After joining the forum and reading on how making my own would surpass store bought bacon, I was intrigued and decided to jump in....a few times as noted by the threads dedicated to my endeavors. Each time, I used Pops brine, which I love as it's so easy to do. Not to mention, Pop is an outstanding member and always willing to help.
However, I had some personal issues, not with Pops brine but how the bacon turned out:
1st time: Made the brine as is, no additional ingredients. Good tasting bacon, a bit too sweet for my liking, not a bad first time but still preferred store bought. Would try again.
2nd time: Made the brine as is with the addition of garlic and onion powder and CBP added to the brine. Also sprinkled some on during pellicle formation. Good tasting bacon, still a bit too sweet (guess I should have reduced the sugar), better than first but really didn't get the flavor profile from the onion, garlic and CBP I was expecting. Would make bacon again, but now not really in a hurry...store bought is still better.
Now here I am today, sitting with 25lbs of pork bellies because I couldn't resist the urge to make more bacon, with the hopes that I can make something that I enjoy equally or more than my beloved store bought bacon. Note: I completely understand if by now you've already deemed me crazy.
So, questions I have:
Wet cure: Not sure I want to try again because of the "sweetness" factor I had with both previous times. Not to mention that I really didn't get the flavor I expected with the onion, garlic and CBP that were in suspension but not direct contact with the meat per se. Any suggestions on improvement?
Dry cure: Haven't tried but want to, however, doesn't seem as fool proof as Pops brine. I'm not worried about measuring the right amount of cure #1 as there are calculators for that but more concerned on the flavor outcome. Todd Johnson has a recipe that sounds good for 10lbs of bellies but I can easily calculate the additional seasonings I need for my 12lbs or so. What I'm concerned about is the flavor again. Any suggestions or recipes that you guys have had luck on?
I know alot of smoking and taste is trial and error and I'm not opposed....I've spent a bunch of time with pork butts to get pulled pork exactly how I want it, but bacon...in my mind....seems more daunting to me in regards to achieving the right flavor, especially since I have no issues with store bought bacon and enjoy the taste.
Thanks for letting me use you guys as a sounding board and any suggestions are welcomed. I'll go back to my padded room now