Just about out of bacon, and did not have time to run to Chicago, so went to my local butcher in South Bend. Good guy, has a nice butcher shop, and catering business in addition to smoking his own meats, he has even offered to let me use his commercial pellet smoker. But I nearly fell over when my 2 bellies totaling 25.4 pounds rang up at $121 with tax...... $4.47 a pound OUCH
That being said, they are some very thick meaty looking bellies but that price seems very high to me..
They are nice looking bellies, here is one, that I dry cured for 18 days. A friend of mine in the spice packing business gave me some pure Vermont maple sugar in exchange for some future bacon , so I used that for my sweetness to see what the flavor will be like. Using a combination of maple and pecan woods to smoke.
Here is my offset barrel loaded with woods. I use a veggie stirfry basket as well as my new favorite AMNPS which is loaded with pecan pellets. This is after 5 hours, and the AMNPS is about half done.
The veggie basket I have had to reload twice during that time and it is filled with maple and pecan woods and then I tossed on some cherry to give the bacon a little more color. The charcoal briquette you see is Kingsford's Applewood charcoal. I put 4 of these in just to keep a good smolder and bed of coals going.
Here are the bellies after 26 hours cold smoking, temp has not gotten above 100 in the smoker as it is only 45 outside. Will keep them going until the end of the NCAA games today ( sunday 3-22-15) for a total of around 36 hours smoking.