be made from just a few ingredients.
45 lbs of belly and 30 lbs of brine made for a heavy bin. Not to mention the wrapped,10 lb flat brick I had on top of them. Lucky my daughter had a spare fridge in her garage.
Out of the brine.
Into the smoker with a box fan blowing on them overnight to form the pellicule. It was about 40° in my garage.
Done! The finished IT was about 105° Now I cut it into smaller slabs and vacuum packed, about 2.5 lbs avg, plus a couple bigger 5 lb slabs that managed to fit into the sealer bags. Should be set for a while.
Note the time on the clock. Yes, it was 11:45 pm when I got done. I started at 6 am.
And a test fry on a few small trimmings, as a reward. I don't believe in perfection, but these are very good. Skinny piece on the right was from the Tatonka slab. Dang, that's good! I should've made more of that. Next time for sure.
Edited by mneeley490 - 12/4/13 at 7:58pm