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Bacon 101 - Clarification and questions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello. Am new to smoking and this forum. Have been doing lots of reading from all those that are so generous to share their experience and insight. Must admit that from those here and from other sources avilable it can be a bit difficult to find consensus on methods and recipes. Have been reluctent to post with questions as i am sure that somewhere the answer exists, am hoping i can get a point in the right direction.

So here are the questions
1) for bacon from belly the salt concentration seems to be about 2-3%. When i do that math i come up with what seems like a crazy amount of salt for the dry cure mix. Example if you have a 2kg belly at 2% salt you would need to add 80g of salt to the cure mix. Have found a couple calculators on line and cant figue the math behind them. Can someone help clarify this for me.
2) using dry cure method and cure #1 at 1 tsp per 5 lbs, the time seems to be 1 day per inch thickness plus two days. However, there is a wide range of cure times from 4 days to 14 days. Get that don't want to under cure but is there other methods of determining cure times of bellies?
3) now to smoking, looks like the body of input favours cold smoking at about 100F for about 12 hours, many folks are adamant that you need to bring final temp to 147-150F. I cant find a soild food safety reason for doing this. So the question is if you cold smoke at about 100F do you need to bring internal temp to 150F and if so why?

Have my first two bellies dry curing along with some pork loin in pops brine. Plan on smoking next weekend, bacon for thanksgiving (for us Canadians).

Many advance thanks for you replies
post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbabobob View Post

Hello. Am new to smoking and this forum. Have been doing lots of reading from all those that are so generous to share their experience and insight. Must admit that from those here and from other sources avilable it can be a bit difficult to find consensus on methods and recipes. Have been reluctent to post with questions as i am sure that somewhere the answer exists, am hoping i can get a point in the right direction.

So here are the questions
1) for bacon from belly the salt concentration seems to be about 2-3%. When i do that math i come up with what seems like a crazy amount of salt for the dry cure mix. Example if you have a 2kg belly at 2% salt you would need to add 80g of salt to the cure mix. Have found a couple calculators on line and cant figue the math behind them. Can someone help clarify this for me. I didn't do the math on this one.
2) using dry cure method and cure #1 at 1 tsp per 5 lbs, the time seems to be 1 day per inch thickness plus two days. However, there is a wide range of cure times from 4 days to 14 days. Get that don't want to under cure but is there other methods of determining cure times of bellies? 1 day per inch is wrong! if it is 1 inch thick divide  that by 2 since the cure is on both sides. So you now have 1/2" devoid that by 1/4" because cure will penetrate about 1/4" per day. You then add 2 days to this. Their is nothing wrong with going longer. 30 days is still not to long.
3) now to smoking, looks like the body of input favours cold smoking at about 100F for about 12 hours, many folks are adamant that you need to bring final temp to 147-150F. I cant find a soild food safety reason for doing this. So the question is if you cold smoke at about 100F do you need to bring internal temp to 150F and if so why? I like even colder than 100° like say 60°. I smoke to the color I like. The last I smoked for 40+ hours. Why would you want to smoke it to 147°-150° I don't want to cook my bacon twice. Store bought bacon is raw. OK most is.

Have my first two bellies dry curing along with some pork loin in pops brine. Plan on smoking next weekend, bacon for thanksgiving (for us Canadians).

Many advance thanks for you replies

 

 

 

 

 

Let rest in the fridge a couple of days before you slice. I smoke at night when it is cooler. Then back in the fridge for the day. Then back in the smoker at night. ans on and on.

Happy smoken.

David

post #3 of 9

I see this is your first post. When you get a chance will you drop by roll call so everyone can give you a proper SMF welcome?

Happy smoken.

David

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbabobob View Post

days to 14 days. Get that don't want to under cure but is there other methods of determining cure times of bellies?
3) now to smoking, looks like the body of input favours cold smoking at about 100F for about 12 hours, many folks are adamant that you need to bring final temp to 147-150F. I cant find a soild food safety reason for doing this. So the question is if you cold smoke at about 100F do you need to bring internal temp to 150F and if so why?


Many advance thanks for you replies

 

 

I'll leave the rest of this for others, because I Dry cure with Tender Quick, and you're wet curing with Pops' recipe.

 

It appears above as you could be confusing "IT temp after smoking" with "IT temp before eating":

 

Many people cold smoke Bacon (below 100*) smoker temp. Works Great !!

 

I prefer smoking Bacon in my Smoker with Smoker temps of about 120* or 130*. IMHO this gets my great color & flavor quicker than cold smoking (10 to 12 hours, instead of 20 to 60 hours).

 

Either way gets Great Bacon, but the final temp of 147* - 150* you speak of must be the temp before you eat it. It has to get to at least 145* either by frying, broiling, grilling, baking, or some other way before you eat it.

 

I and many others smoke Buckboard Bacon & Canadian Bacon to an IT of 145*, but I don't know anyone who smokes Belly Bacon to an IT of 145* or 147* - 150*.

 

Bear

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbabobob View Post

Hello. Am new to smoking and this forum. Have been doing lots of reading from all those that are so generous to share their experience and insight. Must admit that from those here and from other sources avilable it can be a bit difficult to find consensus on methods and recipes. Have been reluctent to post with questions as i am sure that somewhere the answer exists, am hoping i can get a point in the right direction.

So here are the questions
1) for bacon from belly the salt concentration seems to be about 2-3%. When i do that math i come up with what seems like a crazy amount of salt for the dry cure mix. Example if you have a 2kg belly at 2% salt you would need to add 80g of salt to the cure mix. Have found a couple calculators on line and cant figue the math behind them. Can someone help clarify this for me.

2kg = 2000 grams x .02(%) = 40 grams of salt for a 2% addition.... that's what I use...

2) using dry cure method and cure #1 at 1 tsp per 5 lbs, the time seems to be 1 day per inch thickness plus two days. However, there is a wide range of cure times from 4 days to 14 days. Get that don't want to under cure but is there other methods of determining cure times of bellies?

I recommend 1/4" of thickness per day + at least 2 days... calculate from both sides... 2" thick would be 4 days + 2.... that is minimal... I would use 10 days and even up to 20 days.... You can't over cure, only under cure...

3) now to smoking, looks like the body of input favours cold smoking at about 100F for about 12 hours, many folks are adamant that you need to bring final temp to 147-150F. I cant find a soild food safety reason for doing this. So the question is if you cold smoke at about 100F do you need to bring internal temp to 150F and if so why?

I cold smoke bellies at 70 deg F or lower.... Bride likes 4 hours of smoke soooooooooo, that's what I do.... I have cold smoked bellies up to 36 hours over 6 days... 6 hours per day..Then when cooking.... we bake the strips at 375, on a wire rack inside a sheet pan... about 25 minutes

Be sure to rinse and dry the bellies... then form a pellicle on the meat... meat should be dry when adding smoke to prevent the acrid, bitter flavor from smoke mixing with water...


Have my first two bellies dry curing along with some pork loin in pops brine. Plan on smoking next weekend, bacon for thanksgiving (for us Canadians).

Many advance thanks for you replies
post #6 of 9
FWIW.... Bacon is recommended to be cured at a max. of 120 Ppm skin off and 108 Ppm skin on.....

That translates to....

If 1 tsp. cure #1 per 5 lbs. = 156 Ppm...... then 120 / 156 = 0.77... 5#'s meat / 0.77 = 6.5#'s of meat to equal 120 Ppm nitrite....

The 120 Ppm # is for commercial operations for sale to the public.....

Or if you have a grams scale.....

5# x 454 = 2270 grams... x 0.000120 (Ppm) = 0.27 grams of pure nitrite ... / 0.0625 (% nitrite in cure#1) = 4.36 grams cure#1 per 5#'s



I screwed up...... Dry rubbed bacon.... The FDA allows up to 200 Ppm nitrite... The numbers above are for brined/cured bacon....
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Great info, thanks. Will update post with results of the smoke. This process has me hooked, got ribs going right now.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Been a while since did the smoke.  Just getting back to sharing results. 

 

So the first bacon was OK.  Did a whole belly, cut in half to make easier to handle and took rind off used a dry cure for 12 days and also did some back bacon in a wet cure.  The process was pretty easy.

 

Details:

 

For the dry cure used following ratios

- 1 kg meat

- 22.5g kosher salt

- 8 g brown sugar

- 2.5 g cure #1

 

For the back bacon used:

- 2 lt water

- 90 g kosher salt

- 125 g brown sugar

- 20 g cure #1

- 2 bay leaves

- had three pieces of trimmed pork loin (500 g; 600g and 190g)

 

Meat after cure:

 


After cure, rinsed and left if on racks in fridge for about 24 hours

 

Started the smoking at 80 F at about 8 PM, used hickory pellets in an A-MAZE-N tray.  When I checked in the morning at about 6 AM, the tray had burned out about.  Would guess based on the amount of pellets it burnt was on smoke till about 3 AM.  Re-lit the pellets and let go till about 6 PM.  So total smoke time would be about 19-20 hours.  Temp stayed pretty constant and I the highest I saw it was 92 F.  Took the bacon out and put in fridge uncovered overnight.

 

Pic of product after smoke

 

Next day, tightly wrapped product in plastic and let sit in fridge for another day.  Put in the freezer to firm up for about 3 hours then sliced - by hand.......not fun.

 

Finished product

 

Wrapped in packages and froze.

 

Was generally satisfied with results.  Did not take the back bacon up to ready to eat temperatures at the end so have to fry it before eating.  Also, the back bacon was very strong smoke flavor, the side back was a bit strong on the smoke side for our tastes.

 

Am getting ready to go for round #2.  Will increase the sugar, maybe add some maple syrup and reduce the smoke time by 1/2.  Still, the results are better than anything you can buy!

 

Thanks

Bubbabobob

post #9 of 9
Bob, morning...... Good job on the bacon.... Like the picture shows, cold smoking meats take on more smoke than warm/hot smoking... I have found that to be true also..... Bride likes cold smoked bacon at about 3 +/- hours smoke... One row on the AMNPS is what I do.... Let the bacon rest for a day or three, in the refer when you take it out of the freezer.... Also, too much sugar may burn in the pan when cooking... beware of that as you adjust your recipe...

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