Sorry for the lack of pix, but as I was makin' this bacon, I didn't think I'd be writing about it. But after the results I got, I wanted to get some feedback from the forum.
I started with an 11 lb pork loin which I cured in Pop's brine (http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/110799/pops6927s-wet-curing-brine) for three weeks. I made 3 quarts of the brine, doubled up the cure. According to Pop's calculations, this is well below a level of concern. ("1 heaping tablespoon of cure is about 1 ounce. The maximum concentration allowed safely is 3.84 ounces per 1 gallon of brine." I used the equivalent of 2 ounces per gallon.) I also injected a lot of cure into the meat. I put it in a zip lock bag in the fridge for three weeks, turning it twice daily.
After three weeks, I rinsed the loin and let it dry in the fridge for 12 hours. I loaded up my A-Maze-N 5x8 Pellet Smoker with hickory pellets from Cookinpellets.com and cold smoked it for 24 hrs. When I took it out, it looked as if some dark brown liquid had dripped on it leaving dark spots, and the whole thing looked sort of dark, which I figured was normal..
I cut the loin into quarters and cooked three of them in my Traeger (same hickory pellets) until they reached an internal temp of 140*. The other quarter I sliced and vacuum sealed. I figured that I would treat that like regular bacon, cured, smoked and uncooked, and fry it just before using. The other three quarters I sliced figuring to treat them like Canadian bacon, ready-to-eat.
While slicing the cooked loin, I tasted an end piece. It was awful! It tasted bitter. I sliced off a 1/4" of the entire outside and what was left was edible, but still not very good. Quite smokey, but with a hint of the bitter taste still.
I opened one of my uncooked packages and fried it up. It was inedible. The bitter taste was stronger, made my tongue tingle and even go a bit numb. I'm thinking creosote is the culprit. I think I have to throw out all of the uncooked bacon. I'm wondering if the cooked part, that I trimmed before slicing, should be thrown out, too. How dangerous is this?
This is the packaged uncooked bacon. You can get a sense of the dark brown color.
This is the packaged cooked and trimmed bacon:
I thought creosote was more of an issue with soft woods and not so much with hickory. The pellets I used are claimed to be 100% hickory, but maybe they're blended with some inappropriate filler?
Anyway, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.