Mr. T's Sugar Cured Bacon Recipe
About the Process:
The following process exercises the Morton Tender Quick recommendation of seven days in cure per one-inch thickness with a two day salt equalization period in order to reach a total of 100% equalization. The USDA recommends when curing pork belly with MTQ, using the dry rub method, that the 7 day per inch thickness guideline is used (14 days for two-inch thick slab). This guideline is the same recommended by Morton.
There are the pundits who believe the curing process can be accomplished in a much shorter time, some feeling, it should also be soaked to cut the salt content, perhaps for the reason they are on a low-salt diet. If they are doing so and getting what they feel is a good result, that's fine.
There are also those who feel the longer the bacon is in the cure the saltier the bacon will taste. If using sugar in your recipe, it has been learned that the opposite is actually happening. The reason being, salt enters meat at a faster rate than sugar. Thus, if sugar isn't given the proper amount of time to equalize through osmosis into the meat, the saltier it will taste.
Since building my first walk in smokehouse in 1975, numerous belly bacon cure methods and recipes have been used. The result being the KISS system works fine for us. The following recipe and process produces an exceptional slightly sweet molasses flavored bacon with a light smoke flavor. For bacon with a more pronounced molasses flavor, dark brown sugar may be used.
Recipe: Per pound of bacon.
1 TBS Morton Tender Quick
1TBS brown sugar - light or dark depending on taste
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
Cut skinless belly in half and place in separate 2-gallon zip bags. Apply measured cure by weight to each cut of bacon and massage in, afterwards place in cooler or fridge. Turn daily for the entire curing process.
Example: A two inch side will require a minimum of 14 days in the cure. After the minimum cure time has been reached give it a quick rinse, pat dry then place on a meat hanger in the cooler or place on a rack in fridge for an additional two days for further equalization and pellicle formation.
A tray type smoke generator containing pulverized pellets is then placed in a external smoke collector. This is what is normally used to create a very thin pale blue smoke. The bacon is then smoked to a desired color. It is normally in a continuous pale blue smoke for < > 72 hours and kept at a temperature below 72°F - 22°C. Using a different smoke generator or type of fuel will result in different times.
When smoking is complete the bacon is then placed back in the cooler for an additional 2 - 3 days for additional smoke equalization. After a total of 21 days it is ready for consumption or freezing.
The end result is nothing less than a sweet, medium smoke flavored, slice of ecstasy.
Due to the addition of nitrites it is recommended not to heat above 350°F - 177°C. For that reason, my preferred method is to bake anywhere from 200°F - 93°C for a couple hours to 325°F - 163°C for approximately 25 minutes or to the desired crispness.
A pale blue smoke from tray type smoke generator.
Smoke entering 22cf. cabinet
Bacon in cooler
Sliced bacon ready for oven
Oh boy, let's eat
"Learn to deal with the facts, not tradition or sympathy"
Edited by Mr T 59874 - 1/28/17 at 2:13am