Hi Everyone: I made my first batch of bacon on Sunday, November 2.
I purchased an 11 pound pork belly with the skin on, and no trimming. I cut it into 3 pieces, and then weighed them. The first piece was 4 lbs, the 2nd was 3lbs 4oz, and the last was 4lbs 4oz.
My daughter bought me a Food saver gizmo last year for my birthday and I put it to good use, packaging up 2 of the three pieces and putting them into the freezer for next time.
I made up my brine, using kosher salt, pink prague powder #1, brown sugar, black pepper and maple syrup.
In went the 4 lb piece of belly, sealed it up and then it got smooshed and flipped around daily for 8 days in the fridge.
Sunday I pulled the belly from the fridge, rinsed it well, patted it dry, let it sit for an hour to come closer to room temp. I heated up the Bradley, dropped in the Applewood bisquettes for 2-1/2 hours smoke time, popped the belly into the smoker and 2-1/2 hours later out came BACON.
OMG this stuff is soooooo good. I don't think I will ever buy bacon again. There is no comparison possible between this bacon and store bought. Sweet and smoky, not overly salty like some of the store bought stuff is.
I cooked up about a pound of the stuff in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes a side, and I got rave reviews from everyone who was lucky enough to sample some at lunch time at work Monday.
2 of the guys who sampled my bacon are former full time chefs, and they were very impressed, they would have been happy to have had me just drop the bag at their desks and let them fight over it..
Only bad part now is I have to wait until my Prague Powder #1 comes in before I can do any more.