Hello everyone, great forum you have here ! I have a few questions and I'm sure the answers are out there but maybe you guys can give me the cliff notes... I just started a wet cure with Pop's real simple curing brine. I have six pieces of skin on belly soaking right now and they are all roughly 3# each, give or take and plan on them soaking close to 14 days. I chose 14 because everything I've read says the extra couple days won't hurt any. None of it is over 2" really..
I've read a lot but am having a problem connecting what I've read to the actual process/product. Please feel free to correct me or point me in a different direction, add or subtract info, etc... I am here to learn...and I'm a little thick headed and would appreciate the help..
Let's say I'm at day 14 and I'm ready to proceed. I pull the meat out and dry it really well:
1) Is this where I apply seasoning to the outside of the meat, pepper garlic powder, whatever (besides what it's brined in) ?
2) When does the skin get removed ? I've read before before smoking and after smoking.. ?
3) I've also read it needs to go in the fridge uncovered 1-2 days to dry and I'm looking for a pellicle at this point, right ? From what I've gathered it is when the meat is rather tacky to the touch ? Can someone expand on this if necessary ?
This is where things get really cloudy to me...the smoking options and how it applies to the cured meat and safety. Assuming the meat is now dry/has a pellicle:
I want to smoke it, but I have a pellet grill. Lowest it will go is 150, but 170F is closer to actual. Pops's mentioned he likes to hot smoke his bacon to 145F (for safety) but my PG will get this bacon up to those temps in no time. Suggestions ?
I also have smoke tubes so I have the ability to cold smoke the meat too and would like to have a nice smoked flavor... I've read there is a magic temp to keep the meat under ?? Suggestions ?
Can the meat be cold smoked for "X" amount of time and then hot smoked to 145?
As you can see I'm getting what I've read mixed up so I'm all ears. I have six chunks of meat to work with. Maybe I can finish them using three different methods ? I dunno...
Sorry for the long winded post fellow smokers.... I figured I would throw all my questions out there and it gives me 14 days to figure it out, or better yet, time for you guys to straighten me out.
Thanks everyone !
Steve B. & Family